This week I have been meeting with Australian partner companies at the Microsoft Australia Partner Conference event held here in Brisbane, Australia. As I wrote back in this blog post about the importance of getting involved at a local level in community, I’ve valued the time I’ve gotten to spend with partners here. I’ve enjoyed participating in the business planning many of them are in the middle of for this new fiscal year, and sharing how we continue to partner together to win!

 
In honor of the Australian Microsoft partner community, I dedicate today’s Three on Thursday to recap the key takeaways I’ve gleaned from their event.
 
Think Big
As you’ll see from the theme, and as you heard at WPC 2012, this is our biggest year together. Partners here are immersing themselves in the sessions that provide them with first-hand information around all the exciting business opportunities resulting from our wave of product launches.
 

Many of the sessions have been standing room only, and with the event sold out, it’s certainly a testament that Australian partners recognize the big opportunities available as a result of all the latest developments within Microsoft’s portfolio of products.

 
 
 
Be Strategic
In many of the conversations that I’ve had with partners, they indicated how they are increasingly recognizing the importance of being strategic in how they set themselves up for success. Business strategy discussions spanned from how to expand opportunities across locations, to building smarter sales and marketing plans. A few partners also mentioned looking at how they could be more strategic in taking advantage of the benefits that the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) has to offer – and if you read Karl Noakes’ post about the value of MPN benefits you’ll know that there is a lot this program has to offer and—leveraged in the right way—it can strategically make a positive impact on your business.
 
Invest Together
I think the last biggest echo of thoughts shared is the importance of investing together; and this investment is about the business investments partners can make in Microsoft and selling our solutions to help customers meet their business needs. We here at Microsoft have made a huge investment in our partners. I sat in a pre-day session led by Vahe Torossian, Corporate Vice President of Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) group; and Geoff Nyheim, Vice President of Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) group, and they delivered the important message that we are in an “innovation” wave and customers need help.
 
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. These business investments are needed to see the ROI—this is a huge takeaway that I have from APC, and one that many of you understand from joining us at WPC 2012.
 
The business connections available to you through MPN are priceless to the mutual gain your businesses can experience, and these two tweets sum up why these events are so important:
  • My favourite part is seeing partners connect with other partners and making a whole greater than the sum of its parts. #apc2012
  • Final day of #apc2012. I’ve only been to one session – I’ve spent the rest of the time meeting MS folks, networking and making connections.
I’m enjoying my time here immensely, and have appreciated all of the insightful conversations, smart exchanges, and the hospitality of the partner team in Microsoft Australia. And the best thing about being here: when I get back to Seattle the sunny weather will follow me to remind me of the beautiful weather here in Australia!
 
– Kat​