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Ask Me Anything: Opportunities for Partner Investments and Incentives (Live Event: Wednesday, July 10, 11:00am PT)

Update - July 12, 2019: 

 

Hello partners,

We heard your feedback and are providing clarity on the recent announcement on the blog by Gavriella. Please review the blog link below. 

Please note that the AMA recording will not be posted because the content is now out of date. 

https://blogs.partner.microsoft.com/mpn/updates-program-change-announcements/

 

Title/Topic: Opportunities for Partner Investments and Incentives

 

Description:

Hosted by Toby Richards (General Manager, Partner Go-To-Market and Programs) and Erez Wohl (General Manager, Business Strategy and Partner Investments), this 30-minute AMA video session will cover key questions pertaining to the launch of OCP’s FY20 Partner Investments and Incentives programs. Please submit your questions regarding eligibility rules, year-over-year changes from FY19, key value propositions, or anything else related to our FY20 programs. 

 

Bio:

MS-Partners-LT-2017-03-Richards-Toby-152-2_sm - Copy.jpgToby Richards is the General Manager of Go-To-Market & Programs within the Microsoft One Commercial Partner organization. His team is responsible for helping partners connect with customer and market opportunities through the company's global partner programs. Toby has more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry, holding several leadership roles within Microsoft that include Customer & Partner Experience and Partner Support in the Services organization.

 

 

 

Erez Wohl is the General Manager, Business Strategy and Partner Investments Wohl, Erez 4 (1).jpgin the One Commercial Partner group at Microsoft.  He is responsible for leading the global strategy and implementation of Microsoft’s worldwide partner investments across Cloud, On-premise and Hybrid business models. Erez oversees a $2+ billion budget to drive through partner sales, growth, and deployment of Microsoft’s solutions and services.  Prior to his current role, Erez oversaw the worldwide commercial Volume Licensing pricing strategy across On-premise and Cloud products and services.  He managed Microsoft’s Volume Licensing FX strategy and global pricing framework including the worldwide

field empowerment and deal discounting strategies. Before joining Microsoft, Erez worked in management 

consulting and completed a nine year military service as an officer in the Intelligence Special Forces of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Erez holds a B.Sc. in Medical Sciences from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an M.B.A from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. 

 

Details to Participate: To participate in this month's AMA, start asking questions on this thread and tune in for the AMA event on Wednesday, July 10, 11:00am PT.

 

The top Kudoed questions will be answered first. 

 

To attend the event, please download the calendar invite below. The invite will contain a Teams link which will be used to participate in the event. 

 

Please start asking questions in the below thread, or be ready to ask questions during the event after the brief presentation.

 

'See' you there!

-MPC Team

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION
Community Manager

Hello partners,

 

We heard your feedback and are providing clarity on the recent announcement on the blog by Gavriella. Please review the blog link below. 

Please note that the AMA recording will not be posted because the content is now out of date. 

https://blogs.partner.microsoft.com/mpn/updates-program-change-announcements/

43 REPLIES 43
Level 3 Contributor

I'm very happy to see there was a decision to reverse these plans.    I'm still concerned that this may only be a temporary decision, but at least it gives me a lot more time to get a game plan into place, for how exactly I would handle the loss of IUR, and a requirement to go from 4 new tenants per year to 10 for my current Small and Mid Market Cloud Competency.

I really hope MSFT will do some polling with their smaller partners to see how they can maybe address some of their concerns of growing costs for providing IUR, while still allowing smaller partners to be able to participate in the programs they rely on.

I know there is probably a lot of abuse in the Action Pack program, and I think that is probably where Microsoft needs to start with their cost cutting measures. There needs to be additional requirements for Action Pack to prove that the "Partners" participating in that program are actually doing something to benefit Microsoft and and aren't just using the easy to sign up for subscription to get a bunch of services and licensing for cheap. It seems like this could be easily addressed by requiring more than just billing information to sign up.    Maybe something as simple as have a minimum requirement of being signed up as a CSP Indirect Reseller with at least one active Tenant with a minium of 5 Business Premium seats.    

 

 

Level 6 Contributor

@lnjackson1 

 

I, for one, am very grateful for the change of heart. I litterally have a big weight lifted from my shoulders and anxiety erased. Please share the thanks on your end.

 

Also, for the record, I'm supportive of the weeding out of the companies not even in the IT space who are abusing your generousity with IUR. If there is a way to do so that doesn't punish small MSP's I think people would be supportive.

Community Manager

Hello partners,

 

We heard your feedback and are providing clarity on the recent announcement on the blog by Gavriella. Please review the blog link below. 

Please note that the AMA recording will not be posted because the content is now out of date. 

https://blogs.partner.microsoft.com/mpn/updates-program-change-announcements/

Visitor 1

Thank you for listening and considering the needs of the partner community. Maybe in the future you provided some transparency in decisions like this by including partners in the decision process. Maybe a select few who act as a sounding board. If you truely cared about the partner community, this would be a good first step towards demonstrating that care.

Microsoft

Hello.  Is there a recording of this call available for partners.  My partner was not able to make the call yesterday.  Thank you in advance for your time. 🙂

Level 1 Contributor

Hi,

I was unable to attend the AMA event yesterday - I was told that the meeting was being recorded. Can you publish the link of the meting?

 

Cheers

 

Tony

Visitor 1

I tis funny we just got convinced to sign up as we have become CSP recently and are start to discover more of O/M365, Azure and others and specificaly internal licenses would allow a small business like us to test and be able to learn and support new customers going forward.

 

You remove this option, you will just make our lives more difficult to sell your product. You make money becuase of us, so instead of helping you penalise us for that?

 

That is what you get from letting Microsoft grow this big. I wish google could up their game a bit so we can seel more of their stuff instead of Microsoft.

Level 1 Contributor

I’ve seen a post saying Microsoft cant afford the IUR and Support benefits that go with their partner programs. Last I checked Microsoft was making billions. With partners the main way to market surely there are better ways to handle the problem than removing IUR from partners. Why not just place a 12 month qualifying period and say that if you don’t make any sales in that time then you no longer qualify. Our business is a CSP through Dicker Data, we would be making Microsoft thousands of $ a month in profit just from cloud revenue let alone our Dell Server sales.
Surely Microsoft can help the partners resolve this better?
Visitor 1

  1. Can you please explain the differences between IURs and how they differ from entitlements granted by achieving Partner competancies?
  2. Will they be equal to IURs, or less, and why?
  3. What will be the affect to Partner environments currenlty utilizing IURs?
  4. Will there be any changes to the cost of Partner renewals because of this cost reduction effort for Microsoft?
  5. How many Partners (ballpark) pay their yearly fees and how does that compare to the savings Microsoft is offloading by removing IURs?
Visitor 2

I suspect that these changes are the result of the industry major players lobbying Microsoft to tilt the playing field in their favour by reducing the number of small partners. Small partners work mainly with small companies, but no big company ever started big, it started small then grew. Some small companies will only ever be small, and the major players have too much overhead to be able to provide small companies with the services they need at the price they can afford to pay. The only people who push Microsoft products into smaller companies are smaller MSPs, so it looks to me like Microsoft are intent on abandoning the lower end of the SME market.

Level 3 Contributor

That Microsoft employees can come in to this thread and try to actually spin these changes to be a good thing is a good example as to either how blinkered some of the people who work there are or how committed they are to decimating the partner base.

 

Then to move it away from its original location, despite it being exactly what the AMA was for is disgraceful. 

 

"In this case, we made the decision to invest more heavily in programs and resources that support new business growth, and helping partners connect with more customers, other partners, and Microsoft sales teams."

 

This is Grade A corporate marketing nonsense of the highest order. Microsoft is now a ONE TRILLION dollar company. Are you expecting us to believe that:

  • Funding for one of the fastest growing cloud services ever would be impacted by IUR for Partners (PS: Guess who has driven that adoption?)
  • Microsoft will gain a significant amount of revenue by doing this enabling them to "invest" in these areas or benefits that I've never seen before and I'm sure many others haven't. 

Here's what I do know. We've given Microsoft millions of dollars of revenue while we have been a Microsoft partner. We've done that with very little help from Microsoft. The way we learn these products as partners is by enabling them in our own tenants and using them on a day to day basis to do our jobs. Removing that benefit is completely backwards and will discourage innovation and service adoption. 

 

I've not even started on the increase from 4-10 new tenants but I feel like I am wasting my time. Maybe when Microsoft are ready to engage in a real conversation and not just have their marketing mouthpieces rehashing corporate nonsense I'll be ready to engage again. 

Level 3 Contributor

Looks like someone either hacked the Partner website or hit it with a massive DDOS attack.   I see this is playing out well for Microsoft already.   404 error on partner.microsoft.com

Microsoft

Hi, thanks for surfacing this!  C


@iknowtech wrote:

Looks like someone either hacked the Partner website or hit it with a massive DDOS attack.   I see this is playing out well for Microsoft already.   404 error on partner.microsoft.com



Hi.  Can you tell me what browser and location you are in so I can let our site team know?

 

Thanks,

Derek

Level 3 Contributor

Hi, thanks for surfacing this!  C

@iknowtech wrote:

Looks like someone either hacked the Partner website or hit it with a massive DDOS attack.   I see this is playing out well for Microsoft already.   404 error on partner.microsoft.com

Hi.  Can you tell me what browser and location you are in so I can let our site team know?

 

Thanks,

Derek

 

This happened yesterday for a few hours, obviously the site eventually came back but at extremely reduced performance for the first few hours after that.   I confirmed with multiple browsers and multiple other people in multiple other locations.    I have no doubt it was a DDOS attack, too much coincidence, to have the site go down to a 404 page for several hours in the middle of US business hours.   FYI, I'm in Northern California.  

Level 2 Contributor

I like many of the people reading this am very frustrated by announced changes in the partner program. I'm a longtime Partner, have subscribed to the Action Pack since it came in books of CDs, and use the products within everyday to learn and understand the Microsoft products and services I sell. Without it, I'd have a lot of problems. Don't take away this very important tool that I happily pay a reasonable amount for.

Level 1 Contributor

I also have been subscribing to Action Pack for years.  It is the easy way for me to complete with the larger partners.  Now I will have nothing.

Level 6 Contributor

Why are you making such drastic and negative changes to the partner program, specifically the competencies, their requirements and the benefits of being a partner? Microsoft has historically been pro-partner and this feels like the exact opposite. 

 

Specifically:

-The change from 4 to 10 net new tenants (bigger impact than it seems) 

-No value on retaining or upselling existing clients to higher skus like m365. 

-No value is placed on demonstrable skills anymore, only sales. 

-Elimination of support incidents. 

-Elimination of IUR. 

 

The change from 4 to 10 net new clients is a bigger hurdle than it sounds like since they must be clients who are BRAND NEW to the o365/m365 platform with no previous tenant. We also are penalized for any tenants who off board from churn and those also must be replaced in addition to the 10. We get no credit for taking a tenant dabbling with a couple of o365 business licenses and upgrading them to o365bp or m365b/e. We're an msp I can't recall the last new customer we onboarded who didn't already have a tenant, what happens as the market gets more saturated in our area? 

 

Seems like these should not be called COMPETENCIES anymore since the requirements are solely based on sales now with no value placed in demonstrable skills. 

 

The support incidents are rarely used but is a fantastic safety net if we're ever in a jam. I've used maybe 3 incidents since we've been a partner so they're not abused. Cut them down to 3 or 5 but please don't nuke our only 'lifeline'. 

 

Why are you killing all the IUR benefits? It costs you nothing but helps us preach the gospel and is a nice reward for investing in the partner program and ecosystem. For the record we pay for m365e5 internally already. 

Level 2 Contributor

I just had a talk with our CEO regarding the elmination of IUR benefits.  We've been a Microsoft Partner since nearly the inception of the company.  To be told 25 years later that the IUR benefits we've literally built our business around are being "retired" in July 2020 comes as quite the shock.  It certainly comes across as a massive bait and switch.  Having grown from 1 employee to nearly 90 over the years, licensing out the full stack that we're using now is going to be incredibly cost prohibitive.  1 year isn't long enough to plan for this level of change.  This news was received very poorly and the directive I was given was to start researching all alternatives to Microsoft software.  We've been loyal all of these years, but this change is such an attack that the Partner Community will likely respond in kind.

Level 3 Contributor

I agree with this whole heartedly.   The change to the Small and Mid Market Cloud Competency will definitely push it out of grasp for smaller companies and individual consultants like myself.     I know this will be the last year that I will be able to qualify for this competency and its looking unlikely I'll ever bother to work towards another competency.   Seems like a waste of time, not knowing if/when Microsoft might move the yard marker, kill the comptency entirely, or strip the benefits you get. 

 

The loss of the IUR rights is going to sting, no doubt about it.    That's a perk that I've come to rely on heavily, and I've already started researching alternatives, and unfortunately I'll have no choice to move to other vendors for a most of what I use IUR for.   Those changes are going to unfortunately also require a large investment in my time to make the adjustments, something that costs me even more money, because it takes me away from being able to service clients and certainly will take me away from spending any time trying to drive Microsoft sales. 

 

I fully expect my Microsoft business to do nothing but decline year over year, because of this move.   While I'm just a little guy, the overall amount of Microsoft business I do has steadily increased over the 12+ years I've been a partner, and my skills in the overall Microsoft landscape have grown.    After this, I'll be using much less of the Microsoft products for my own day to day business needs, and I expect I'll spend a lot less time learing new Microsoft products and skills.   Of course the alternative products that I'll be taking on for my own business will likely start being offered to my clients that might be looking for less expensive alternatives.   

 

What I really fail to understand is how this move can possibly help Microsoft?   Are they simply hoping to squeeze additional revenue into their own bottom line by doing this?    Even if every partner switched to paying for all the Microsoft products they use IUR for now (Which I guarantee you they wont), how much difference can it actually make in the grand scheme of overall Microsoft profits?  Is it really enough to make it worth it to basically poison the whole partner program and give all partners that use these benefits the big middle finger?    I have to think this will go down as one of Microsoft's larger blunders, and its a shame because they seem to generally being making a lot of positive strides and have a pretty strong grasp on what the market needs, but I have to think this will be a big set back to the current trajectory.   

 

This is also just one more nail in the coffin for small business owners, its increasingly becoming too difficult to operate and compete with large multinational companies and large companies that tend to just swallow up all the competition around them. 

Level 1 Contributor

I agree with you 110%.  It kills the microsoft business for small companies and individual consultants.  It removes our life line and makes it impossible to compete with larger partners.  Microsoft will be creating a partner void that another competitor will have the chance to take advantage of in the near future.  It will not happen overnight, but it will happen.  My 15 years as a partner also saw a steady increase because of these benefits.  Now there will be no incentive to sell.  Having a couple big events each year only connects Microsoft with very large partners.  Cutting back on regional partner monthly on-line meetings to montly partner meeting on-line with everyone has put Microsoft out of touch with what is going on with the sales process.  It used to be a 2 way street, but now it is just a one way marketing push.