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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

Microsoft's 2016 WPC Was the First for Millennials

  • See our full WPC 2016 coverage here.

Setting the tone for what may be a new generation of Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conferences (WPCs), Ariela Suster, founder of Sequence, opened last week's WPC with her powerful story of a childhood besieged by violence in El Salvador. With remarkable stage presence, Suster described her mission to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth to break the cycle of crime and violence. The underlying message -- and recurring theme throughout the conference -- was that Microsoft enables people and partners to make a difference in the world.  

With a new generation of entrepreneurs and workers looking for meaning in the work they do, Microsoft seemed to be phasing out the tech-talk to focus on partners as agents of change. Keynotes at past WPCs have always included heart-tugging videos with partners helping nonprofit organizations use technology to make a bigger impact, but at WPC 2016 last week, the theme of purpose was pervasive.  More

Posted by Barb Levisay on July 18, 2016 at 1:03 PM0 comments

Partners: Follow the CIO with Packaged Services

Two recent reports, taken together, provide valuable insight for those partners searching for their "angle" to focus their business and create packaged services.

A 2016 survey of CIOs confirmed the growing strategic role for IT leaders in their organizations. Those findings, combined with the latest release of the Modern Partner Series, which makes a strong case for packaged services, could guide partners as they choose where to specialize. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 22, 2016 at 10:51 AM0 comments

Microsoft Partner Opportunities in SharePoint 2016

Last week's "Future of SharePoint" event held by Microsoft in San Francisco earned high praise from the SharePoint community. The importance of SharePoint in the Microsoft ecosystem was reconfirmed, which seemed to reignite energy in the SharePoint community.

To help those of us who don't live and breathe SharePoint understand the impact of the 2016 release on partners, I spoke to Naomi Moneypenny, chief technology officer at ManyWorlds Inc. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 11, 2016 at 2:01 PM0 comments

Partners Look to the Future of Microsoft Envision

The next Microsoft Envision event is already scheduled to kick off on Feb. 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. Hopefully, following the advice of partners, Microsoft has already begun planning, building on the strengths and learning from mistakes of the first Envision held in New Orleans earlier this month.

One of the most common observations from both customers and partners about the first Envision was confusion about who should attend the event. Clarifying the roles, along with the corresponding value proposition for each, should be a pretty straightforward exercise for Microsoft. This year's sessions were aimed at business, finance, IT, marketing and sales leaders. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM0 comments

A Bumpy Ride at Microsoft's First Envision Conference

Fair or not, almost every conversation at the first Microsoft Envision conference, which took place earlier this week in New Orleans, began with a comparison to Convergence, the discontinued Microsoft Dynamics event.

Loyalty to the Convergence legacy borders on fanatic, but the event is a tough act to follow by any measure. The Convergence team had become a well-oiled machine that consistently delivered great content and smooth operations. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 07, 2016 at 12:37 PM0 comments

Microsoft Partner Taps Power BI for SMB Market and Beyond

Microsoft's Power BI Partner Showcase is a testament to the success of partners helping their clients, from enterprises to SMBs, realize the potential of data through analytics and visualization. For most SMB partners, however, experience and resource challenges put building a Power BI practice beyond their reach. 

But one of the showcase partners, RoseBud Technologies, has set its sights on taking Power BI to the SMB market -- and helping other partners do the same. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 29, 2016 at 3:51 PM0 comments

IAMCP Women in Technology E3 Program: Deadline Extended

The Women in Technology (WIT) community of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) has gained impressive momentum over the past two years. Well-attended webinars, popular regional meetings and standing-room-only Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) luncheons establish the value WIT brings to the channel.

Taking another step forward, the IAMCP WIT is sponsoring the Entrepreneurs, Executives and Excellence (E3) Program, an intensive entrepreneurship program for women in the channel. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 09, 2016 at 12:03 PM0 comments