As I look forward to the Worldwide Partner Conference​ coming up in Toronto in July, I can’t help but look back on the transition we made to launch the Microsoft Partner Network.  In doing so, I’d like to share our team’s thinking about the continuing evolution of MPN and ask for some feedback from you, our amazing Partners.

 
In October 2010, we launched the Microsoft Partner Network.  While the name and the visual identity were new, one might argue that it was a natural evolution of the previous MSPP competency and subscription programs.  I support that view because our mantra around Microsoft channel strategy is focused on evolution not revolution to ensure our vast, critical partner ecosystem stays with us as Microsoft technology and customer needs evolve.   We’re not done however, as our business, customers, and the competition continue to shift and the pace of change continues to increase.   We must continue to evolve to not only stay relevant, but to help Partners get ahead of the curve as our technology lands in market.   We must always consider the impact we are driving with our partner ecosystem, as you are essential to our business, now and in the future.    
 
 
 
The Microsoft Partner Network is balancing these key principles:  (1) Evolve to stay relevant to and impactful with our customers,  (2) Be valuable to our partners and their needs to accelerate in the market, and (3) Drive ahead of our competition while creating positive Partner experiences in market.  With these principles in mind, here’s our view moving ahead via MPN:
 
 
 
Stay relevant to and impactful with our customers: 
 
Competencies reflect a partner practice’s readiness to actively go to market with Microsoft technology in a given solution area and customer base.  As we watch market trends and embed customer needs into our technology, we will evolve what surfaces as important and relevant in our competency model.  Windows 8 is a great example of an upcoming game changer where we will adjust our focus around devices and applications accordingly to ensure we tap into the customer demand out there in a scaled, quality manner.  We constantly monitor the partner capacity, capability and commitment we have by major channel business model to ensure we are holistically creating quality customer experiences at the depth and breadth we know we can with you.  We will announce some key updates to our SharePoint and ISV focused areas at WPC and look forward to partner feedback on these!
 
 
 
Helping Partners Accelerate: 
 
As you have noticed, we like to talk about the cloud – for good reason.  Microsoft has made significant investments to deliver most of our commercial software as a service (Office 365, Windows Intune, CRM Online, and soon Dynamics ERP) or as a platform to deliver on\with (e.g. Azure).  There is a huge business opportunity helping customers evaluate their current technology and future needs and migrating them to the cloud where it makes sense.  We have two programs to assist partners build a cloud-focused practice:  Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate.  We also invested deeply this year in local Business Model Transformation workshops to help partners with on premise practices define a custom plan and set of actions to take to incorporate cloud services and have heard great feedback on the effectiveness of these workshops to help accelerate the shift.  As we move forward, we will continue evolving our cloud programs to be more relevant and valuable to our Partners.
 
 
 
We also continue to invest and tune our solution incentives, partner training and sales tools to help your organization move ahead with our latest technology and learning.  We have a huge launch cycle ahead of us in the next 12-18 months with Windows 8, Windows Server 8, Office\Wave 15, Systems Center 2012 SP1, SQL Server SP1 and Windows Phone 8 all coming into market.  We must invest together to ensure our sales and technical people are deeply familiar and can work with the customer on the relevant business and technical value propositions, can design and deploy them well, and ensure the customer is fully ready to adopt the technology internally.  We invest extensively in many self-service assets for partners to help reduce your costs, allow your people to consume them at their pace and place, and stay current in a seamless, always available manner.  Stay tuned for some great skilling and support offerings we’ll be announcing at WPC!
 
 
 
Driving ahead of the competition with Great Partner Experiences:
 
When we launched MPN, we ran a White Glove Service to help our Partners make the transition to MPN.  Based on the latest surveys, our managed and unmanaged partner satisfaction has reached new highs and we are now leading our competitors in these partner audiences.  We must continue this great work with you to ensure we remain easy and great to do business with!   One great way of getting the most out of your MPN membership is to use the Technical Advisory hours that come with the Gold and Silver Competencies and the MAPS D&D Subscription.  Technical Advisory hours can have a direct positive impact on your day to day business. Partners that leveraged these hours for pre-sales support experienced a very high win rate (>80%).  You can also use those hours to strengthen your practice capabilities by applying them Practice Accelerator offerings. Don’t let your hours sit there- put them to work for your business!  
 
 
 
I’ve left out a lot of detail as we have a lot of great announcements coming at WPC,  but I’d love to hear from you on how you are feeling about your connection and relationship with Microsoft via MPN and what priority areas we should work on next together.  Please reply here or send me mail anytime at julib@microsoft.com.
 
 
 
Thank you again for your commitment to Microsoft and strong engagement in the Microsoft Partner Network and look forward to seeing you in Toronto!
 
Julie​