Microsoft partners never cease to impress me. I recently returned to Redmond from partner visits across Western and Central Europe, and I can tell you that partners there are finding unique and inspiring ways to transform their business to meet customer needs in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

In every city I visited on this trip (Prague, Budapest, London, Manchester, Munich and Madrid), local Microsoft teams helped me understand thoroughly the momentum in the market, the accelerants and blockers to partner success, and how Microsoft can make it less expensive and more valuable and easier for partners to do business with us. We made some good progress in each country, particularly around cloud enablement.
The peak teaching moment of every trip for me is meeting with partners who are transforming their business with incredible innovation. There was no shortage of such partners on this trip, but I thought I’d highlight a couple of partners you might find interesting, as you look out into the future of your own business.
It was a thrill to meet with and welcome a new partner into the Microsoft ecosystem. Tanja Krüger, the founder and general manager of Resolto Informatik GmbH, is a computer scientist with deep ties to German universities and engineering consortiums.
She founded Resolto in 2003 in Herford, Germany, and built a company of 25 experienced scientists and developers, most of them originating from the field of bioinformatics.
The core of Resolto’s success with customers is putting their data to good use. Mid to large-sized companies turn to Resolto’s expertise in data to run more efficiently through things like predictive maintenance, condition monitoring and energy efficiency optimization. Their “big data platform” of intelligent algorithms for smart monitoring, machine learning, predictive analytics and dynamic optimization was impressive, to say the least.
Resolto also provides the only 3D product configurator that runs in every browser and on any mobile device without proprietary plugins or installations, allowing global players to enable their employees and customers to assemble complex product portfolios easily, from anywhere and at any time.
Tanja took an interest in Microsoft Azure to team with this state of the art configurator because Azure enables it to perform at its best and offers companies a flexible and highly reliable platform with intercontinental scaling. A warm welcome to Resolto, and I look for big things from them.
In the UK, partners and I talked a lot about the importance of “selling right” in the cloud. This means truly focusing on all of the potential needs of the customer, from project management to end user training to ongoing customer lifecycle management. Having a deployment plan with the customer at the time of sale will increase end user adoption and bring more value to the customer faster. We talked about how a partner’s own intellectual property (IP) or repeatable methodologies represent the greatest differentiator and generate the most profitability. I discussed with these partners the investments and incentives Microsoft makes available to ensure these high value sales efforts are rewarded. For Azure, it’s a little different in that each solution has differing customer consumption patterns. We talked about Microsoft providing partners more clarity on which they should focus on.
It was an especially exciting time in Spain, as Microsoft is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. I had the opportunity to talk to many partners at the Spain Partner Forum – the energy and passion these men and women have for technology and their customers reminded me once again how impactful our partners are to the work and lives of people in their communities.
One particularly impressive partner in Spain is ODM. They are a gold competency partner in Datacenter, and hold seven silver competencies, three of which are our new performance-based cloud competencies. What a terrific transformation story. In 2011, their senior leadership made a strategic bet on cloud. They spent the next three years transforming staff and hiring for the future. During that time they also achieved 100 percent Sales, Pre-sales & IT Pro certification, and they completely re-defined their value proposition and demand generation. They also started running their own business on Microsoft’s cloud stack. With all of their hard work in place, ODM re-branded their company around their cloud capabilities. The leadership team knew this transformation would take deep investments of time and money to succeed, and I was impressed that they stayed true to their vision to emerge successfully.
How successful? ODM showed outstanding growth in 2014, with Office 365 up 110 percent, Azure up 103 percent and forecasted growth in CRM Online at 35 percent for FY15. They are also expanding internationally into other markets in Europe and North America. Their new business model made that happen. Congratulations to ODM! Your vision and perseverance (and a good dose of customer demand) are fine examples of transforming business for the future. 
I’m so pleased to see our partners win by doing what they love and working with Microsoft technologies. It inspires my team at the Worldwide Partner Group to work harder every day to help partners spend more time focused on the core of their success.
I’ll be back on the road in November, and I can’t wait to meet with more of our partners around the world.