Changes Ahead in the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem

For those that made it to the Microsoft Inspire event in Washington, DC or followed along online you should have noticed something.

Change is Coming! (click2Tweet)


There is a fundamental shift in how Microsoft pays its own teams that will dramatically impact how partners engage.

Are you ready? (click2Tweet)

I heard three primary changes coming with this shift. There were more, and I’d like to get your thoughts on what you heard, what you saw and what you will do.

  1. Compensation for Partners
    • Partners will be paid on Microsoft Azure consumption.
    • “Microsoft is creating an entire new sales incentive to co-sell with Azure ISVs—paying its sales reps 10% of the value of the partner solution when it is co-sold.” via Forbes
  2. Industry Focused – Partner Delivered #IFPD
    • 20170711_131709000_iOSIn case you missed her in the keynote on Day 2 Microsoft’s Toni Townes-Whitley was AMAZING!
    • She spoke about the new channel focused roles and how the Microsoft teams are being aligned on verticals.
    • With a focus on six vertical markets -
    • --  Financial services

      --  Manufacturing

      --  Retail

      --  Education

      --  Health

      --  Government

  3. New Role – Channel Focused
    • For those that were around in the LAN Manager days and the early days of Windows NT they might remember this model. There are a lot of parallels. In fact, Nimble founder and CEO Jon Ferrara and I spoke about this at dinner a few months ago.
    • 20170712_134828000_iOSChannel Partner Manager role – This role was mentioned several times by Gavriella Schuster, CVP and Channel Chief and other Microsoft execs. It’s interesting to see the market flip back to what I did when I started at Microsoft in 1999. Cycles Repeat … I’m ready to help. (Click2Tweet)

The Shift Is On!

The intent for this shift is help encourage partners to adopt, embrace and build more on the Microsoft platform. It’s a needed shift and one that will help Microsoft continue its push for cloud based offerings.

  • What did you hear?
  • What would you add to these three points?
  • How will this impact your business?

Add your thoughts and comments here or ping me directly via one of the channels below. I do want to hear your thoughts.

I’ve been in the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem for 25 years. I’ve seen a lot and done a lot. In fact, if I had my druthers I’d like to be considered for one of these new Channel Partner Manager roles.

Will You Grow Your Business with Microsoft in the next 12 months?

I think the opportunity has never been greater. As Satya Nadella, Judson Althoff, Ron Huddleston, and other Microsoft execs mentioned in the keynote sessions … there is a $4.5 Trillion (with a T) opportunity for partners.

With the traditional 1:3:5 ratio needing an update there is still a huge opportunity for partners to engage and build a wide range of solutions. This is where the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners can really help Microsoft (again) to engage, build, and extend communities of partners. I have been active in this organization for over 5 years now and the need for community connection and partner connection to Microsoft has never been greater. I’m ready to help make that happen. If you are a Microsoft partner you should consider joining (or creating) a local chapter. Start here!


There is a lot of room for partners. I am happy to see the pendulum swing back towards more partner inclusion. With inclusion comes expectations. I know the partner community is ready to deliver. In fact, I expect more partners businesses being build by Millennials and Baby Boomers will be created in the next 12 months. But, that’s another post. Stay tuned or read this to get started … Boomers Got Game.

The Shift is on … are you ready?

I am. This is a great start. I’m (still) all in!

How about you?


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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I am a a contributing author to Entrepreneur Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the Personal Branding Blog with over 250 articles published.