Outside the main conference center for Microsoft TechEd IT Forum in Barcelona, James talks with Carl Coken (Director of Strategic Alliances, System Center) about partnerships and standards in System Center land. Carl manages the relationships with third parties, organizations, and others that work with the System Center platform, for example, by providing management packs. James and Carl talk about the new portal available for partners and then jump into the role of the portal’s information in the sales process. The discussion than goes to the question of heterogeneity which, as Carl notes, it a big part of what Microsoft looks to partners to help with and provide in System Center. Finally, they discuss how the partners program help encourage quality and best practices in the third party extensions and management packs.