Microsoft is formalizing an approach for working with its 8,000 enterprise partners to add a sense of stability in what the vendor says is a dynamic and shifting marketplace.
The approach comes from its best practices with the channel around the world, said Peter Boit, who has served as vice president of enterprise market sales for the world’s largest software company for the past year, in charge of how the company engages with and manages partners. Boit is a 15-year Microsoft veteran.
He said the company is adopting the new approach now because of the “tremendous business opportunity that requires us to have the best partner ecosystem out there and also be the quickest to respond to customer demand.”
Boit noted that market research firm IDC has estimated a $134 billion software market opportunity in four key areas of focus in the enterprise, including core infrastructure, business productivity, application platform and business applications—all areas where Microsoft has multiple products.
Boit believes to take advantage of that opportunity, the company must continue with and improve its cooperative approach towards the channel.
“Partnering has been a deep part of our fabric for many, many years,” said Boit. “It’s been a key differentiator for us. We want to put together an approach with our partners that is predictable, consistent and transparent.”
This approach may sound familiar because it comes from many things the company has already been doing in various regions of the world. But the approach has now been formalized to provide a consistent framework for partners globally.
The approach comprises three areas—aligning on the business opportunity, making commitments to go after the opportunity and getting field sellers engaged, according to Boit.
To handle the first part, Microsoft will develop a joint business plan with each of the company’s 8,000 enterprise partners, something that partners have been asking for, Boit said.
Second, together the partner and Microsoft will pick a set of solutions to help drive that business plan. The solution plan will also set out goals on product revenue, service revenue and other metrics of success, according to Boit.
Finally, the approach calls for Microsoft to engage with partners at two levels. First, it calls for creating a plan to help broaden the solutions Microsoft does with the partner to help the partner achieve business success. This includes more sharing of opportunities. And second, it also includes more and more sharing around accounts.
“What this approach allows partners to do is handle the breadth of change going on in the market today,” said Boit. “You have to have some routine and rhythm. The tech industry is dynamic, vibrant and constantly changing. This provides something that partners can depend on that allows them to adapt and respond to the dynamic opportunities in the marketplace.”