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In-Depth

Get To Know Microsoft's 'One Commercial Partner'

Microsoft upended its channel-facing corporate structure this year and unveiled major new engagement models and other programs for working with partners. In this special section, we describe and unpack the myriad changes.

Microsoft's channel-facing organization has been relatively stable for years.

There have been minor additions here and there, but partners generally worked with people and programs coordinated out of the Worldwide Partner Group within the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners (SMS&P) organization. They often also engaged with partner groups within Microsoft's country subsidiaries, and might engage with the Enterprise Partner Group if they were big enough, while working with any dozens of other specialized programs.

Judson Althoff, executive vice president of the Worldwide Commercial Business Group, unveiled a major change to that structure at the beginning of calendar year 2017 with the introduction of One Commercial Partner (OCP).

Many of the details of OCP have been fairly fuzzy since then as it served as a first chapter in a major reorganization of the entire Microsoft field that shook up the company and its partner channel in July of this year.

Throughout October, Redmond Channel Partner is unpacking some of the most important changes that are taking place to help partners make sense of what's going on at Microsoft overall and within the new OCP organization specifically:

  • Solution Maps and Channel Managers: For partners who are heavily involved, or want to be heavily involved, in co-selling with Microsoft, there are critical changes to the way Microsoft engages with partners. They involve a new-to-Microsoft concept known as Solution Maps and a new role called Channel Managers, who pick which partners show up on those maps and get to work with Microsoft customers.

  • New Faces in Partner Management Roles: The reorganization means a lot of changes among the senior executives responsible for Microsoft policies and programs for partners. A few months after the most dramatic changes, most of the top slots are filled.

  • A Glossary: (COMING SOON) There are few things Microsoft loves more than acronyms and short phrases whose meanings aren't obvious to the uninitiated. Savvy partners try to stay abreast of as many terms as they can to figure out what Microsoft is trying to communicate. Columnist M.S. Partner has collected a whole new batch of terms from the OCP reorganization.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.