Hello partners!

 
It’s been a busy couple of months since WPC 2013. Last month, I attended the Australia Partner Conference in Cairns, Australia where I experienced firsthand the high levels of partner engagement that has inspired me to think about how we can continue to reimagine the WPC experience.  I know that profitability, innovation, and staying ahead of “what’s next” is top-of-mind for you. I know that what you need to hear are new ways to take on the competition and seize new opportunities. The APAC Conference demonstrated the continued need for partners to have face-to-face connections with one another and with their local Microsoft office. The conference’s Hub layout, which was similar to the Commons at WPC 2013, buzzed with energy and productive partner-to-partner interactions throughout the event.
 
I talked to some of these partners about their priorities and areas of focus. As we hone our “compete to win” strategy in FY14, APAC partners provided us with valuable insight related to the cloud, questions about the future of business model evolution, and competition from AWS and Google.
 
The cloud comprised much of the discussion at WPC 2013, and it continues to be a top topic around the world. At the APAC Conference, the message centered on the inevitable transition to the cloud as partners figure out how to drive profitability by becoming cloud-oriented. It’s not a question of “if” anymore: the results of the IDC Study reinforce the advantages to business growth by moving to the cloud, so the question becomes simply when and how partners can make the shift.
 
The IDC Study is entering its second phase, which, along with more information about the best ways to move to the cloud, will provide more insight on the evolution of business models, from Project Services to Managed Services to IP Services. Partners are all looking forward to in-depth guidance and insight on the journey to transform the traditional business model.
 
Microsoft services are competing strongly and partners realize that the best IT solutions are built on Microsoft platforms. According to the insight into the hybrid cloud we received from the IDC Study, Azure provides greater opportunity for partners than AWS, and Microsoft is expanding its capability to improve the Azure experience. Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solution is taking hold as a preferred alternative to Google, and we are committed to helping partners compete in FY14.
 
The International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) continues to be a beacon of support for members of the Microsoft Partner community. Partner engagement with the IAMCP has enhanced communication and driven support of Microsoft’s robust content offerings this year. Membership for the IAMCP chapter in Australia has doubled! This increase comes from a strong partnership with Microsoft, including consistent alignment with Microsoft’s future strategy.
 
Partner conferences as a whole provide incredible forums for feedback that truly allow the Microsoft Partner ecosystem to evolve. I am excited about the approach we are taking this year to respond to partner needs and feedback as we prepare for WPC 2014. We are working on improving all aspects of the conference to make it even more valuable for partners by providing deeper content and more insight around Microsoft’s roadmap for the future. Our sessions this year will continue to expand on our four pillars, including Cloud, Mobility, Big Data, and Enterprise Social. Take a look at Digital WPC to see highlights from WPC 2013, to stay connected and well-informed about the roadmap, and register for WPC 2014.
 
Best,
Kati