Microsoft ready to up service here
Stabroek News
October 3, 2001

Software giant Microsoft is set to enhance its level of service in Guyana and the Eastern Caribbean through the formation of the Microsoft Eastern Caribbean (MSEC) territory.

MSEC, headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, where Microsoft has maintained an office since 1998, will provide sales, service and support to customers and partners in the Eastern Caribbean in a more effective and timely manner than previously available.

Outlining the company's programme at a press briefing at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel yesterday, Regional Manager for Microsoft Caribbean, Rick Marcet, stated that Microsoft hoped to raise its level of service to the region to world class standards.

This, he stated, specifically meant achieving three primary goals -- the exploration of all business opportunities in a proactive approach, attaining the highest level of customer satisfaction and transferring technical and business solution knowledge and expertise to local partners. These, he said, would aid in enhancing the capabilities of the local information technology sector.

According to the regional manager, the move was initiated because the business model where all EC countries were handled out of Miami reached its limits in efficacy long ago.

Territory Manager, George Gobin, saw the move as an extremely important development in helping to bring the region closer to mainstream technical support, product and licensing information and allowing a closer and direct relationship with Microsoft.

He also used the opportunity to announce the planning of a solutions tour event to be held here this month, where Microsoft would showcase new products and technologies.

Some of these would include financial accounting, human resources, customer relationships, management and knowledge-based document management applications, all running on the Microsoft platform.

Further, he announced the partnership with the company Infotech Caribbean, which has had a close relationship with Microsoft in the Caribbean. Infotech was said to have been the first company to be registered in the Microsoft solution provider programme in the region and it currently had the most trained and certified specialists in the region.

Business Development Manager of Micro/Infotech, Eastern Caribbean (EC) partnership, Terrence Philip, stated that his firm had been a partner with Microsoft for over six years focusing mainly on IT consulting and software solutions that solve real business challenges.

At present, Infotech is offering the Eastern Caribbean knowledge solutions using technologies such as Microsoft Exchange 2000 and Microsoft Sharepoint Server; business solutions using technologies such as Microsoft Great Plains; infrastructure solutions, using technologies such as .NET servers and Internet Solutions all built on the Microsoft .NET platform.

With a staff of 45 full-time professionals with approximately 75% of them Microsoft certified, the company was ready to develop its present customer base in the EC region, Philip said.

And answering questions from the media, Marcet stated that Guyana was chosen as the starting point of the tour because of the significant business opportunities available and the right climate existing. This, he stated, was also backed by the keen interest of the Head of State, Bharrat Jagdeo, to develop information technology in all sectors of society.

It was his hope that Microsoft, could develop relationships with local companies, with a view to them receiving certification from Microsoft.

According to Marcet, the presence of Microsoft will allow the local market to be treated to new technologies when available globally.

Two local companies, Softech Guyana Ltd, and Microdesigns MDT have been identified as likely to benefit from the initial certification.

Questioned on the effect of the weakness of the intellectual property rights laws in the country, Gobin noted that a lot of progress had been made by government in this area, but that most of it did not cover software protection. However, he said, Microsoft was not keen on using a bullish attitude to ensure conformity, but rather thorough a process of education and training.

Some US$5 billion has been loss worldwide through software piracy. The Caribbean region has a 70% piracy rate.