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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

Microsoft Partner Community Site Flattens P2P/M2P World

The newly launched Microsoft Partner Community Web site aims to address the globalization of the channel, enabling unified partner-to-partner (P2P) and Microsoft-to-partner (M2P) collaboration.

As partners adopt the less geography-bound cloud business models, Microsoft has to rethink partner engagement. The Microsoft Partner Community site is designed to provide a boundary-free platform to connect partners with the people and resources they need to succeed. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 17, 2017 at 3:00 PM0 comments

Are MSP Partners Missing the Strategic Value of IoT?

As Microsoft partners look for their place in the cloud, the fanfare around Office 365 makes it seem the logical entry point. But competing in an already crowded field is risky for players late to the game. Many partners may be missing the relatively quiet call of the Internet of Things (IoT) as a strategic opportunity to stake a claim and build a practice.

Managed services providers (MSPs), in particular, have built their traditional business by providing services to monitor and optimize technical devices. Coordinating across software and hardware vendors, MSPs have a well-earned understanding of how to keep a network of disparate devices running smoothly. Since the foundation of the Azure IoT Suite is remote monitoring, the potential for MSPs to transfer skills is worth consideration. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 30, 2017 at 8:55 AM0 comments

Partner Helps Customers Navigate Microsoft's Evolving Collaboration Choices

Oh, for the days of simple answers to complex questions. With Microsoft's release of Teams this week, customers have yet another option to add to their confusion when it comes to choosing their best path to a collaborative workplace.

As the Office 365 collaboration toolset continues to expand -- Groups, Skype, Delve, Yammer and, now, Teams -- the challenge for partners to explain them all and how they fit together grows, as well. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 16, 2017 at 8:25 AM0 comments

Personal and Partner Commitments Change Lives Through Technology

For partners trying to keep up with the high-pressure, day-to-day obligations of running the business, the good intentions of giving back to their community too often go unrealized.

Putting intent into action takes commitment from individuals, as well as support from partner leadership. But when those ingredients come together, partners can have a real impact on the lives of those in need. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 09, 2017 at 8:05 AM0 comments

Microsoft's New Cloud Practice Playbooks Are Massive and Well Worth Your Time

Following up on the popular Modern Partner Series, Microsoft has released four Cloud Practice Development Playbooks to guide partners as they expand their cloud practices.

On download, the sheer volume of the playbooks might make some partners think they are full of Microsoft fluff, but that is not the case. While they could be pared down to make them more consumable, the content is specific to each practice area and includes well-researched business advice and pertinent partner experiences. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on February 15, 2017 at 11:22 AM0 comments

With 20,000 CSPs, Microsoft Partners Need a Stand-Out Strategy

In a State of the Channel update this week, Gavrielle Schuster, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft, announced that there are now more than 20,000 partners transacting through the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) program -- up from 3,500 a year ago.

That's got to be a sobering number for every cloud partner. As the field of competitors grows, the average partner with 20 to 90 employees needs a clear strategy to stand out from the crowd. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on December 08, 2016 at 7:27 AM0 comments

Consultants: Partners' New Front Line for Sales

The traditional partner sales model has been turned upside down. In a world where technology is like electricity, sales opportunities won't continue to come in the form of implementations and upgrades.

Partners need to find new ways to identify and solve the business problems for their plugged-into-the-cloud customers. Consultants and engineers need to transition from technology fixers to business problem solvers -- and always be on the lookout for new problems to solve. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on October 12, 2016 at 1:29 PM0 comments

Is There Partner Opportunity in a DIY Data Management World?

Every business today is accumulating massive amounts of unstructured data, from e-mails to documents to images. As the competition between Microsoft, Amazon and Google continues to drive down cost of data storage, it's tempting for those businesses to take a do-it-yourself approach.

But promises of easy administration that don't hold true provide an opportunity for partners to solve their customers' growing data management problems. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on October 05, 2016 at 8:47 AM0 comments

How an ISV Revamped Its Partner Program To Strengthen Its Channel

As more VARs, MSPs and SIs build their intellectual property and expand into the realm of ISV, they're seeing potential in working through partners to resell their solutions.

Building a channel, even if you only work with a handful of select partners, requires thought, planning and follow-through. Based on the experience of one ISV gaining momentum with Microsoft partners, a clear program with two-way expectations provides the foundation for strong channel partnerships. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 21, 2016 at 8:43 AM0 comments

Are Veterans an Overlooked Talent Pool for Partners?

Based on the record turnout and positive atmosphere of last month's Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), times are good for partners.

When partners talk about their challenges, hiring usually tops the list -- a good sign, but still a roadblock to continued growth. Interestingly, it seemed that more time was spent on the talent gap at past WPCs. Two years ago, there was a significant effort to focus attention on the potential of veterans to help. Which leads to the question: Is the channel overlooking a source of well-qualified candidates? More

Posted by Barb Levisay on August 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM0 comments