The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

30 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om E X E CUT I V E I NT E R V I EW T he global impact of Covid-19 has effec- tively changed the way in which we all live our lives and drive our businesses. What has Microsoft’s reaction been to this interna- tional crisis and where do you think the corpo- ration is adding the greatest value? Covid-19 has impacted the lives of people around the world and its long-termeffects will continue to evolve, but Microsoft’s focus remains constant. We are working around the clock to ensure the safety of our employees, striving to protect the health and well-being of the communities in which we operate, and providing technology and resources to our partners and customers to help them do their best work while remote. Right now, I think the greatest value Microsoft offers is the ability to facilitate connections during this difficult time – not only between families, friends, co-workers, teachers, students, doctors and patients, but also on a larger scale. We can bring together our extensive ecosystem of partners to offer tools and resources that enable these organisations to build digital capabilities that address the challenges the world is currently facing. Fortuitously, many of the solutions we have been building with our partners over the last 12 months have become the solutions that our customers need most – secure, remote work and business continuity solutions. Whilst responding to the current situation, many organisations will need to continue deliv- ering core services and solutions in the same way as before. Retail supply chains still need to feed communities, telcos must deliver broad- band to remote workers, and utility companies have a duty to keep the lights on. The partner ecosystem also needs to play a part here, so how is Microsoft working with its partners to enable a ‘business as usual’ approach where possible? We have been carefully considering how our programmes can best serve our partners, as this situation evolves. We understand that some partners may want to accelerate their pace, while other may want to slow things down. In either case, what is most important is that we are listen- ing to their feedback and offering partners the support they need to stay up and running today, while also positioning them for success in the months and years ahead. At the start of the pandemic, I outlined resources and programme updates to help partners navigate the Covid-19 world. We have several new offers available for partners to pass along to both exist- ing and new customers. We’ve also increased some partner incentives and have extended dates for competency and specialisations to help them weather the storm. Another important adjustment we’re making is with our partner training, examination and certi- fication programmes. For added flexibility, we’re moving hundreds of in-person technical training sessions to virtual platforms so that partners can take advantage of any downtime they may have now to continue to receive specialised train- ing. We’re also increasing the number of digital testing centres, waiving rescheduling fees, and extending examination voucher expiration dates in an effort to provide some stability during this challenging time. Froma broader perspective, Microsoft is actively monitoring performance and usage trends 24/7 to ensure we are optimising our services for Corporate vice president of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner organisation Gavriella Schuster tells us how she has been adapting to the new way to work, and what Microsoft is doing to help its partners and customers Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ BY ANDY C L AY TON - SM I TH