IAMCP: Growing from the Ground Up
The IAMCP's new U.S. president talks about where the grassroots organization has been -- and where it needs to go.
There's been a major passing of the torch in the Redmond partner ecosystem -- and not just in Microsoft's top ranks.
The International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (IAMCP) also has new leadership: Kerry Gerontianos has succeeded Bill Breslin as the organization's U.S. president.
Gerontianos, president and CEO of Gold Certified Partner Incremax Technologies Corp., a New York City-based IT consulting company, is no stranger to the IAMCP. He joined the organization in the 1990s when his company was seeking to partner with other IT services firms, at one point serving as international president; he still serves on the IAMCP's international board of directors. He spoke with RCP Executive Editor Anne Stuart shortly after taking office.
RCP: Some people might say that you've done your fair share for IAMCP, having served as its international president. Why agree to another tour of duty?
Gerontianos: I've got business reasons. The reason I've stuck around so long is those reasons haven't changed. In my company, we believe in the partner model and we leverage it constantly. So this group's existence is good for my business. I need this group to exist and I want to do anything I can to help this group grow. [Laughs.] Everybody I partner with, I make them join the IAMCP.
How exactly has the IAMCP benefited your business?
Every time I've had a specific pain point, this group has been able to solve it. Also, cold-calling [potential partners] is very low-yield. When I go through the IAMCP, it's very high-yield. I can walk into a roomful of partners and every one of them wants to partner with someone else. I can walk out of there with the name of someone who wants to work with me.
|The IAMCP at a Glance|
The International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners|
International headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden and Markham, Ontario, Canada
Worldwide membership: More than 4,000 companies in 30+ countries
Number of worldwide chapters: About 80
U.S. membership: About 1,200 companies
Number of U.S. chapters: Nearly 40
Vision: "To be the global business community for Microsoft partners."
Mission: "To maximize the business potential of our members by peer-to-peer networking, member advocacy, community outreach, growth and education."
International president: Per Werngren, CEO, IDE Network Consultants, Stockholm, Sweden
U.S. president: Kerry Gerontianos, president, Incremax Technologies Corp., New York, N.Y.
Information: www.iamcp.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
What other value does the IAMCP offer its members?
If a partner wants to become engaged with Microsoft, it's a lot easier do so through us than doing it on your own ... Back in the early days, trying to get the attention of Microsoft's executives -- or even the local executives -- was challenging. We put a lot of effort into trying to drive recognition. The biggest shift that we've seen is that in the last four or five years, we've been mentioned on the big stage at [the annual Worldwide Partner Conference].
What else has changed over the years?
We've seen this thing grow from a small regionally based group to a worldwide organization ... Now we have more partners outside the United Sates than inside the United States.
But fundamentally, the group is still about partnering. That hasn't changed.
Bill [Breslin] did a phenomenal job of putting in key infrastructure that allows us to do a number of things. Some of that involves working with Microsoft more effectively; some of it is about helping partners do business.
Now we want to provide a basic minimum experience around the world, customized for each region because there are different hot buttons for different geographies. For the U.S. chapter, we want a common experience across the country to whatever extent possible.
How do you achieve that?
A lot of it is the sharing of best practices. We also want to put more communication engines in place -- multiple ones because we have so many different things to communicate, and we want to be able to push messages into our community very quickly. And it's not just one-way communication -- we want it back, too. [Breslin] was holding monthly [conference] calls for chapter presidents. I want to see more of that type of cross-pollination.