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A Post-Pandemic Playbook for Microsoft Partners

We have all had a very different past year. We have all suffered and made sacrifices, and many of us have lost people close to us.

Yet our partner ecosystem has been highly innovative, and there has been a strong demand for digital transformation, which has benefited many of us.

Here are 10 things I see ahead for partners as we put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror.

  1. The digital transformation will continue. Even if we eventually go back to our offices, it will be part-time and demand will be strong for solutions that enable us to collaborate with others and carry out our work without physically leaving our homes.
  2. Telecommuting will continue to be very important. Outside of our ecosystem, it will drive high-speed Internet access and networking infrastructure.
  3. Our ecosystem will continue to benefit from Microsoft Teams and there will be more solutions that are built to be first-class citizens inside Teams. We will simply see smarter and deeper integration.
  4. Business transformation driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning will accelerate. Partners with deep insights in certain verticals will be able to make a big dent here. Charging not by the hour but instead taking a slice of the value of the improvements will be a winning business model for partners that dare.
  5. Microsoft's massive investments in its business applications portfolio will bear fruit. Partners should embrace low-code/no-code development platforms as they will enable them to more easily and quickly deliver applications and solutions that will give their customers faster ROI. Partners should invest in getting to know a few verticals and recruit subject-matter experts that can work more closely with customers. People that really know the ins and outs of a particular vertical will be in high demand.
  6. Hosters across the globe are rapidly becoming MSPs in the cloud; I call them virtual hosters. The game-changer last year was that the cost for running on Azure reached parity with hosting in your own datacenters. We see that the cost for hosting in Azure is going down further and the performance and functionality are going up. Partners with legacy datacenters should make a plan for shifting to Azure as that will help them increase profitability and grow their customer base. This is not an area where you can be nostalgic. The change is here now and creates opportunities for the bold.
  7. Digital presence and online marketing became much more important when we couldn't meet in person. Partners should invest in hiring the right people to take them on this journey. When you do it right, you will also discover that your geographical market increases because you can attract customer from far away.
  8. Talent is always important. When you are not bound to be close to an office, you can recruit people who are located farther away. This increases the talent pool and benefits both employers and employees. Some partners will want to hire people only in the same country, and others will take the opportunity to hire people residing in other countries. Whatever your preference, the geographical area for your recruitment efforts will be bigger -- and that is a great thing. I encourage partners to be flexible around working hours as the old 9-to-5 workday is not necessarily valid anymore. Being open to giving a bit of freedom will make you more attractive as an employer.
  9. I always talk about P2P, or partner-to-partner. Every year, I see that momentum increase. Partners that specialize will also see the need for P2P. I notice increased interest around P2P from Microsoft, Microsoft partners and other ecosystems, so my prediction is that this will continue and accelerate. My advice is to make P2P core to your DNA. Work on a structured approach where you get buy-in from senior leadership and where you plan and measure your success.
  10. Last is a wish for the face-to-face meetings that I really miss. Maybe in-person conferences will be able to restart at the end of this year. Who knows? I can only hope.

Posted by Per Werngren on June 02, 2021


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