July seems so far away now: the excitement of Toronto and the 2012 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), and yet I can still feel its impact—I’m sure you can, too. As you know, WPC focused on the new era we’re all working within—and how we can all use the Microsoft Partner Network’s resources and tools to win together.

Our channel chief, Jon Roskill, captures it best. In this post he recaps and outlines where we go from here. From the record number of new product launches to MPN benefits and support, Jon talks about how we can build on the momentum that was kick started at WPC.
A big part of WPC 12 momentum was about Windows 8. We’re all excited that general availability is right around the corner.
WPC 12 also marked another key announcement: Office 365 Open, which gives partners like you a new way to sell Office 365 and truly own the customer relationship; be sure to prepare for customer conversations that can help you win. I think what the cheers in the arena told me when this announcement was made is that you all recognized that we want to be true to our commitment to partners because when you succeed, we do too. And when you’re selling products that excite your customers and help them, well, then everyone wins. With unprecedented new products, there’s no better time to start making it happen.
As I mentioned in my post from Australia, “Microsoft needs partners to help service these customers. And the opportunity for partners? Customers’ evolving requirements with disruptive technologies means they need you, the trusted advisor. This means that by investing in each other our business pipeline can remain full.”
Of course, I can’t talk about WPC12 without mentioning Kevin Turner. When discussing Microsoft’s approach to competition, Kevin said something striking that resonated with the thousands of partners in attendance: Partners should “respect everyone; fear no one.” Then he detailed the ways in which Microsoft — together with our partners — will take on competitors in every arena, including the cloud. It was a spirited moment of sheer ambition. And partners are ready to respond to the challenge!
I think that challenge is also an opportunity for success. And the Microsoft Partner Network is only as successful as its partners. Partners are uniquely positioned for success by having access to a wealth of membership benefits. As Karl Noakes shared, the IDC valued this core set of partner benefits at US$320,000. Take Internal-Use Rights Software as just one example.  The access partners have to a potent set of software licenses means they can more effectively train employees, develop and test, help customers, and overall run a better business. As the IDC reports, “For a typical 50-person partner organization, the value of the software licenses alone can be worth $125,000, with a few larger organizations citing significantly higher values.” (You can download the entire white paper here.) With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why partners voted Microsoft the best company to partner with in 2011 and that is something we’re committed to living up to.
But you can be sure we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re constantly looking to improve. Because it’s our commitment to partners that makes the MPN so valuable. Here are just a few areas where we’re getting even better:
As you can see, things are moving fast. And it’s all leading towards winning … together. Before you know it, it will be time for WPC13. I want to invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to save $400 by pre-registering for our Houston event – this is the last couple of weeks of this pricing, which ends October 14th.
From the title you can see that this is the first part of a series of three posts to celebrate the changing of the seasons, metaphorically and in the world. Stay tuned for the next post focusing on where we are in the cloud. And be sure to leave your thoughts on this one!