Can Dynamics 365 Business Central Break Through Partner Channel Silos?

Microsoft's goal to offer customers in the SMB market a unified cloud platform for "digital transformation" is one step closer to reality with the release of Dynamics 365 Business Central, planned for April 2.

But the nagging problem -- having enough partners to deliver the full package -- remains. Microsoft needs more partners to get comfortable selling its Dynamics ERP and CRM products. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 29, 2018 at 12:21 PM0 comments

Cloud Powers Partner's Resilience in Puerto Rico Recovery

Five days after Hurricane Maria ripped across Puerto Rico in September and annihilated the island's infrastructure, Rock Solid Technologies opened their doors providing a business sanctuary for their clients. An early cloud adopter, Rock Solid's foresight enabled their clients, including municipalities and distributors, to get up and running quickly—solely focused on rebuilding the island. As recovery transitions to rebuilding, both the island and Rock Solid are proving their resilience and strength.

"We are developing a new normal. Things are not back to normal or back to the way they were. I don't think they're going to be," said Ángel L. Pérez, vice president at Rock Solid Technologies. "That's good. I'm not saying it in a bad way. The new normal is somewhat different. People are more aware of their surroundings and how to better plan and prepare. That's good. We're going to be more resilient going forward." More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 01, 2018 at 9:23 AM0 comments

Prospering as an 'Expert in a Sliver of Technology'

Based on the number of mergers and acquisitions in the Microsoft channel, one would think that large scale is the only way to prosper as a partner in the cloud. Many partners believe high growth is the only path to strengthening ties to Microsoft -- and tapping the motherload of leads. But there remain partners without super-size aspirations who capture Microsoft's attention and reap the rewards.

As one of the first partners to implement BPOS, the precursor to Office 365, LiftOff launched into the cloud early. "We latched on, and committed to learning that product," said Ron Braatz, president of LiftOff. "One of the things that I had been telling partners, as a Microsoft employee was, if you want to get into a new market, start small, build your experience, build some case studies. Grow it however you like from there. You have to be an expert." More

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 25, 2018 at 11:34 AM0 comments

Microsoft Partners Forge Ahead Through OCP Turbulence: Part 2

The lack of reassuring announcements from Microsoft after the sudden departure of Ron Huddleston, chief architect of the One Commercial Partner (OCP) engagement model, would have the partner community in an uproar if it weren't for their confidence in his replacement.

From the partner perspective, Gavriella Schuster never lost her mantle of Worldwide Channel Chief and her formal reinstatement will be universally welcomed. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 03, 2018 at 3:21 PM0 comments

Microsoft Partners Forge Ahead Through OCP Turbulence: Part 1

Almost a year into Microsoft's One Commercial Partner (OCP) reorg, and the channel is still learning how to navigate it. Designed to simplify partner engagement that had become fragmented and siloed, the "Build-With," "Go-to-Market" and "Sell-With" motions that form the foundation of partner engagement are coming into focus.

In this post, we share the experiences of partners working with partner development managers and getting a handle on the OCP catalogs. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on December 14, 2017 at 8:59 AM0 comments

First Impressions of Microsoft's ISV Cloud Embed Program

It's been four months since Microsoft launched its ISV Cloud Embed program as part of the One Commercial Partner (OCP) engagement vision to Build-With, Go-to-Market and Sell-With partners.

We caught up with a partner enrolled in the program, Binary Tree, to see how the program has been working since the July launch. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on November 16, 2017 at 9:30 AM0 comments

Microsoft's Strategy for Partner Marketing in the OCP Takes Shape

As the One Commercial Partner (OCP) leadership team continues to refine Microsoft's partner engagement models, the resources and tools that can best support marketing and sales are also undergoing review.

Cheryl Miller, general manager of Worldwide One Commercial Partner Go-to-Market (GTM) at Microsoft, leads a team of 35 building the strategy that will guide through- and with-partner marketing program development. The GTM team takes on a big challenge in developing strategy that can serve an ever more diverse community of partners. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on October 19, 2017 at 11:03 AM0 comments

Unexpected Curves Crash Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Roadmap

At the recent Directions North America conference, Microsoft's announcements about the Dynamics 365 roadmap didn't quite go as expected.

The spring-scheduled release of Dynamics 365, code-named "Tenerife," was introduced as a modular cloud ERP with full Dynamics NAV functionality. The decision to go modular was a change of direction, but not a show-stopper for partners. When Microsoft went on to explain the cloud software would be available to partners as a white-label component for vertical packaged solutions, the brakes screeched. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 28, 2017 at 8:07 AM0 comments

Tech Community Reporters Control the Burn at Microsoft Ignite 

With more than 700 sessions and a sea of announcements, Microsoft's sold-out Ignite conference (which kicks off on Sept. 25) challenges even the most seasoned event-goer to stay on top of it all.

There is so much going on, in fact, that it would take a dedicated team to effectively help you set priorities and hit all the highlights. Fortunately, Microsoft has assembled an all-star team of Tech Community Reporters who will be positioned in the field to help you cover it all...starting now. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 13, 2017 at 12:42 PM0 comments

5 Ways To Help Customers Switch from a Project Mindset to Continuous Improvement

The cloud may provide the perfect platform for technology as continuous improvement, but most customers still think about IT in terms of discrete projects.

While DevOps and agile development promote the concepts of incremental improvement, far too many customers still want a start date and an end data for their IT projects. And, with the cloud, they expect the time in between to be smaller than ever. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on August 24, 2017 at 8:07 AM0 comments

Making Progress: Partner Builds Diversity with Mentoring Mentality

There is no easy fix to the diversity challenge the Microsoft partner channel faces. Most partners would like to hire more women and minorities, but without big recruiting budgets, it's difficult to reach a larger, more diverse audience.

One partner making strides towards a more balanced workforce promotes a culture of mentoring -- both internally and externally. The strategy appears to be working.  More

Posted by Barb Levisay on July 06, 2017 at 10:04 AM0 comments

Partners: First Impressions Could Be Killing Your Business

What happens when a prospect reaches out to your organization? Do they receive a fast, professional response from their first contact? Is their journey through the sales process equally professional and efficient? Are you sure?

Based on the recent experiences of a mystery IT shopper, there are too many managed service buyers having less-than-exceptional customer engagement experiences. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 21, 2017 at 12:45 PM0 comments