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Originally posted on TechNet blogs.

When I started in this role – just over a year ago – there were around 25 partners in the Microsoft System Center Alliance. Most of those were founder members of the Alliance which was announced at TechEd/IT Forum in Barcelona in November 2007.

The original members of the Alliance were a mix of the big, strategic hardware OEMs, a couple of larger ISVs with integration and then some smaller, focused ISVs who had been working with Operations Manager and Configuration Manager since the MOM and SMS days.

In the past year the System Center Strategic Partner and Alliance team have been growing in several ways.

First we added some significant additional resources last Spring – I was one of the new blood – we are focused on new partner acquisition, building a business and a technical relationship and also thinking about partnerships in non-traditional ways.

The second area of growth has been in our back-office procedures and processes – growing our capacity. Managing less than thirty partners is very doable in an Excel spreadsheet. Not so for eighty or the hundred or so that are ‘in flight’. I worked closely with my business manager on the process flow that we had, identified bottlenecks, inefficiencies – and we improved on the paper process. We added auditing, reporting and metric gathering capabilities. Most recently we moved this more efficient – but still manual – process online. We are now transitioning to a SharePoint based partner onboarding and management tool.

Finally we have used both of these investments to grow the number of partners in the Alliance.

We have gone from the twenty one founding members of the alliance to over seventy today. By the time of Microsoft Management Summit in just a few weeks we have have grown some more.

An example of this growth is in the System Center Partner Solutions Guide. When this was first created in late 2007 there were some twenty partners listed. Today I am just finishing up with the final proofing – and this edition has seventy three integrated partners listed. Such is the growth that we plan to revise this more regularly – not in 2010 – but before the WorldWide Partner Conference in July.

My next blog post will discuss some of the areas that have helped in growing the Alliance – technology, business and a critical mass of customers and partners.