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Marching Orders 2017: Sharpen That Post-Infrastructure Strategy

What should you do to make the most of technology business opportunities in 2017? For this "Marching Orders" series, we put that question to a number of channel luminaries, including top Microsoft channel executives, consultants, Microsoft partners and other regular RCP contributors. This entry comes from Howard M. Cohen, who writes this publication's "The Changing Channel" column.

My "marching order" for all Microsoft partners is stop and ask yourselves the hard questions. Realize that the relationship between you and Microsoft is changing rapidly, and you need to face the brutal truth of those changes and adapt.

Where will you and your company go?

At its Worldwide Partner Conference this past July, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program. After it was pointed out to Microsoft that this training did not lead to a legitimate "degree," that was changed to the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP). The first course offering is in Data Science and, indeed, this is an exciting, lucrative and high-demand direction that partners may choose as they abandon their infrastructure businesses. More courses are yet to come.

Fewer and fewer customers will be standing up servers and storage on their own premises as they migrate to the cloud. What will replace those sales in your business? Customers still seek experts who can help them:

  • Manage their IT environments for greater efficiency and lower cost.

  • Manage their user experience for greater consistency and robustness.

  • Manage their security and regulatory compliance.

  • Manage their data and related analytics.

In RCP next year, I'll be focusing on viable alternatives for transitioning partners.

  • Microsoft has finally embraced open source. We'll be exploring why and what incredible opportunities are available to partners who manage open environments for their customers.

  • We'll explore other major platform partner programs. Even those of you who are enjoying success in Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program will need a much bigger toolkit for satisfying your customers.

  • We'll explore how you can go that alone, or what partners you can engage to accelerate your process.

It's time for a business-model transformation. Now that we know why, let's figure out how!

Posted by Howard M. Cohen on December 22, 2016 at 8:29 AM