Marching Orders 2018: Bridge Professional and Personal Experiences

What can Microsoft partners do differently in 2018 to make a business breakthrough? We put that question to 16 top experts, including Tiffany Wallace, Vice President, Business Development, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. For more tips on finding success in the Microsoft channel in 2018, read our full Marching Orders feature here.

In my 15 years as a Microsoft Learning Partner, I've watched society evolve into adjusting to and expecting what is called "instant intelligence." This adaptation is how we interact with technology professionally during the day and personally at night. This integration is made possible by the focus in all industries on machine learning. Partners need to focus on technology as an access point from the boardroom at work to the kitchen at home.

Machine learning allows us to build on the multitude of data we can now collect. As industry evolves to capture more and more data, we need to build solutions in every aspect of our lives that integrate the technology in an intelligent way.

We as partners have focused heavily on the professional aspect of how customers adopt technology in specific industries. The emerging opportunity is how we engage the customers' experience personally. How do we continue the adoption of our technology solutions in their personal lives?

Microsoft has brought us into the home with Xbox and Surface devices. What is the next access point where we can create a technology interaction with "instant intelligence"?

As vice president of business development, Tiffany Wallace is responsible for the B2B and B2C partner development, product growth and marketing strategy for over 30 New Horizons locations in North America.

Posted by Tiffany Wallace on February 15, 2018 at 8:44 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2018: Diversify Your Microsoft Revenue

What can Microsoft partners do differently in 2018 to make a business breakthrough? We put that question to 16 top experts, including Matt Scherocman, President, Interlink Cloud Advisors. For more tips on finding success in the Microsoft channel in 2018, read our full Marching Orders feature here.

As clients move more of their revenue to the cloud, Microsoft partners need to diversify their revenue streams to continue to flourish and, possibly, just to survive.

My recommendation for 2018 is to diversify your revenue and protect your margins. We are all seeing pressures on revenue and profitability. To me it feels like this is occurring in every industry as the Internet makes geography less of a business advantage. Customers are finding self-service and research easier than ever. Among the pressures:

  • Traditional hardware and software sales are going away. So, the opportunities to make big margins on large product transactions is also disappearing.
  • Managed services revenue is declining because there are fewer servers to manage on-premises. The reliability of cloud services sets a ceiling on what can be charged.
  • Partner of Record fees continue to be changed and reduced by Microsoft. We have seen major cuts in what Microsoft calls the "rate card" again this year, and adviser fees from Web transactions were completely eliminated.

In 2018, look to make investments in new offerings. Technologies like collaboration adoption services, business intelligence, data warehousing and machine learning are just a few that are ripe with customer needs. The biggest challenge to the traditional systems integrator is recruiting talented folks who can lead these new practice areas and evolving the sales teams to be able to clearly articulate these value areas.

Matt Scherocman is president of Interlink Cloud Advisors, a born-in-the-cloud Microsoft partner based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Posted by Matt Scherocman on February 15, 2018 at 8:37 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2018: Get Good at Change Management

What can Microsoft partners do differently in 2018 to make a business breakthrough? We put that question to 16 top experts, including Christian Buckley, Founder & CEO, CollabTalk LLC. For more tips on finding success in the Microsoft channel in 2018, read our full Marching Orders feature here.

With so many customers, and even partners, complaining about the rapid state of innovation coming out of Redmond, it's more important now than ever before that organizations take on more of an operational focus, and become experts in technology change management. Companies that can quickly assess, adapt and adopt will be the winners, pure and simple.

Christian Buckley is an independent researcher, technology evangelist and Microsoft Office Servers & Services MVP with more than 25 years of experience working with collaboration, social and supply chain technology.

Posted by Christian Buckley on February 15, 2018 at 7:50 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2018: Engage with Microsoft

What can Microsoft partners do differently in 2018 to make a business breakthrough? We put that question to 16 top experts, including Vince Menzione, CEO and Founder, Cloud Wave Partners. For more tips on finding success in the Microsoft channel in 2018, read our full Marching Orders feature here.

As a podcast host and business consultant to organizations looking to better partner with the tech giant, I've had the unique privilege of interviewing scores of leaders in the industry, including some of Microsoft's top partners.

What I believe separates the good partnerships from the great ones is the commitment from the very top. CEO commitment, visibility and alignment to Microsoft have been a key factor in the success of many high-performing partners.

My advice to organizations looking to expand and grow their business with the technology giant in 2018 is directed toward CEOs and ensuring that these business leaders make executive visibility and engagement across the Microsoft organization a priority, while ensuring their business is aligned to the priorities and invested in programs, enablement and co-selling in order to drive a mutually successful set of business objectives.

Vince Menzione is the founder of Cloud Wave Partners and the host of a podcast, "Ultimate Guide to Partnering." Menzione's career has consisted of three successful business transformations while leading sales and channels, including nine years at Microsoft as a general manager on the U.S. Partner Leadership Team.
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Posted by Vince Menzione on February 14, 2018 at 12:32 PM0 comments


Marching Orders 2018: Investing in AI is a Smart Play

What can Microsoft partners do differently in 2018 to make a business breakthrough? We put that question to 16 top experts, including Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft. For more tips on finding success in the Microsoft channel in 2018, read our full Marching Orders feature here.

More and more companies are looking to digitally transform their business with Artificial Intelligence (AI). According to market research firm Tractica, revenue generated from the application of AI software will skyrocket in the next five years. Starting at $1.36 billion in 2016, research shows AI generated revenue will see a 52% compound annual growth rate, stretching the opportunity to $59.75 billion by 2025. Microsoft's new "AI Practice Development Playbook" is giving partners the guidance they need to start, grow, and optimize an AI practice. Whether they're in health care, retail, construction or finance, the AI Playbook was designed to help companies across industries develop AI practices that set them apart from their competitors and capitalize on the AI opportunity. The playbook takes a step-by-step approach to help Microsoft partners define their AI strategy, hire and train a team, operationalize their plan, go to market, and grow their AI practice. Real-world examples show how it's done.

Customers, once unsure about AI technology at home and at work, now expect time-saving, life-improving solutions to be built into the products and services they buy. With so much opportunity ahead, now is the time to get smart about making AI part of your company's digital transformation.

Gavriella Schuster is corporate vice president of the Microsoft One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization. At Microsoft since 1995, Schuster has held top worldwide partner leadership roles for Microsoft since May 2014.

Posted by Gavriella Schuster on February 14, 2018 at 12:07 PM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: Differentiate To Survive

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Matt Scherocman, president of Interlink Cloud Advisors.

Cloud gives partners the ability to sell anywhere in the world. With that, some of our key differentiators as partners are changing in the eyes of the customer.

My recommendation for 2017 is to focus on how your business is going to set itself apart from everyone else.

Here are the simple steps: More

Posted on December 30, 2016 at 7:17 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: Prepare for a Correction

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Reed Warren, vice president of Revenue Rocket Consulting Group.

Harry Truman was fond of saying how much he yearned for a one-handed economist. He grew weary of economists offering one prognostication, then a minute later saying, "On the other hand," and proffering yet a completely different scenario.

We're going to offer a one-handed prognostication for 2017/2018 -- the market could very well see a pullback in demand, thereby setting off a technology correction. More

Posted on December 29, 2016 at 7:08 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: Sell Outside of IT

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Keith Lubner, managing partner at Channel Consulting Corp. and co-founder of Channel EQ.

Our company develops ridiculously good training content and programs for the channel. One of our most popular programs is called Business Guidance Selling. The essence of this course is transforming salespeople to sell outside of their comfort zones and into other areas beyond the IT department.

In 2017, your ability to excel will be determined by your ability to sell to all the other stakeholders within an organization that now have budgets to spend on your products and services. More

Posted by Keith Lubner on December 28, 2016 at 7:43 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: 'P2P as a Practice' Is the New Black

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Per Werngren, chairman of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP).

Remember a few years ago when Microsoft partner account managers or PAMs (now called partner sales executives or PSEs) asked partners to sign up for new competencies? If you tried to resist, you often had a problem convincing your PAM to agree.

But times have changed. We see that the most successful partners are the ones that specialize in doing only a few things -- and doing them well. Less is more! More

Posted on December 27, 2016 at 7:40 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: Reconsider Cloud Managed Services

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Aziz Benmalek, vice president of Worldwide Hosting & Cloud Services at Microsoft.

We truly have "crossed the chasm" and are in the "early majority" stage of the cloud-adoption curve. Cloud is disrupting traditional IT faster than we think, which means increased opportunity for cloud service providers.

One of the biggest opportunities for partners moving into 2017 is helping customers navigate the superior functionality of cloud offerings, and managing their production workloads running in the public cloud. In fact, 451 Research indicates that cloud managed services are projected to be a $43 billion market by calendar year 2018, growing 60 percent faster than infrastructure-only services. More

Posted on December 26, 2016 at 7:34 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: Execute Brilliantly

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Ken Thoreson, RCP columnist and president of Acumen Management Group.

Thinking about 2017 versus the past two years, I envision that most Microsoft partners will begin propelling their organizations to new levels of success.

In most cases, the business models have already been worked on during the past two years, and if those partners have focused on the right actions, 2017 should be highly profitable.

During the past two years, we have worked with many organizations on their partner cloud acceleration strategies and business-velocity tactics. In the new year, the words I would use to describe partner marching orders would be: "Brilliant Execution: Finding Leverage, Fine-Tuning Business Models and Enhancing Management/Sales Training." More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on December 23, 2016 at 7:15 AM0 comments


Marching Orders 2017: Sharpen That Post-Infrastructure Strategy

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Howard M. Cohen, who writes this publication's "The Changing Channel" column.

My "marching order" for all Microsoft partners is stop and ask yourselves the hard questions. Realize that the relationship between you and Microsoft is changing rapidly, and you need to face the brutal truth of those changes and adapt.

Where will you and your company go? More

Posted by Howard M. Cohen on December 22, 2016 at 8:29 AM0 comments