A Microsoft Partner Motion … It’s time!

Microsoft has been revamping their business for a few years.

At least since 2010 when then CEO Steve Ballmer said:

We’re All In!

He meant … All in with The Cloud.

Yesterday, Mary Jo Foley posted an article on ZDnet about the next iteration of the Microsoft leadership team, their plans for events, and their plans for a "One Commercial Partner" business.

The One Commercial Partner team will include the current Microsoft execs:

  • Kim Akers – The ISV team
  • Victor Morales - The Enterprise Partner team
  • Gavriella Schuster - The WPG team


What this means for Partners

Partners have been working hard to keep up and to understand the changes Microsoft is making in products, licensing, and in the ultimate factor that determines if they stay in this business … Revenue!

imageUltimately, partners need to make money. Whether it’s from products, services or partnerships. Partner-to-Partner (P2P) is taking a front seat in the Microsoft Partner Community. This is an area the IAMCP has pioneered and will continue to help Microsoft and Microsoft partners to succeed. Learn more about the IAMCP or ask me how you can Connect, Learn and Grow your business with the IAMCP and P2P.

As noted in Per Werngren’s post 'P2P as a Practice' Is the New Black in Redmond Channel Partner where he lays out a model for the rise of The Specialist and the need to partner to accomplish things. P2P’s time has come. As I noted in my comment to Per’s post:

It is incumbent upon Microsoft to embrace this change and push it all the way to the edges of the field sales organization.
~ Jeff Shuey (in reply to Per Werngren) (click2tweet)

The Cloud Makes and Takes

It doesn’t take too much to see that the partner model is convoluted. There are a lot of opportunities for Microsoft and partners building cloud based offerings. However, there are also things that are taken away – revenue models are the most visible. Things that were once a given are no longer. Things that customers would be willing to pay for are reduced, displaced or just gone.

Microsoft is no different than any other channel facing organization in the way they have to balance the:

  • Products offered
  • Services available
  • Licensing options
  • Support options (and mandates … think CSP)

Each has been extended and all have been impacted in the past few years. This new "One Commercial Partner" model should lead to a more specific way to engage partners. A Partner Motion in Microsoft speak.

Not surprising. With the New World Order of new execs and Satya's continuation of One Microsoft this makes sense and the timing is right.

The mobile-first, cloud-first is a very rich canvas for innovation - it is not the device that is mobile, it is the person that is mobile.
~ Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO (click2tweet)

I see this as a big opportunity for partners. There is a whole new motion in the partner world. It's akin to the partner model of the 80's and 90's ... but cloud enabled!

Which re-iterates something I’ve been saying for years …

ANYTHING is Possible with 1’s and 0’s

The Cloud just makes ‘em easier to distribute

It’s time for a renewed emphasis on partners. It’s time for a Partner Motion to take a front seat. I think Microsoft is committed to this effort and this motion. With these new shifts in the Microsoft management team that Mary Jo Foley pointed out it’s time to prove it.


There are still questions that need to be asked and addressed. There will be shifts in the partner landscape and ecosystem. As the new One Commercial Partner model is rolled out … partners will need to know … WIIFM, how will be fit, and ultimately, how will we make money?

As these shifts are being applied … partners will want to know. Is the the partner community for me.

As I noted in Working with Millennials in the Partner Community there is a battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of the Millennials and the Gen Z’s. But, first … the same battle must be waged for the current set of partners. They have options.

Some of these questions are very specific to partners that are living in the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem today. But, these same points need to be asked and answered for people considering where to spend their time and whether they want to spend their time in the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem.

Some of the questions that need to be addressed include:

  • What does it mean to be a managed partner?
  • How to get things done as a managed partner?
  • Is there a transition process for Managed to Unmanaged Partner?

Will the current set of partners that make 92% of the revenues for Microsoft be involved and inspired in the Partner Motion that should be part of the One Commercial Partner effort?

The ball is in Microsoft’s court. I look forward to seeing the rollout of the new One Microsoft.

Add your comments here. Inquiring minds want to know your thoughts.

Image Credits: Redmond Channel Partner, Geekwire

clip_image001Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He has spent most of his career in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2.

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