Sorgen Outlines Top 3 Priorities as Microsoft Channel Chief

Phil Sorgen this week gave an overview of his goals as the new leader of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group (WPG).

Sorgen assumed the role of corporate vice president of the WPG on Sept. 1, replacing Jon Roskill. Sorgen is a 17-year Microsoft veteran who had previously been president of Microsoft Canada and the head of the U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group (SMS&P).

In a short video posted Tuesday on Microsoft's Channel Chief blog, Sorgen reiterated Microsoft's "devices and services" mantra, which was the dominant theme of this year's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

"At WPC in July, you heard Microsoft talk about our devices-and-services approach and our point of view on the industry trends that are driving customer needs. There's no doubt cloud, social, big data and mobility will push the industry forward in exciting new ways," Sorgen said. "The foundation of our success is in devices and services."

Sorgen focused on the cloud aspect of Microsoft's devices-and-services approach. He acknowledged the challenges facing partners who are just starting to shift their business models to include cloud services, but noted that the "economics for those partners who have put their energies in the cloud are significant." Sorgen cited a Microsoft-backed IDC study published during WPC that indicated that "cloud-oriented partners" grow 2.4 times faster than partners focused mainly on on-premise offerings.

"Our customers today are increasingly turning to the cloud, and no company is better positioned than Microsoft to provide them the flexibility to move their on their own terms," Sorgen said.

Sorgen's cloud comments follow those of Satya Nadella, Microsoft's executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, who in a press event earlier this week also talked up the company's cloud vision and roadmap. Nadella said Microsoft is readying a major "release wave" of enterprise-focused cloud services and products.

Sorgen's video message listed his three main priorities as head of the WPG. Chief among them was the cloud -- specifically, enabling "joint success" in the cloud.

"There are a couple of aspects to this. Yes, Microsoft helps your opportunity in the cloud by creating new markets in which you can compete and by delivering best-in-market cloud solutions. Our R&D investment is unparalleled in the industry. But it's our deep commitment to partners that sets us apart, from training on the latest offerings to tools and benefits that support your sales motion end to end. I think we can do a better job of helping you understand how these benefits can help you realize more opportunity and profitability in the cloud, and that will be what we focus on the most," he said.

Sorgen's second priority is to make it easier and simpler for partners to engage with Microsoft. His third is to ensure business continuity within the WPG.

"I'm not coming in to make full-scale changes to the partner program," he said regarding his third priority. "Will we make some adjustments? Absolutely. But every one of them will have to be held against the first two priorities."


About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for, and