Are Microsoft Partners Feeling Inspired?

By Howard M. Cohen  |  Print this article Print
Inspire partners

Leaders in the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners community provided the partner perspective on Microsoft's ability to inspire.

Randy Steinle, co-founder of the Cyber Trust Alliance and current president of the U.S. IAMCP board, had this to say: "I do feel inspired by Microsoft. I feel more inspired today than in the past. I'm inspired by Satya Nadella's leadership. I think he has honestly embraced Microsoft's strengths and weaknesses and aggressively focused resources in the right direction."

Marc Hoppers, the former U.S. board advocacy chair, offered this observation. "I do feel inspired by Microsoft's products," he said. "Since Satya Nadella took the CEO seat, he's changed the culture of the product side of the business.

"Besides sunsetting wonderful mobile apps like Sunrise and Wunderlist, they really are making wonderful products for both mobile and cloud, and that's generally translating to the desktop and laptop. (I'm still not a fan of Outlook on Windows.) I don't feel that the transformation of the field has the same success or momentum."

Rudy Rodriguez has been one of the foremost leaders and supporters of the Microsoft channel partner community for many years, having served as president of both the U.S. and international IAMCP boards. His comments reflect years of working closely with Microsoft's senior executives.

"I am still inspired by working with Microsoft," Rodriguez said. "Even though the channel has shrunk over the past few years, I am seeing a renewed and genuine effort by Microsoft to really help the partners that are all-in for reselling the Microsoft platforms.

"There has been a major disruption in the channel, and it does take significant effort to achieve the digital transformation we are being asked to do. It is not quick, nor is it easy, but ultimately we are able to deliver better services for our customers and build value in our companies through the recurring income model."

Rodriguez also offers guidance and advice to Microsoft partners: "The challenge for all partners is to sustain the level of income to maintain our staffs. This requires significant effort to find project work while building a managed services practice. Building an MSP business requires investment in time, training, systems and sophistication in marketing to recruit new business, developing your own IP and value proposition. Consequently, we had a contraction in the channel because only the strong and committed can survive."

As the CEO of Citrix, Mark Templeton saw the company's core technology sold to Microsoft decades ago, setting him on perhaps the greatest challenge a CEO can face. Templeton retired recently, having succeeded in navigating Citrix to new heights.

As a core partner with Microsoft for many years, when asked if Microsoft still inspired him, Templeton replied, "Great question. Not sure I'm inspired as much as it's great to see that that's their aspiration: to inspire us forward—in computing, in business and in life. They are out-Apple-ing Apple, which is amazing.

"Last fall, they showed the Creator's release, while Apple showed new speeds and feeds. So, Microsoft did an Apple event, and Apple did a classic MSFT event. Go figure!"

Templeton closed by adding, "The good news is there is now competition for driving human outcomes, which is how the industry began. I hope [Microsoft] wants to both inspire and invent. Computing is becoming truly personal again, which is where it started and how it became so important."


Howard M. Cohen

Howard M. Cohen has over 30 years of IT channel executive experience and now consults, presents, and writes extensively on IT topics including virtualization, infrastructure, cloud, and management.