Microsoft Channel Chief Details Updates to Partner Resources

Microsoft's top channel executive outlined some of the company's plans to ramp up support for partners during Wednesday's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) keynote.

"Our success in a mobile-first, cloud-first world will be achieved through a highly successful partner ecosystem," stated Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, who opened the keynote with a discussion of how Microsoft views its approach to investing in that ecosystem. Microsoft's approach comprises four pillars, according to Sorgen:

  1. Create world-class products for partners to sell.
  2. Create the markets for those products.
  3. Enable success in partners' businesses.
  4. Help partners execute on marketing and sales.

Microsoft has invested significantly in product innovation during its 2014 fiscal year and will continue to do so in FY 2015, Sorgen said. One of the company's goals has been to ensure that each product has inherent partner opportunities. He included announcements made at WPC this week as examples of those partner opportunities -- namely, the Microsoft Azure Certified program, the launch of three new Office 365 and Azure competencies, and the availability of Dynamics CRM on Open Licensing.

Top Microsoft channel executive Phil Sorgen during Wednesday's WPC keynote.

More partner resources are in the offing, Sorgen announced. One is the new ModernBiz demand-generation campaign, which will launch on Aug. 1. ModernBiz is a "multimillion-dollar campaign featuring cross-product solutions" aimed at the SMB space, which is ripe for growth in terms of cloud adoption, Sorgen said.

The ModernBiz campaign will be included in the Partner Marketing Center, which Microsoft is also planning to update. The Partner Marketing Center, will gives partners access to materials aimed at marketing and demand-generation, will be expanded to 26 languages and 52 markets. It will also be updated to fully integrate into the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), according to Sorgen.

Microsoft also plans to revamp its Pinpoint partner directory. The new Pinpoint will become live in September, according to Sorgen, and feature improvements to search relevance that are aimed at raising the quality of customer referrals. Partners will also see a new lead management dashboard and a seller dashboard.

Sorgen also touted the fact that Microsoft has 3,000 employees in partner-facing positions -- "an industry benchmark," he said.

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Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.