Microsoft’s Rachel Braunstein Gives Insight into the Microsoft Partner Network [Video Interview]

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    Being a partner with Microsoft gives any independent service vendor (ISV) a very important layer of street cred. Having a partnership with Microsoft that corresponds with the type of solutions the vendor develops is an easy way for customers to identify just how reliable or premium their products are. For example, at AvePoint we’re a Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Development, Cloud Platform, and Collaboration and Content—sensible partnerships for us to go after since we develop applications that help migrate, manage, and protect Office 365 and SharePoint.

    But what does it really mean to be a partner, and what is it that really goes on between Microsoft and a partner ISV?

    I spoke with Rachel Braunstein, Partner Marketing Manager on the Microsoft Partner Network, to learn more about the partner ecosystem and what it is she and her team does to grow relationships between Microsoft, vendors, and customers.

    Join us for a Live Q&A on Lessons Learned at Ignite 2016!

    Rachel Braunstein

    More from Dux Quax:

    Video Transcript: Dux Raymond Sy (@meetdux) and Rachel Braunstein (@rkbraunstein)

    Dux: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Dux Quax here at Microsoft Ignite. The fun just never stops. With me is Rachel. Rachel, why don’t you introduce yourself?

    Rachel Braunstein: Hey everybody, I’m Rachel Braunstein. I work with the Microsoft Partner Network doing digital marketing, in particular social media and some branding efforts. I’m really excited to be here.

    Dux: All right, Rachel, I know Microsoft is a partner-driven company but, elevator pitch, why is it important for everybody to know about the Microsoft Partner Network? What’s in it for them and why should they take advantage of the Microsoft Partner Network?

    Rachel Braunstein: Yeah. Well, as you know Microsoft is changing and digital transformation is well underway and our partners are absolutely leading the way. We’re seeing 120,000 Azure new subscriptions a month, year over year 45% growth in Office 365, the Greater Cloud Opportunity, $500 billion. And our partners and our customers are taking control over that. That’s out intention.

    So for us at the Microsoft Partner Network, it’s really about modernizing our partners and giving them the tools that they need. How do you differentiate your businesses, stand out in the midst of the crowd? How do you modernize your sales and marketing efforts so that you can talk to your customer? What do you need to do from operations? I mean all of that. That’s what we’re here to do.

    Dux: Boy, being a partner, I’ve taken advantage of a lot of resources and it’s interesting…a lot of partners, well they’re aware of the Partner Network. A lot of the resources are not being taken advantage of and I encourage everybody, if you’re a partner, check out MPN. There’s so much out there that can help you grow, especially in this day and age of the Cloud.

    Rachel Braunstein: Absolutely.

    Dux: Now, being the lead of social for MPN, what does a day look like for you? What’s a day in the life?

    Rachel Braunstein: A day’s busy. So for me social media includes LinkedIn. It includes Facebook. It includes Twitter. It includes blogging, YouTube, so video production, working with our partners. What really matters for me is bringing the partner voice in perspective to life. Not so much of Microsoft, but how can we tell the partner’s story and what they’re doing and struggling with, or their successes? And how can we use social media as a platform to tell people about that?

    Dux: Awesome, awesome. Now, speaking of platform and messaging and all that, what do you think of Ignite so far?

    Rachel Braunstein: Ignite is awesome. It’s our first time, Microsoft Partner Network, having a small, little booth here. Our big thing is the World Partner Conference where we’re kind of big men and women there, but here it’s really interesting to be around all the IT professionals and even for me, I don’t have all the technical skills, but being able to have that conversation of the technology and the business side, that’s the future and that’s where it’s going. So it’s been really, really cool to start those conversations here.

    Dux: And I think you talk about the transformation. The time is now, not only for customers, for partners as well.

    Rachel Braunstein: Yes.

    Dux: Because we’re seeing a lot of these innovations. Certainly a lot partners are moving to the Cloud, but all the new advanced workloads. Keynote yesterday, he talked about AI, machine learning, bots. I mean it’s just so much. Not only opportunities abound for customers to really transform their business, but for partners to help customers to transform the way they work.

    Rachel Braunstein: Absolutely. Absolutely.

    Rachel Braunstein

    Dux: Now, speaking of technology, before I let you go, if you are Microsoft product, what would you be and why, Rachel?

    Rachel Braunstein: Well, I love this question. I would want to be the HoloLens. At first when it came out, it seemed like a product that really wasn’t going to be tangible to a mass audience. In the beginning, doctors, some of the main examples that we had and the videos where doctors using them in a surgery room or students being able to touch a heart as they did it. But as we saw yesterday on stage, it is now something I can use.

    There is integration with Pinterest, Lowe’s and Microsoft, using the HoloLens to actually design your kitchen and that is something we could use tomorrow.

    Dux: I can imagine your next TV show on HGTV as “Remodel the HoloLens with Rachel.”

    Rachel Braunstein: I’m totally into it. But that’s really exciting that we can create a product that can have that breadth appeal at such a global level and actually make an impact in change and change with the world.

    Dux: On queue. What’s that song? “Change the World and Make It a Better Place.” Anyway, well, thank you, Rachel. I appreciate you representing us today, with the red.

    Rachel Braunstein: I’m in red.

    Dux: But hope you guys enjoyed this. We’ll see you in the next episode. Ciao.

    Rachel Braunstein: Thanks.

    What else did you miss at Ignite?

    Join our panel of experts for our Lessons Learned at Microsoft Ignite webinar to recap announcements from the conference and a deeper discussion about what it all means for you.

    microsoft ignite 2016 webinar

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