Since introducing the concept of “winning together” at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July, I’ve received great feedback from partners, indicating that many of you are eager to share business successes within and throughout the partner community. I understand that putting this vision into practice may seem daunting in light of economic realities that may create barriers to collaboration and cross-selling. As the field of technology solutions providers grows, your individual market share grows smaller. As customers demand more for less, many of you must compete on price, yet offer less value in order to stay profitable.
As all of this continues to play out, someone loses in order for someone else to gain. It’s a practical balancing act over which we don’t have control, but it’s just as important that we focus on what we can control: our commitment to community. If we focus on winning together as a network, we can realize even greater individual successes.
A critical aspect of “winning together” is collaboration between Microsoft partners, where you leverage each other’s diverse strengths to solve increasingly complex customer problems. I encourage you to view the Microsoft Partner Network through a new lens, and recognize opportunities that are right in front of you–and very much in your control:
Evaluate and approach other Microsoft Partner Network members as business partners, not competitors. Just as you rely on Microsoft as a resource for knowledge, training, and products that help you offer customer solutions, look within the member base for resources that help you win and grow business. Partners who build relationships and initiate co-bids with other partners often find those opportunities are reciprocated in the future.
Lead with your core competencies. The Partner Network is not an environment where every business is an island, so there’s no pressure to be everything to everyone. Our most successful partners are strategic about their positioning and plainly define what they do, as well as what they do not do. Focus on what you do better than anyone and enlist a partner who specializes in a complementary solution to completely satisfy a customer’s IT needs.
The coordinated effort of Microsoft Partner Network members QuickStart, Softchoice, and Prosum is a shining example of “winning together.” They jointly persuaded an “on-the-fence” Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) client to renew. Talk about real partnership: training dialogue between QuickStart and the client expanded to include Softchoice and Prosum regarding deployment and EA benefits issues. As a result, the client not only renewed its EA but has sent its employees to Microsoft Official Curriculum courses and implemented some of the latest versions of Microsoft products and technologies.
Yes, the marketplace is tough right now, but your support and success within the Partner Network need not be. Partner organizations like the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) and HTG provide opportunities to connect and useful information about how Microsoft partners can share greater business benefits when working as, quite simply, partners.
I want to hear about your successes partnering with other Microsoft Partner Network members. You can share them with me on Twitter (@Jenni_Flinders), or send me an email at partnerQ@microsoft.com.
Microsoft Vice President, U.S. Partner Strategy and Programs