As many of you know, the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 (WPC 2014) is happening this week in Washington D.C., and our own Stephanie Donahue is there soaking up all of the latest and greatest news. One of the most widely anticipated events was this morning’s keynote presentation, Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft. With all of the buzz lately about the Cloud, the Death of SharePoint, Office 365, and Yammer, we all waited with bated breath to hear what he had to say about some of these big shifts. Naturally, we had to get through a few other speakers first, but I liked what they all had to say. So much so, that I decided to do a blog series for each of their segments.
At an event like WPC 2014, you expect there to be a lot of emphasis on partnership, after all Partner is in the name, but you don’t always know how that emphasis will be communicated. PAITgroup is a small company, there are fewer than 10 of us, and even though we’re a Microsoft partner it’s hard to imagine that a company this small could have any impact on Microsoft’s bottom line. It’s also hard to imagine that we’re even a blip on their radar, with so many other big names to contend with. After today’s presentation, my feelings of mediocrity in the world of Microsoft Partners were eradicated and replaced with a feeling of pride and empowerment.
Microsoft’s Promise to its Partners
The keynote presentation started with Phil Sorgen, the head of the Microsoft partner group, discussing the promise that he is making to Microsoft partners every day. There are 4 pillars in this promise:
1) Develop and deliver world class products and services
By creating and supporting the best products and services, it is easier for us as partners to sell those products, develop custom solutions based on them, and provide customers with that peace of mind that the products and services they’re getting are the best of the best. Microsoft is also investing in Microsoft partners, because it recognizes that when we innovate and thrive, they thrive too.
2) Create markets for business opportunities
Microsoft is helping Microsoft partners by creating brand recognition and the demand for Microsoft products and services. Microsoft recognizes that the cost of selling goes down if customers already want Microsoft products, and they’re doing everything they can to create that desire by running marketing campaigns, developing new platforms, and pushing Modern Biz and Pinpoint. Microsoft is also anticipating increased customer demand for the Cloud, and they’re setting us up for success in that market.
3) Enable success
Microsoft knows that it can’t succeed without the success of its partners, therefore the Microsoft Partnering Network is key. To enable that success it has created resources for us, like a site in the portal dedicated to profitability in the cloud and a new eBook on cloud partner profitability. Microsoft is doing everything they can to provide the tools and information that we as partners need to keep up with them as they take the plunge into this new phase of this industry.
4) Sales and Marketing engagement and a focus on the last mile
Finally, Microsoft is emphasizing the 3000 Microsoft employee’s whose own success is driven by our success as partners. Microsoft is making investments in Azure and other businesses online, and the risks they’re taking on our behalf allow us to engage our customers better.
Sorgen made it very clear that Microsoft’s growth and success is directly contingent on the growth and success Microsoft partners. Therefore, it is their promise to us that by focusing on these 4 pillars, they will give us the tools we need to succeed. In doing so, he hopes to increase the value and decrease the cost of partnership with Microsoft, change the market, and ultimately achieve success.
PAITgroup's Promise to Our Partners
This sort of commitment to partnership can make or break a company like PAITgroup. We can't afford to sell products or services at less than cost, hoping to drum up more business or make money on the warranties (so to speak.) We can't afford to gamble on where our next clients will come from, or our next big project. We also can't afford to spend a lot of time or money marketing a product or service that no one has heard of. So when Microsoft goes through all of the effort to establish their brand and reputation, we are able to focus more on our customer's individual needs. We have set ourselves apart by providing unique perspectives, customized solutions, and by taking risks, because let's face it: Microsoft products can sell themselves. Microsoft partners don't exist to sell Microsoft products, they exist to sell the Microsoft experience.
I think I can speak for all of us here at PAITgroup when I say that we want success. We want to grow as a company and as a Microsoft Partner. After hearing Sorgen's speech this morning, I recognize now that the same way Microsoft can't succeed without the success of Microsoft partners, we can't succeed without the success of PAITgroup partners. Our partners are defined a little differently, though. They include the individuals within our company, our clients, other local businesses, our nationwide network of SharePoint professionals, and of course Microsoft. To help guarantee the success of all of these partners, I promise Microsoft that PAITgroup will use the resources they worked so hard to develop and drive our own business.
I'm going to wrap up this installment with a really cheesy inspirational moment, so bear with me. They say that a team is only as strong as its weakest member, and PAITgroup was founded on that principle. In fact, that's what our name means: Powerful Alone Invincible Together. Microsoft I'm promising you now, we definitely aren't going to be the weakest link!