Microsoft recently wrapped up its annual Inspire conference in Washington, D.C. and the folks at AvePoint were there in full force. Hear what they have to say about developments at Inspire and what they mean for the Microsoft partner ecosystem moving forward.
Microsoft is now truly cloud consumption and partner solution-focused. With Microsoft’s “Build with,” “Market with,” and “Sell with” partner motions, as well as changes to Microsoft sellers’ compensation plans and realignment to industry verticals with customer success support, it’s now prime time for industry solutions partners to achieve joint wins with Microsoft in their Cloud.
Subscription-based business model realignment (vs. traditional enterprise license renewal in three-year cycles) means that partners (both SIS and ISV) and Microsoft are no longer competing for the same IT spend pie. The focus is on helping customers achieve innovation and business growth through digital transformation. Thus, with the introduction of Microsoft 365, the spending pie is now $4.5 trillion and growing.
Speaking of digital transformation, Microsoft’s 4 core digital transformation solutions – Modern workplace, Business applications, Applications and infrastructure, and Data & AI – aligns well to customers’ digital transformation requirements: Employee Empowerment, Customer Engagements, Operations Optimization, and Products Transformation. This is much more than just collaboration and productivity, and will help partners accelerate their businesses in enabling our enterprise customers to achieve fundamental business transformation.
At Inspire, I anticipated that Microsoft would discuss today’s market disruptions (cloud) and industry challenges (privacy), and I came away thrilled that Microsoft continues to innovate in broadening their underlying cloud offerings, changing their seller behaviors, and enriching their partner engagement models.
Microsoft is much more focused on partners through the One Commercial Partner organization. They are keen on building next generation solutions with partners, going to market with partners, and selling with partners. Microsoft will also streamline their offerings in 4 key areas:
- Modern Workplace
- Business Applications
- Data and AI
- Infrastructure and Devices
In addition, Microsoft will focus on selling industry solutions vs. horizontal technology solutions.
I was expecting that Microsoft would assure partners that there are a lot of opportunities to grow together moving forward – and indeed they have. Through the growing opportunities of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, there is a $4.5 trillion business opportunity that abounds for partners.
The new partner message from Microsoft is very loud and clear, which aligns well with AvePoint’s partner-led engagements and strategy. I am very excited to be focusing on a number of solution-based conversations with other partners.
It is very clear that the message is no longer about products and features. Customers need solutions to business problems, and that might involve a number of products in the background attacking those challenges.
I was expecting to connect with a number of Microsoft staff and Australian partners. This was definitely the case, and I made a number of new connections. The only downside was that I was not able to establish what our new Microsoft resources are, as this was yet to be established.
With its new One Commercial Partner organization, Microsoft is now perfectly shaped to leverage partner value and bring customers end-to-end integrated solutions.
I came to Inspire hoping to network and build business with Microsoft partners in French-speaking countries. The interest in AvePoint that I experienced was huge and sparked a great deal of new opportunities. Backup and data protection are high on Office 365 partners priorities, and I was happy to share how our cloud solutions can address these. Microsoft Inspire is definitely the place to be when you want to partner up and build end-to-end solutions for your customers!
Microsoft is placing a big focus on Dynamics 365 and re-organizing in a way that is more conducive to working with partners. AvePoint is well-aligned to move into Microsoft’s 2018 fiscal year with good strategic advantages.
I was expecting to connect in person with known partners and meet more. That is absolutely what happened! We made progress with some partners and Microsoft teams that I’m really optimistic will drive revenue for us in the coming year.
Microsoft has shifted their partner strategy to be very ISV friendly, which puts companies like AvePoint in a great position. There is a huge opportunity for us in the managed services space. Thousands of MSPs are the key to getting our technology consumed by small businesses. Microsoft is bundling together solutions (Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Business) to make it even easier for organizations to consume cloud services and have access to a more holistic cloud approach.
I was excited to learn more about the Microsoft reorganization, and learn how that would impact AvePoint. While I was hoping that it would be a positive change for AvePoint, the new strategy has exceeded my hopes for our future partnership and how we go to market together in the foreseeable future.
Co-selling will be key for our joint business and our growing partnership in the DACH region. The new One Commercial Partner Group and their 3 pillars will create more focus on joint solutions in the cloud business and strengthen the relationship.
My expectations for Inspire 2017 were to meet up with existing partners and try to build additional business. Besides that, I got to know new potential partners, new contacts within partners, and also got a deeper understanding of how we can strengthen different contacts at Microsoft to get more out of our relationship and joint cloud business.
We were able to build great connections with existing and new partners. I was a fan of the positive changes Microsoft has made internally to better the relationships with their partners, ISVs, etc. I was expecting some exciting meetings with partners and Microsoft, but everything was truly exceeded, especially in my case where we left the event with one very big partnership agreement with a global LSP. It was interesting to see the difference between last year and this year, to see how far we have come from when we started this journey in LATAM exactly one year ago, and where we are now.
I met some exceptional partners who will help drive our channel business, and made valuable introductions with other Microsoft ISV Partners who can leverage AvePoint’s platform to add more value to their offerings. I also had some fantastic Microsoft executive meetings that have set the stage for our FY18 planning and integrated success.
Every year I go into Inspire with a number of objectives, and per usual, they were exceeded! Regardless of whether it was Microsoft Executive meetings or with other ISV or SI Partners, we now have more opportunity to drive our business forward in the coming year. Fantastic success!