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Interwoven in Microsoft's Gold Circle

Enterprise content management (ECM) developer Interwoven is now part of Microsoft's Gold Certified Partner program, officials announced Thursday.

The certification gives Interwoven access to premier content, license grants for Microsoft software used in-house and marketing help from the software giant.

In 2003, Interwoven was one of the first content management vendors to offer developer support for J2EE and .NET . The use of the Web services standard WSDL at the time opened the door for .NET's inclusion into the Interwoven software development kit and gave the company better access to Office, SQL Server, Commerce Server and Internet Information Services.

Officials want to solidify their hold on the more than 1,000 ECM customers who use Interwoven's products to manage their corporate documents. They hope to make the ties even stronger in the Gold Certified Partner program, with existing and upcoming customers using Interwoven to collaborate and archive documents created in Office and on the Windows platform.

As a result, they say, Interwoven will be able to offer products that companies can rapidly adopt in their enterprise environments.

"The biggest challenge that IT departments face today in the ECM world is adoption," said Neil Araujo, Interwoven vice president of legal marketing and product management. "At the end of the day if you have the technology and it's not adopted because it's too hard to use or it's not seamlessly integrated, you get no value out of it."

Norm Thomas, Microsoft director of professional services, said the new partnership commitment goes beyond just integrating today's software, but getting together on R&D, co-marketing and sales efforts.

"Companies have been asking us for this," he said. "Obviously, Microsoft and Interwoven are key vendors in many legal and professional services, and I think that's exactly why customers have said, 'We want you two to talk to each other and synchronize your products, build on each other's successes and coordinate the conversation with customers.'"

Membership in Microsoft's ISV program takes years of close interaction with Microsoft and integrating software into the company's product line. For some time, Interwoven has integrated its WorkSite products into the Office suite and Windows platform.

To reach the gold-level partnership level, companies must accumulate a number of partner points, which are accrued based on criteria like customer satisfaction rates and sales of Microsoft licenses, as well as getting employees certified in programs like the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.