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10 Key Coronavirus Measures for Microsoft Partners

Getting employees working from home or at least in widely separated sections of the office, leveraging Microsoft Teams and watching your cash flow like a hawk are among the key measures to weather this pandemic, says channel community leader Per Werngren.

With the coronavirus affecting us all, both in our professional and our personal lives, it is important for Microsoft partners to take proper action in order to not fall victim to this crisis.

We need to take care of each other: our employees, our customers and our fellow partners. We compete every other day with each other, but right now is the time to be generous and help those in need. Don't try to make the coronavirus an opportunity to steal business from each other -- we're better than that and united we stand as a community.

The financial impact will probably be harsh. Partners that are selling hours and projects are facing severe challenges when it comes to selling new projects and delivering on existing projects. All this will have a negative impact on billing and cash flow.

Partners that have a large portion of recurring revenue will not face challenges with billing but will instead face problems with delivering their services if a large portion of their workforce becomes unavailable. Closely watching cash flow will be key to survival -- if you run out of cash, you will most likely run out of business.

Here are my 10 tips for what to do:

  1. Encourage your people to work from home if their role permits. Try to find solutions so that as many people as possible can work remotely.
  2. Encourage your people to stay at home if they get any kind of infection, and don't stop paying their salaries if they're sick or in quarantine. You absolutely don't want them to risk infecting others so they should stay at home, and it should not be a financial decision.
  3. Try to split teams that need to be in the office and locate them in two different locations or at least on different floors. If someone gets infected, you will still have half of the team in production.
  4. Split the senior leadership team in two different locations if they cannot work from home.
  5. Run daily briefings over Microsoft Teams so that you maintain a sense of community. Don't be shy about using video; it lets you see how everyone is doing. It is important to show leadership and keep your team actively engaged.
  6. Reduce all non-essential travel and don't visit customers in-person. This is a great opportunity to leverage Teams for all your meetings. By leading by example, you will probably also seal some new business related to Teams.
  7. Talk to your bank as soon as possible about extending your credit lines. Tell them that this is part of your contingency planning.
  8. Talk to your vendors and landlords and say that you don't have problems today but that you're preparing for the worst and taking precautions, and ask if they can prolong payment terms.
  9. Stop all investments if they give you a short-term negative cash flow, unless it is really essential and mission critical.
  10. Make sure that invoices to customers are being sent out as early as possible. You can probably increase the pace a bit. Pay close attention to customers that are late with payments and try to negotiate payments in part if they cannot pay the full sum at once. Actively watching your cash flow will be very critical.

Together we're strong. Together we will prevail.

Per Werngren is an RCP contributor who has held many roles at the worldwide level of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), including chairman and president.

Posted by Per Werngren on March 17, 2020 at 11:38 AM


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