Microsoft has announced the completion of the first project at its 12-month old Solution Development Centre (SDC), located within the walls of its Australian headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Ryde.
The SDC, essentially an incubator for Microsoft's channel partners and customers deploying bleeding edge solutions, has been used for the last 12 months by Microsoft partners, Monash.Net and DevTest, to build a new travel portal for WebJet.
The site links to the Galileo system, which provides the bulk of the world's travel information, and other major tourism operators to cut out travel agents and enable customers to book all of their travel needs online at one site.
Microsoft has hailed the portal as an example of the potential of its SDC program.
"The SDC is a way for partners and customers to work closely with Microsoft on highly critical or technical projects that involve the adoption of new Microsoft technology," a principle consultant for Microsoft Australia and manager of the SDC, James Simpson, said.
"We take a customer and its objectives, a partner with specialist skills in that industry, a couple of Microsoft engineers and form a project team of 10-12 people.
"Microsoft's aim is to give partners first-hand skills and experience with our new technology. And for both the customer and partner, it is a way of mitigating the technical risk of building a solution on the Microsoft platform."
The SDC has expanded following the WebJet success and can now host two or more projects concurrently, Simpson said. Another project is already underway, but Simpson expects that at least two more could be considered before the end of the year.
He encouraged Microsoft channel partners to indicate their interest.
"The SDC prefers to be sub-contracted under a Microsoft partner, but will take the prime role if the partner prefers," Simpson said. "Either way, the SDC will not do a project without a partner involved. We have so far worked with partners with strong technical skills, but future partners may or may not have a strong grounding. We simply consider those partners that see their future with Microsoft technology. It is an ideal opportunity for them to build a partnership with our support engineers."