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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


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