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Q&A: David Gage on Microsoft's new Cloud partner focus

Allan Swann | Sept. 10, 2014
ARN 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, David Gage, took some time out from Microsoft's Annual Partner Conference to discuss the company's channel partner programme across 2014.

We've been guiding them through some of the business implications, cashflow, billing models — those sorts of changes, and the applications associated with that.

So what has been the response from your partners so far?

The response has been really good. If I look at the launch of Office 365 - which really caters to that SMB space - in April, it's risen on a really steady trajectory, and then it just exploded across that June-July period. SMB is now the fastest growing part of our business. It's exciting.

We finally feel like we've got some products that really match up with SMB requirements, such as Cloud for business.

We've already got some partners doing incredible stuff, such as Handson Systems and the work they've been doing with financials for Office 365, that's a really strong offering.

So how have you felt the changes under new CEO Satya Nadella have been sitting with the Channel?

I think it sits pretty well with me. I like the concept of the challenger mindset, and challenging the status quo — that sits very well with what I believe.

Anything come out of that locally?

I like everyone across the team to be able to challenge how we do business, think of new ideas and we've done that within SMS&P, and the partner team since I've come on board.

We did a full business review recently and some fantastic ideas came from right across the team. We looked at how we interacted with partners, customers, and we're really conscious of making that a business review by the business, rather than just management.

Out of that flowed increased investment in our partner team, and we also moved some of our corporate account sellers into the team to work alongside our partners.

We've had some changes in the SMS&P management team, with Phil [Goldie] moving into partner business and development, Dean [Swan] moving into partner sales, we've got John Hennessey coming back from — he's got a wealth of experience. He'll be great for our corporate accounts.

Finally, we have John Leonard heading up our Dynamics business, previously out of the Chicago team. So we've got a really strong Dynamics lead with extensive experience, and clearly we see Dynamics as a huge growth opportunity area.


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