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How To Speak Microsoft: Use These Acronyms

A brief glossary of the two-, three- and four-letter terms that Microsoft loves and partners should know.

I'm not sure why Microsoft loves acronyms. Maybe it's just the complexity of the business or the speed with which technology changes, but Microsoft seems to be one of the worst offenders in the technology industry.

We all know that understanding each other enhances trust and productivity. Knowing how to speak Microsoft will help your relationship. Here are some of the basic acronyms:

Partner Sales Executive (PSE) -- Formerly known as a Partner Account Manager (PAM). These folks are responsible for partner engagement with Microsoft in the corporate account and small to midsize business (SMB) spaces. They manage a set of partners for a given geographic area. They're typically paid on the overall sales performance of the geographic area, plus the impact they're having on partners.

Reach, Frequency and Yield (RFY) -- A relatively new measure of partner performance. It helps measure the number of active deals in the pipeline and what has been closed with a partner's influence. RFY gives one of the first objective reviews of a partner's performance. Pay close attention to it and ensure that your organization is being connected to the deals you're impacting.

Partner Sales Exchange (PSX) -- This is the system Microsoft uses to track partner leads. It interfaces with the Microsoft CRM system, Microsoft Sales Exchange (MSX), and allows for Microsoft folks to see the partner's pipeline. Frequently, the partner is required to have the pipeline entered before it can submit for any type of funding.

Business Incentive Funds (BIF) -- This is the generic name for funds that flow from corporate down to the field for various users. They frequently are turned into programs with other names. They can be used in customer negotiations to provide funds for a proof-of-concept or for a Google compete. Partners who can show a direct sales impact on licensing deals will get the most support.

Partner Investment Engine (PIE) -- Microsoft is attempting to consolidate multiple BIF funding programs into a single online portal and process. This effort is called PIE. Partners will find funding for workshops, proof-of-concept funds and marketing funds through this portal for managed partners.

Partner of Record (POR) -- These funds are the sales incentive provided to partners for selling and deploying various Microsoft cloud workloads. They're paid monthly or quarterly. Watch this space to see Microsoft move the funds to pay on individual workloads such as Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. These funds are getting PORer and PORer over time. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Systems Integrator (SI) -- The labeling for companies that help a client install, deploy and manage software.

Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) -- formerly known as Large Account Reseller (LAR), these are typically large entities that are able to sell major Microsoft agreements like Enterprise Agreements (EAs), Select Agreements and MPSAs (see next). Companies like CDW and Dell fall into this category. As a partner, be careful with whom you partner as most of these entities have moved or will be moving to include services.

Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) -- This is the successor program to a Select Agreement and allows corporations to purchase both licenses plus cloud services on one agreement.

Specialist Team Unit (STU) -- A set of sales reps who are each responsible for a given product set and for driving revenue of that product set into a particular client segment. For example, a Solutions Specialist Professional (SSP), who's responsible for selling the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) might cover the South Central Area (SCA), and be focused on clients who have been assigned to the Corporate Accounts Managed (CAM) space. These individuals can be bountiful sources of information about their solutions and will partner readily if they need help selling and deploying product in their particular solutions area.

Industry Team Unit (ITU) -- Highly similar to an STU, but focused around a particular industry such as health care.

Business Group (BG) -- These are the teams at Microsoft responsible for selling a particular product.

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About the Author

M.S. Partner is a pseudonym for a former Microsoft U.S. field rep who returned to the channel and writes this column to help other partners succeed with Microsoft. Let M.S. Partner know your thoughts and questions about how Microsoft works at [email protected].