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Level 6 Contributor

With Microsoft Your Customer is Your Partner and vice-versa

In the new model for The OCP group at Microsoft there is a shift in the way Microsoft field reps get paid. And, this can be a VERY good thing for partners.

And, in a shift ... for customers too.

Microsoft wants to take Partner IP, Customer IP, and Microsoft IP ... then put it all together and commercialize it.

Sound Interesting? 

What if I told you that Microsoft wants to help you sell your internal solutions?

Meaning, your intellectual property that your IT teams, your research & development teams, your financial teams, your manufacturing teams, and any other departments have created.

Not just with partnering organizations, but also with customers.

Well, guess what?

They do!


Microsoft Beyond IT

Most of us that have been in the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem for any period of time know that traditionally Microsoft has sold to the Information Technology (IT) department. They didn’t talk to the other parts of the business. That’s changing.

With XaaS that’s not possible anymore.

Speed is of the Essence.

Microsoft Knows That “Time is Precious” and “Billable” 
via Stev Rubio of Intuit


We can’t spend the next five years paving the cow path with yesterday’s processes

We can’t even spend the next one year doing that.

It needs to happen now.

The faster trains are leaving the station.

No longer is the $1B business good enough. 
This is a $20T opportunity.

As I wrote about in the somewhat cryptically named The POTF is intertwined with The COTF  there is a need to understand and appreciate that the market is moving fast. Scale is going to be the secret to get there. Speed is the other factor.

While you may have a 100 year plan you will need to be read to adapt to the zigs and zags.

What’s Microsoft Saying about it?

Gavriella said this with an infographic and a spot on quote in on the MPN blog.

Unprecedented digital transformation opportunity

$20 trillion. With a T.

In the above post from the Microsoft Partner Network it speaks mostly about partners.

In another article from Forbes that profiled Gavriella Schuster spoke more about the customer engagement opportunity. Given this is relatively new idea for most at Microsoft and will take time (not much time … as noted in the article … incentives are in place today and already working).

Why Now Microsoft?

It’s simple … it’s a classic First Movereffort.

Microsoft is betting on being early. (Which hasn’t always Microsoft’s model)

Microsoft is betting that those who don’t seize the opportunities will fall behind and may find never be able to catch up.

Which prompts the question … Are you in?


Key Point: 
You don’t need to be the surgeon to make things happen.

Surgeons have support teams. The support teams are much larger that the “thing” they are supporting. I’m not disparaging surgeons or any other highly visible role – whether it’s a CEO, professional athlete or performer, or other “lead” characters. I’m just saying that the bigger the lead the bigger the support team. There is a lot of work to be done and, to be candid, a lot of money to be made in “support” roles.

The Surgeons AND Administrators Analogy (via Harry Brelsford)

Many of us want to be The Surgeon … the tip of the spear … saving lives every day.

However, the surgeon is nothing without the organization behind them. Scheduling, sterilizing, and supporting the surgical effort.

In a sense … everyone can be a surgeon … at least more often … by using the cloud and by working with partners. By sharing their best IP everyone can contribute their best to the quest.

Some partner(s) will be expert at scheduling and running the facilities (not to mention building said facilities) while others will be experts at the logistics to keep it running smoothly. There is a lot of room for Surgeons and Administrators

Key Point Corollary: 
Everyone can be The Surgeon

imageWhere lifestyle Businesses meet growth businesses

It’s time to embrace partnership with a child like vigor.

It’s time to be the partner (or customer) you want to be.

It’s time to consider working more with Microsoft to get your IP out in the world.

It’s time to be compensated for your great work … beyond your four walls.

It doesn’t matter what “type” of business you want to be. If you have IP … you can partner.

One Throat to Choke

This is an old line from my early days at Microsoft. Except it was used against us from the likes of Sun, IBM, Oracle, and other large monolithic players. Now it’s Microsoft’s turn to take that line and use it to help customers, partners, and yes … themselves.

A collection of best of breed solutions can often be better and more flexible that a single monolithic platform. The rise of cloud computing and the adoption of XaaS makes this more of a reality. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better. Microsoft wants to help make this more possible with the ability to pull IP --- and I mean IP in the broadest sense of Intellectual Property of People, Processes, and Technologies.

Microsoft wants to make it possible to being smaller vendors with their IP into the mix. Note: this could be a division or group of people within a Global 2000 company.

  • What value does a small vendor bring to the table?
  • What does a customer bring to the table? 
    In a sense a customer is like a small vendor with a few specific offerings … to start.

This is where the BIG play comes in. Microsoft is betting on the fact that a collection of inter-connected partners can help each other AND help bring customers IP to life.

And, as Gavriella Schuster mentioned … this is not a 100% altruistic effort. Microsoft wants customers and partners to build solutions on Azure and to consume Office 365 and/or Dynamics 365 products and services. No one should be surprised about this.

Microsoft wants to embrace you … the customer. Are you ready?

And, make ‘em earn it. Microsoft is new to this. Microsoft has to earn your business.

I’m not suggesting you make it hard for them. In fact, I’m advocating just the opposite.

If you have a great idea … Microsoft will help you get it to market.

Caveat: This is NOT a lifelong commitment. You MUST continue to deliver … and vice-versa.

Which brings us back to the question … Are you in?

And, what will you build?


Follow on posts will explore more about this new model for Microsoft. In the meantime please let me know your thoughts and if you would like to collaborate on ideas. This market is huge. This is just the beginning. Time is of the essence.

Image Credits: Microsoft

linkedinportrait-1444 (1 third smaller) from 3000 to 2000
Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2.

Connect with me on Twitter @jshuey

Or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+

He is a contributing author to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to
the Personal Branding Blog with over 250 articles published.


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Great contribution! It's very interesting how now Microsoft is supporting a heatlhy cycle of business building in which, as you mentioned, we are both partners and customers. This helps partners to create a win - win relationship and generates businesses. M'Ready is on board with this new ways of Microsoft and is happy to build a community as a partner and customer.

Level 6 Contributor

Great point Jeff, you are absolutely true. Partners and customers must complement one another like two sides of a single coin. What makes their IP valuable is not only their technology, their resources and processes but equally the quality of their relationship. The most interesting asset an entity can have whether it is a partner or a customer is its reputation and  notoriety vis à vis the entire ecosystem.