One of the best parts of my job is meeting our partners near and far, returning with incredible experiences and unique insights. Recent travels took me to Latin America where I was able to meet with partners in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. I always enjoy meeting with our partners from Latin America, and it was truly enlightening to get their perspective on our industry’s transformation. While some of the topics we engaged in are specific to the region, many are relevant to our partner network as a whole, and I’d like to share some of their insights with you.
IAMCP Colombia. One of the stops through my tour included meeting with the Board of Directors (BOD) of The International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) in Colombia. This is a forum where dedicated members come together in open discussion to create improvements, conceive business ideas, and build on industry standards. The joint efforts of the BOD and Microsoft honed in on helping partners progress in their cloud transformation journey. On a key area to business growth, they shared progress on how they have been helping build more local capacity around some of the most in-demand solution areas. It was great to see the results they are driving through the following programs:
P2P Connections: The significance and need to create more ways to provide a solid Partner to Partner (P2P) connection that helps partners expand practices and develop differentiation in business took on new shape. By building a bridge between companies to innovate on their unique services and solutions to create new offerings, P2P interaction is one of the biggest accelerators in cloud transformation. The local IAMCP is deeply committed to this and is working to facilitate this by driving specific workshops that continue to grow by the week.
Education in IT professionals: It’s no secret that one of the assets tougher to acquire in our modern industry is qualified talent. The IAMCP and Microsoft Colombia have developed a self-sustainable program with one of the most recognized education institutions in Colombia to help build an ongoing IT professionals certification and Elite School Project focusing on Big Data, Dynamics, Collaboration, just to name a few. To encourage discovery and hiring, the program affords direct placement into participating IAMCP organizations.
IP as a Key to Partner Profitability. Another center-stage topic in many partner meetings was the importance of creating first party intellectual property (IP). You’ve heard me, successful partners, and industry analysts discuss this as a key differentiator to increase company valuation and profitability. Through this region, it was apparent that local partners have taken this concept as a real generator to their business success and were already driving success through their IP offerings. Here are a few examples of inspiring partners I met with who have harnessed the opportunities that IP offers on top of cloud innovation.
Vision SW: As an LSP, Vision SW realized the need to embrace the cloud, as their current resell model would not enable them to meet their aspirations for growth by itself in the years to come. They decided to embark on a journey to build a business for the future, not only to diversify, but to serve customers with innovative solutions that transcend geographical borders. Currently, they have a services division that actively participates in the new IT economy, and are gaining positive advantages to the bottom line in their business. With their on-premises solution known as ‘Bisagi’ (Business Agility), Vision SW is now actively transitioning Bisagi to the cloud. They are leveraging their IP through services built on Azure, as a result of their need to accelerate an elastic solution to help scale their solution to serve customers across the world.
Shopperception: Founded in 2013, Shopperception has offices in the United States and Argentina, with a growing worldwide base of customers across four continents. From a solution that evolved from the BizSpark program, and by creating a technology based on Kinect Sensors running on Azure, they have helped retailers and manufacturers to capture real-time shopping interactions between customers and products. This technology provides insights on how to optimize their business through shelf performance, change testing, lost shopper experiences, ROI measurement in advertising and informs directly at the point of sale.
MTM: Specializing in mobility, their two main focus areas are in Health (spanning hospital, doctors, patients and staff) and Field Automation (planning, execution, and workflow) through mobile devices running applications on Azure platform. Although this company is headquartered in Brazil, they provide innovative solutions to local and international enterprise institutions.
Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP). Another topic that came up in many conversations was the Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP) introduced during last year’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington D.C. This program presents a unique opportunity for partners to expand their cloud services at scale. It was a topic in virtually every meeting, throughout keynotes, roundtables, and specific 1:1 meetings with partners. Many companies are already working to take full advantage of this market opportunity as they move to the cloud. I was impressed by the level of excitement around this topic, and I was equally enthusiastic to share our offerings through this program, which focus on building profitable businesses. If you don’t know about the CSP program, you can learn more on the Microsoft Partner Network.
We have a unique opportunity here to expand Microsoft’s cloud services, and the energy and commitment is a big part of the impact as we continue to expand our markets where CSP is available. With the market embracing the Microsoft Cloud Solutions, and the partners benefitting from this delivery model, I see a very bright future for cloud in the Latin American region.
In all, this trip yielded great insights to bring back to Microsoft, which will help further inform our offerings and roadmap. Partner feedback also helps me refine my thoughts and influences the work our teams do. We are readily building on our partners’ needs learned from their feedback, and we are getting ready to roll out our latest developments at our biggest partner event of the year: Worldwide Partner Conference in July. It’s inspiring to see how the Microsoft partner ecosystem is evolving and how new partnerships are forming with partners we haven’t traditionally worked with to create new solutions for our customers.
I always look forward to meeting with our partners and learning more about our collective experiences. Whether it’s during my upcoming trips or one of the many other ways we stay connected, keeping an open dialogue is the foundation of our relationship. My team and I will keep working hard toward our success, communicate often, and empower shared opportunities with a focus on growth and profitability.
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