The Record - Issue 9: Summer 2018

34 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om I NT E R V I EW At last year’s Inspire event, Microsoft announced major changes to the way it is working with partners. In an exclusive interview with The Record , Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner organisation, tells us more about these changes and explains the opportunities that will be presented in the coming financial year Partnering for success BY ANDY C L AY TON - SM I TH Last July, Microsoft made some big, bold changes to how it works with partners. Tell us about those changes and why they were made. Last year, we set out to make dramatic changes. At Inspire, we introduced the One Commercial Partner organisation, and transformed how we engage with our partner community by bringing all of our partner facing roles into one organisa- tion. We aligned all of those partner facing roles to three motions: build-with; go-to-market; and sell-with. This has simplified our partner engage- ment, driven increased collaboration and fostered a culture of work that puts our partners first. As part of the sell-with motion, we introduced a new role called the channel manager. This role has strengthened the relationship between Microsoft field sellers and the selling teams of our partners. The channel manager role has proven to be invaluable. We have seen some remarkable success this year generating more than 240,000 leads and opportunities for partners. We also introduced rewards for co-selling third-party solutions from our partners. From that we have closed nearly US$2 billion in reve- nue for our partners inmore than 8,000 customer wins. We intend to continue this programme and expand our co-sell motion even further next year with enhancements to our marketplaces – AppSource and Azure Marketplace. We will also start facilitating opportunities for partners to co-sell with each other. How are you helping partners to reach more customers? The top request that partners have made of us is to better connect them to customers. Helping partners take the solutions they’ve built tomarket and reach more customers will be a significant focus for us going forward. The marketplaces are one way we’re doing that, and both AppSource and Azure Marketplace now allow partners to publish both apps and services as offerings. In addition, we have a referrals engine in place that makes it easier for customers to find a Microsoft partner with a solution that meets their needs. Over the past few years, we’ve made available marketing and sales content and customisable assets that a lot of partners have found valuable, and now we’re making go-to-market services available to partners to better enable demand generation, channel development and more. We’ve made these moves because we cannot serve our customers without partners. Our part- ners continue to be a critical ingredient in our business model. Microsoft is squarely focused on enabling partners of all types to deliver services around the world on any platform. This open and cloud-focused approach allows us to provide more value and more choice to customers in four solution areas: Modern Workplace; Business Applications; Apps & Infrastructure; and Data & Artificial Intelligence. Through these changes, we want to help partners innovate more, go to market faster and connect with the right cus- tomers at the right time. Five years ago at the LeWeb Conference in Paris, Satya Nadella said: “Over the next ten years, we’ll reach a point where nearly everything has become digitised.” At the halfway point between prediction and outcome, how do you think Nadella’s quote holds up to scrutiny? Where do you think that Microsoft is leading the way with this digital transformation agenda? For Microsoft and our partners, digital transformation is more than a trend; it’s a new way of life. The opportunity around