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In MPN 'Ask Me Anything,' Microsoft Gives Pitch for the Cloud Enablement Desk

During an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session this week aimed at new partners, Microsoft gave the hard sell for its Cloud Enablement Desk benefit.

Microsoft hosted the AMA session, called "Partnering with Microsoft," on its Microsoft Partner Community page on Wednesday after taking questions for eight days. Fielding questions for the session was John Mighell, Global Breadth Partner Enablement Lead at Microsoft, who is also responsible for the MPC Partnership 101 discussion board.

As Microsoft emphasizes cloud service sales and consumption in employee compensation and in investor relations, the company is tweaking Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) programs, competencies and incentives to encourage partners to drive cloud sales. The Cloud Enablement Desk is a relatively new and little-known part of that broader effort.

First discussed around the beginning of this calendar year, the Cloud Enablement Desk is a team of Microsoft employees who are standing by to help both brand-new partners -- even those who signed up for free in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) -- as well as longtime partners get going with Microsoft's cloud.

"This is a new and fantastic resource team specifically for supporting non-managed partners as they navigate MPN and build a practice," Mighell said in the AMA. Managed partners are those few among Microsoft's hundreds of thousands of channel partners who have Microsoft field salespeople dedicated to their performance.

Mighell indicated that the desk is a work in progress with continuous investment: "As this is a new process, we are adding additional services and expertise to this team constantly."

Some of the services currently offered through the desk are for MPN's free, lowest tier -- Network Member. Those partners who nominate themselves for cloud desk help are supposed to be contacted by a Cloud Program Specialist within 48 hours with assistance for getting started in the MPN and for attaining a cloud competency. Microsoft's cloud competencies include Cloud Customer Relationship Management, Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform, Enterprise Mobility and Management, and Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions.

Partners who pay for a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription or who work through the requirements of, and pay for, one of the competencies are eligible for a little more hands-on help from the desk, including a Cloud Mentor Program. The Action Pack costs $475 per year, while the silver cloud competency fee in the United States is $1,670.

In response to a different question in the AMA -- the evergreen matter for low-profile partners of how to get 1:1 attention from Microsoft's field -- Mighell implied that the cloud desk may be something of a shortcut. "Getting involved with the Cloud Enablement Desk (see my previous reply) is one way to get connected in with local sales and enablement efforts," he said.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 30, 2017 at 12:27 PM