Looking back 12 months, no-one had any idea about the sort of year that lay ahead, I know I didn’t when I took on this role. Now as I take a moment to reflect, I’m struck once again by the immense impact that our partners have had, particularly in terms of supporting customers through the challenges of COVID-19. 

My sincere thanks to you for stepping up to the plate to support customers, one another, and to work with Microsoft – together we have achieved some incredible things over the last year. 

Our CEO Satya Nadella recently noted that we have seen two years of transformation in two months – and a great deal of that is because of the support we have had from our incredible partner ecosystem – so thank you. 

As we kick off FY21 I wanted to stress how important it is to me and to Microsoft to continue building our high calibre partner ecosystem to lead Australia’s digital transformation. We want to work with you to build capability, to boost performance and also understand and defuse any blockers so that you can continue building your best business. 

Working together, we can ensure customers have the best solutions, we can grow revenues, we can help you unlock the IP in the solutions you have created and make that accessible through Marketplace, streamlining your access to the 100+ global markets where we operate. 

Inspire and grow 

As we enter FY21, one thing I’d like to draw your attention to in particular is Microsoft Inspire – our free, virtual event on 22 and 23 July in the local timezone. Registrations are open now and the session schedule– which includes sessions with Satya Nadella, Gavriella Schuster and Brad Smith – will be released soon. 

Inspire is a great way to develop and nurture strong relationships with Microsoft and one another – and we will have a local Inspire virtual experience and forum precisely for that purpose.  

Inspire will also be our opportunity to celebrate our local winners for the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards. I was blown away by the more than 100 nominations we received. The work you are doing and the impact you are having for customers shines through those nominations – so thank you for that. 

Working together over the coming 12 months I believe we can build on this year’s success and progress to even greater things. 

One of my focus areas for the next year will be to help build capacity and skills in the partner ecosystem. I’m a Queenslander – so I am particularly thrilled to be able to announce that we are expanding our Microsoft Traineeship Program to Queensland and Western Australia. The program combines a TAFE Certificate IV in IT and a set of Microsoft Azure certifications with paid work experience​. 

We are now supporting over 100 trainees in 50 organisations and we will be introducing new cohorts in Queensland, WA, NSW, ACT, and Victoria this September and in February 2021. This initiative really helps people kickstart their IT careers and is especially important to those who traditionally have been under-represented in our industry – women, Indigenous and culturally diverse people. I really encourage you to get involved with the Traineeship Program – it’s a great way of accessing skilled people and nurturing highly motivated talent for your business. 

The expansion of the Microsoft Traineeship is just one way we are continuing to build skills and invest in our partner ecosystem.  

Our commitment to R&D is unparalleled in the industry and this combined with ongoing investment in technology – particularly our three clouds, Azure, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365-  is what underpins all of our digital transformation success, while our global scale supports customers worldwide and helps you to grow your business internationally. 

We want to work with you over the coming year on the high-quality value-added services that you develop for customers – both small business and enterprise – and help to identify the repeatable IP that you can use to build your business in Australia and around the world. The Microsoft Marketplace is increasingly a critical go-to for tens of thousands of global customers, and a way to help partners turbo charge your growth. 

We talk a lot about accelerating co-selling – about working together for the benefit of our shared customers. That’s all about collaborating – bringing our people and expertise together for the best outcomes – empowering every person, every organisation to do more. 

Rachel Bondi 
Chief Partner Officer
Microsoft Australia