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What One Commercial Partner means for the Microsoft channel

James Henderson | July 13, 2017
Industries take centre stage as Redmond rings internal changes to better serve evolving ecosystem.


Microsoft has shed light on the channel implications of sweeping internal changes within the organisation, outlining the benefits of the new One Commercial Partner business.

Launched in February, the new division combines partner teams across the company, and is headed up by former Salesforce supremo Ron Huddleston.

Huddleston is widely credited with playing a major role in building the AppExchange marketplace at Salesforce, alongside launching the software giant’s cloud-based channel, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and ISV programs.

Following a brief round of clarification on the opening day of Microsoft Inspire 2017 in Washington D.C. by Huddleston, Microsoft delved deeper into the channel implications on day two, outlining future opportunities for partners.

Looking ahead, the new-look program will focus on six priority industries during the next fiscal year, spanning financial services, retail and manufacturing in the commercial space.

Furthermore, within the public sector Microsoft will expand its presence across government, healthcare and education, rewarding industry-focused partners along the way.

“We'll develop mastery skill in these six industry areas,” Microsoft executive vice president of Worldwide Commercial Business Judson Althoff said.

“We're going to build solution maps with your intellectual property that's wrapped with your services, to bring hosting capabilities that you bring to bear, ecosystem-led.”

At the highest level, Althoff said Microsoft is simplifying segmentation and becoming “far more nimble”, enabling the business to place the right resource, in front of the right customer, at the right time.

“The first thing that you need to know about the new commercial model is that we're aligning all of our account team units around the world by industry,” he explained. “We will develop that subject matter expertise, the better ability to serve our customers digitally."

Althoff said Microsoft’s go-to-market strategy will focus across four key solution areas, spanning modern workplace, business applications, apps and infrastructure, alongside data and artificial intelligence (AI).

“The second thing you need to know is that all of our specialist technology units around the world will be aligned by these four solution areas," he added. "We're focusing on where the customers want us to be and adding technical expertise to bring their vision to life.”

Thirdly, Althoff said plans are in place to build a formal customer success organisation, stemmed from learnings with cloud and data solution architects over the past few years.

“And we're now adding that capability across all four solution areas so that we can drive modern workplace business applications, apps and infrastructure, data and AI solutions to life,” Althoff added. “Think of these folks as non-billable resources that you can partner with to help customers get real value out of the cloud solutions they've acquired.”


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