There is strength in our numbers. At no time was that more evident than at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Los Angeles a few short weeks ago. It’s the foundation upon which the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) is premised: Microsoft and our valued partners are collectively better able to win together in the marketplace than we are individually.

Many of you shared with me that WPC 2011 provided unprecedented opportunities for learning, connecting, and strategizing for the future of your businesses. We went into the Conference confident that it would be more effective and exciting than ever, and according to you, we exceeded expectations with content and events like:
  • Sunday’s “Day of Giving,” benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the Magic Johnson Foundation;
  • Keynotes from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who detailed some major corporate developments and tipped his hat to the critical relationships between Microsoft and our partner network, and Virgin founder and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who inspired us all with his entrepreneurial journey and commitment to innovation;
  • The many dynamic sessions in the U.S. Track, which were exceptionally well-attended and well-reviewed;
  • The U.S. Party, which was described as a high-energy, extraordinarily fun time with a great vibe;
  • Exciting first-time opportunities, including a Conference track devoted to SMBs, and WPC’s Minority Networking Event.
Since the Conference, partners have also been telling us about their remarkable experiences while at WPC. Here are examples of the positive feedback we’ve received.
  • From a first-time attendee: “Attending the Worldwide Partner Conference for the first time provided Metafile the opportunity to experience the great diversity within the Microsoft ecosystem,” said Steve Gregory, Metafile partner channel manager. “It was exciting to hear the consistent and strong focus on the evolution of cloud computing in discussions with other partners or hearing it directly from key Microsoft leaders. These messages reinforced the significance of cloud throughout the partner channel, as well as within the Dynamics community.”
  • From a Los Angeles-based attendee: “Worldwide Partner Conference was an exceptional opportunity to work together with the Microsoft team to create actionable plans to drive business in FY12,” said Aaron Sloman, GM for Perficient’s Microsoft National Business Unit. “Having the conference in our own backyard afforded our team the ability to have more attendees and make more connections between Perficient and Microsoft that we may not have had the chance to make otherwise. Perficient is excited for another amazing year with Microsoft, and WPC was the perfect kick off to our year.”
In my meetings with partners at WPC, I learned about their visions and objectives for the upcoming year in the areas of cloud computing and other business productivity solutions. I will use that input to continue to shape Microsoft’s partner initiatives this year. We hope that WPC offered you access to and information about resources that allow you to deepen revenue streams and customer relationships, particularly in cloud-based offerings.
WPC is more than just a “networking event.” It is a critical yearly touch point that drives MPN’s success. Simply put, we win together when we get together. Through MPN, successful partners bring together the complete set of skills and solutions required to solve complex business problems. You are Microsoft’s competitive differentiator.
To extend the dialogue we began at WPC, I look forward to our continued engagement throughout the year. Please visit this blog regularly for the latest MPN developments, and feel free to engage with me directly through Twitter, @Jenni_Flinders. I want to keep hearing from you so that we all win together in the coming year!
Jenni Flinders
Microsoft Vice President, U.S. Partner Strategy and Programs​