Microsoft Australia's managing director, Pip Marlow, has admitted the organisation must step up on the partner engagement front to develop greater skills and readiness within its channel ecosystem, but is asking its partners to dig deeper to become advocates of the Microsoft and Windows brands.
Speaking to more than 750 partners at Microsoft's annual Australian Partner Conference, Marlow promised the company would do more to allow its channel network to capitalise on Cloud, mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) opportunities, but reinforced 'partnering' is a two-way street.
In addressing attendees, she said, "I think there is room for us to step up and partner even better with you, and this year we are going to do some things differently."
"What are you asking from us, and what are you doing? What have you got in your pocket? An iPhone or Windows Phone? Are you running Apple or Windows?," she said.
"I would love to see every single partner focused on our technology, living and breathing it to become best advocates. What you use and what you know is what you sell."
Microsoft Australia partner business and development director, Dean Swan, pushed this point further in stating that while in front of joint customers, Microsoft requires partners to be using its technology in order to show it off, whether it be via phone, tablet or Cloud services. He added that partners should ensure sales, pre-sales, and technical staff are trained in current technology sets.
Doing so will allow Microsoft and its partners to line up behind the global corporation's new vision to "create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe."
According to Marlow, Microsoft partners can expect to see Partner Summits twice a year for two days across the five major Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth).
She said Microsoft may have 14,000 Australian partners, but not all of these are playing in the Cloud. In addition, she claims 45 per cent of customers' budgets are already dedicated to Cloud spend, and that these customers require a partner to bring that together.
"The partner research map showed partners that are Cloud-oriented were growing 2.5 times faster in revenue, and 1.6 times faster in profit," Marlow said. "But not everybody has the skills yet to go out and sell the Cloud to customers... and that's our job. It's our job to ensure we are providing those skills and readiness for you."
As such, the summits will feature business model transformation workshops designed to Cloud-orient partners, with the goal of creating the opportunity for those partners to become the sole partner of choice and take customers through the process.
Marlow also acknowledged the cumbersome nature of Microsoft's incentive programs, and while she did not detail what the vendor will do to alleviate the issues, she assures it wants to instill operational excellence to ensure partners are able to spend more time with customers.
Nermin Bajric attended Microsoft APC as a guest of Microsoft.
- Microsoft names key partners at APC awards
- Microsoft APC welcomes partners with flare
- Latest tech at Microsoft APC