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How To Speak Microsoft in the 'One Commercial Partner' Era

The channel and field reorg in Redmond is unleashing a flood of new terms and initialisms. Are OCP, TCM, ECM, PDM, PMA, RVP and STU all getting to be TMI? Use this glossary FTW. HTH.

Previously, I've written several articles that outline the terms, acronyms and initialisms that Microsoft uses and how they impact partners. With all of the changes that occurred at Microsoft on July 1, there's now a whole new slew of terminology that's been put into use. Following are a few of the most important ones. Partnerships are easier to build when you're all speaking the same language.

One Commercial Partner (OCP)
One Commercial Partner is the new name for the partner efforts at Microsoft for field sales. It basically indicates that it will cover most of the channel, but that Microsoft will continue to have one-off programs for other types of partners like large OEM providers, such as Dell Inc. We're seeing that many different partners are included in this channel, including systems integrators (SIs) and independent software vendors (ISVs).

Small, Medium and Corporate (SMC)
This is a segment of Microsoft clients that most partners would call mid-market. In contrast, there are two other commercial segments within Microsoft. There's the Enterprise segment, which covers the largest enterprises and can now cover even very small enterprises that were actively spending money in Azure. Then there are the accounts that aren't included on any of the other lists. These accounts have been referred to as small to midsize business (SMB) in the past, but as of this writing I've heard them referred to by various names, most frequently unassigned accounts.

More on Microsoft One Commercial Partner

Throughout the month, we're unpacking some of the most important changes that are taking place at Microsoft to help partners make sense of what's going on within the new OCP organization:

Introduction: Get To Know Microsoft's 'One Commercial Partner'

Navigating the Solution Maps and Channel Managers of Microsoft's OCP

Microsoft OCP Puts New Faces in Partner Management Roles

• How To Speak Microsoft in the 'One Commercial Partner' Era

In the past, these accounts have been segmented by their amount of revenue generated by Microsoft. So, smaller accounts are almost always in the unassigned space. However, larger accounts with low Microsoft spend, or those that have a high number of workers who don't use significant amounts of technology, can also be classified there. As of this writing, there isn't a way for an SMC rep to service an unassigned account. I hope Microsoft fixes that engagement model quickly.

Regions
Microsoft radically changed its geographic coverage map for the United States from 14 areas into eight regions, which can also be referred to as areas. An area is typically a set of several entire states, but there are plenty of exceptions. For example, New York City is in a separate area from the rest of the state. Each area will have its own initialism, like GLR (Great Lakes Region). The other regions are Northeast, North Central, Northwest, South Central, Southeast and Southwest.

Under the OCP system there are many major roles that engage with partners.

Partner Development Manager (PDM)
The PDM is the Microsoft employee who's responsible for a named set of partners and their development. Microsoft has promised that this year these roles will be focused on developing the partner, and that incentive compensation will be based on partner metrics as they correspond to Microsoft. They will also be charged with working across all the different operating entities within Microsoft. The goal here is for the partner to have an advocate within Microsoft for their business. However, the concern in the partner community is that the individual will have such a large area of responsibility that they won't have the relationships to actually get things done on a local level, or have enough pull with any individual program or initiatives.

Channel Manager
The Territory Channel Manager (TCM) and Enterprise Channel Manager (ECM) are partner-facing Microsoft employees who are supposed to sell jointly with partner personnel. ECM folks are focused on Enterprise Accounts while the TCM roles are supposed to look after partners working in the SMC customer segment.

Partner Market Advisor (PMA)
This role is assigned to named partners to help them with their marketing efforts. They can stretch across multiple areas and provide marketing funds, guidance and go-to-market tools to partners.

Regional Vice President (RVP)
A Microsoft executive who's responsible for a given geographic region.

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 the Enterprise client segment in a given geographic area. For example, a Solutions Specialist Professional (SSP), who's responsible for selling the Business Intelligence Solutions. These individuals can be bountiful sources of information about their solutions and will partner readily if they clearly see where the partner can help them with selling and deploying product in their particular solutions area.

Account Team Unit (ATU)
A set of sales reps that's responsible for the overall relationship and revenue generation within a given customer list. It helps quarterback the engagement of Microsoft and partner resources who are servicing the account. Microsoft has assigned the majority of the Enterprise Reps to a given vertical segment, such as retail or health care.

I hope you find this summary helpful in building your partnership with Microsoft. This is definitely a year of change, so expect things to morph quickly.

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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 mspartner@rcpmag.com.