Bull`s Eye Awards: Influencers of the Year

  • By

    Lawrence Walsh

    | Posted 2009-12-22



Allison Watson, Corporate Vice President
Microsoft Worldwide Partners Organization

When channel executives talk about an inspiring role model, they often invoke Microsoft’s Allison Watson as the person setting the standard.

Let’s face it, Watson would be influential based on the sheer size of the Microsoft channel ecosystem. She sits at the head of the global Microsoft channel that numbers more than 600,000 partners that service more than 43 million end users. Microsoft’s channel generates more than $520 billion in economic activity; in other words, the Microsoft ecosystem accounts for about 1 percent of global GDP. And Microsoft’s annual investment under Watson now tallies more than $3.3 billion.

No one initiative or program defines Watson’s influence over the industry. And her influence is based on more than just the size and scope of the Microsoft channel community. No, Watson’s influence is based in large part on the steady hand she wields over her program, the value she delivers to her partners and alliance vendors, and the example she sets for consistency in leadership.

In her tenure as Microsoft’s global channel chief, Watson has launched numerous education and collaboration initiatives. She has overseen the launch of numerous products through the channel, preparing partners for each new software release and market opportunity. She’s created a series of tools and performance metrics to help Microsoft better understand the markets and their businesses. And she has focused on supporting and guiding partners through the most challenging economic period in a generation.

During the economic downturn, Watson grew increasingly concerned about the viability and profitability of Microsoft’s partners. Under her watch, Microsoft launched a series of initiatives to prepare the partner community for the launch of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, and ensure survival through the recession. The Service Ready program provides partners with access to Microsoft’s resources for designing and implementing integrated solutions. The Microsoft Partner Network gives solution providers a platform for finding peer connections and resources for solving technology and customer problems. And Microsoft’s Solution Finder and Pinpoint applications have generated nearly 700,000 sales leads for partners.

Some will argue that the vastness of the Microsoft partner ecosystem and the deep pockets of the world’s largest software company are what enable Watson to carry out her initiatives and programs. As anyone in Watson’s position will tell you, making strategic and meaningful decisions is often harder when you have the resources to execute. Watson’s vision and leadership is what keeps Microsoft steadily engaged with its partner community and ensures the allocated resources don’t go wasted. For her leadership to the Microsoft and greater channel community, Allison Watson has earned the Bull’s Eye Contender Award for Influencer of the Year.

Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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