While partner adoption of the cloud may have started slower than Microsoft had hoped, the transformation seems to be fully under way. With 125,000 members in the Cloud Essentials program, SMB partners are facing an ever-more crowded field.
More competition accelerates the need for cloud partners to build new revenue models. For those partners who took on the cloud early, lessons learned include the need to demonstrate competency and invest in deeper, long-term customer relationships. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 16, 2013 at 10:37 AM0 comments
It's clear from the increasing number of LinkedIn job posts that partners are hiring again. During a panel discussion at Microsoft's recent Convergence conference, five Dynamics partner leaders agreed that adding qualified consultants to their teams was their top business goal. The fundamental challenge is not the hiring, but the preparation to turn new recruits into field-ready consultants.
Five years ago, I.B.I.S. Inc., a multi-gold Dynamics partner based in Atlanta, saw the problem coming and responded with a training program that turns college grads into valuable contributors. Now, the company is reaping the benefits with a vibrant, growing consulting team. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 02, 2013 at 10:24 AM0 comments
Whether due to monetary and language barriers or the cost of travel for service support, U.S.-based ISVs have been hesitant to expand into international markets.
In an app-based world where remote support has become the norm instead of the exception, this may be a good time for ISVs to think beyond borders. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on April 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM0 comments
Microsoft Experience Centers (MECs), the immersive, hands-on sessions that allow customers to experience upgraded software and its impact on their daily tasks, are opening up to a wider group of partners.
Certified learning partners are setting up MECs to promote collaboration with system integrators (SIs), value-added resellers (VARs) and large account resellers (LARs) taking the popular program to a broader audience. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on April 04, 2013 at 11:15 AM0 comments
Learning partners are experiencing a renaissance in the channel as a result of a Microsoft engagement model aimed to foster partner-to-partner (P2P) relationships. Providing a conduit to connect partners with a shared interest in customer education, the engagement model is fueling collaboration. large account resellers (LARs), system integrators (SIs) and learning partners are combining their strengths to help customers realize the full value of the software that they own.
New Value in Partnering
While learning partners have long understood the value of partnering, some SIs and value-added resellers (VARs) viewed them as competition for service revenue in the form of training. That concern is waning as the industry becomes more specialized. Most partners recognize that it's better to focus on their strengths than to try to be everything to every customer. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on March 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM0 comments
Every partner is feeling that nudge, perhaps even a shove -- the push to diversify business models and add revenue streams to adjust to the new realities of IT service delivery. There are valuable lessons to be learned from those partners that are already making the right moves.
InfoStrat, a triple gold competency development Microsoft partner headquartered in Washington, D.C., has a long and successful history of providing custom development services to government and commercial customers. Following the course of many development shops, InfoStrat expanded the practice, building on the SharePoint and CRM platforms and solution accelerators like Grant Manager. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on February 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM0 comments
Customers are in a hurry. They want results immediately. In terms of IT projects, businesses want to prove an ROI before they sink big dollars into new technology or systems.
The concept of iterative and incremental change introduced through agile project management is becoming the standard. Business managers understand that they can roll out a limited system implementation to test whether benefits will match the promises. The cloud is making pilot projects easier and less costly. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on January 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM0 comments
Working in difficult environments, where projects can take consultants far off the beaten path, is nothing new to Microsoft partners. But one partner has taken the concept of "onsite" to the extreme, helping a global humanitarian organization modernize its supply chain from the tent cities of Haiti to the remote mountains of Mongolia.
Non-Traditional Solution with Global Reach
World Vision International, a global humanitarian organization serving over 10 million people in 100 countries, engaged Ignify, a gold competency Dynamics AX partner, to help bring order to its troubled supply chain. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on January 17, 2013 at 2:40 PM0 comments
Instant messaging and presence may have been a "nice-to-have" requirement for businesses in the past, but the fully connected world is moving them to the "must-have" list on project proposals. Fortunately for Microsoft partners, Lync has matured as a unified communication (UC) platform to scale across business size and industry.
The Maturing Market for UC
As director of unified communications for Perficient, Matt McGillen has seen a fundamental shift in the types of UC project engagements. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on January 04, 2013 at 4:27 PM1 comments