It’s about time: make your customer the hub of user-centric tech
When I’m trying to make it to my son’s drum lesson, the efficiency of Modern Attachments makes it easier to get out of the office on time.
And when I’m caught up in a great conversation with my team and have lost track of time, Cortana reminds me that I’ll need to leave now if I want to make it to my meeting on the other side of campus.
In little ways like this, and big ways, technology is changing what it means to be productive and how we live our lives.

The most important part of any tool, platform, or service is the person using it.
At the recent Windows 10 devices briefing our CEO, Satya Nadella, made it clear: focusing on the person at the center of technology is essential to re-envisioning and improving it.
I couldn’t agree more.
As I think about what that means, the implications are widespread. What it means is that the lines between our personal and professional lives have blurred. Technology and solutions that once fit cleanly within one experience or another now have to work harder to fit into both.
For partners, that means you can’t just think about creating a great point solution anymore, you must understand your customers’ businesses, their needs, and how the people within the companies will use it.

The time is now.
I am inspired by this new approach and by the ways I know our partners can help customers transform the way they do business. Navigating the change and taking full advantage of the innovation and opportunity can feel complex and overwhelming to some customers.
Your customers have questions:
  • “My employees work from home – how can you help me provide smooth, seamless access to SharePoint sites and collaboration engines so they can stay productive?”
  • “How do I make sure our data is secure when my employees use their own devices to send emails and share documents?”
  • “How do I know which products and services I need and where to start once I decide?”
But that is where partners, as trusted advisors, really shine. Now is the time for you to showcase your creativity in building solutions and your expertise in helping customers navigate a new era in technology.
It’s time to create. In just ten weeks, the impact of Windows 10 has already been enormous. There is huge opportunity to create solutions that span devices and experiences and dramatically improve productivity. Building applications and creating solutions that make life easier for users, and help your customers harness technology to make a greater impact, are key.
Some great examples I’ve seen in our partner ecosystem:
  • One partner, Artis, worked with their customer, Ziosk, to create a tablet-based solution that restaurants can use to innovate the diner experience, and leverage data that is gathered to improve how the restaurant operates.
  • Another partner, Avalara, developed a tax automation solution that takes away some of the complexity and pain many of their customers had when it came to figuring out their taxes.
It’s time to be the expert. Like all paradigm shifts, the rapid acceleration to new, more powerful technology is creating challenges that weren’t there before. Your customers can no longer ignore the need to be in, or at least moving to, the cloud if they want to stay ahead of their competition. They’re looking to you to help them understand the options and harness this power to be more productive.
I’ve also seen many partners do this well:
  • One such partner, ProServeIT, who focuses on “Keeping it personal” and making sure that they advise their customers to buy the technology that they actually need and help advise them on how to move to the cloud in a way that makes sense to their business.
  • Another partner, PSC, who uses the hybrid cloud model with their customers, breaking up their transition into smaller, ongoing projects to make it more manageable.
Productivity is about so much more than just helping customers get their work done. As Satya said, at Microsoft, we approach our work every day focused on learning about people’s aspirations and how technology can help them realize their true potential. That is exactly what our most successful partners do with their customers as well.
During this exciting time, technology is helping us to reimagine productivity, and I believe the possibilities for your business are as unlimited as your own innovation.