The inside track to stronger software solutions - Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program

The inside track to stronger software solutions

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When we evolved our partner ecosystem into the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, our goal was to make it a better place for all partners — whether they build and sell services, software solutions, or devices. Our reimagined benefits are designed to reflect and support the diversity of our community, and your unique partner experience will be personalized to the specifics of your business.

To demonstrate how this partnership may take shape, and what the advantages of various offerings are, I find it most helpful to turn to real-life examples of partners who are working closely with Microsoft. Today we will be considering TechQuarters, a cloud consulting firm that has been a Microsoft partner for 12 years. TechQuarters has swiftly taken advantage of the new benefits that came with the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, including attaining the Solutions Partner designations for Infrastructure (Azure) and Modern Work, and is already seeing the impact. Mark O’Dell, Chief Operating Officer, shared some insights with my team into how their close working relationship with Microsoft has put them on the fast track to success.

Building on the Microsoft platform

Being a Microsoft partner grants TechQuarters access to our full software stack to build and innovate on our platform. Their membership and Solutions Partner designations come with a full suite of product benefits designed to support them as they do so, including licenses, cloud service subscriptions and Azure credits. Engaging closely with the Microsoft platform in this way helps them grow their business faster by not only offering, but also deeply understanding, the programs and products that their customers want.

“We get to sell the best all-around software for businesses in our segment, which makes sales easier, aids our growth and allows us to easily wrap our [partner] services around them.”
Mark O’Dell, COO, TechQuarters

The result is that partners are entering sales engagements more prepared and with more knowledge, improving the experience for both parties. TechQuarters also leverages the Microsoft Cloud to streamline the buying experience and offer customers a one-stop shop with consolidated licensing, Azure consumption, and billing.

Growing internal capacity

Because TechQuarters extensively uses Microsoft products within their own teams, they have developed a very specialized understanding of specific programs’ capabilities and potential. This unlocks innovation, allowing employees to push the envelope of what’s possible by drawing on real-life use cases. And, as part of their benefits for holding Solutions Partner designations, TechQuarters receives Azure credits to efficiently turn this inspiration into proofs of concept for customers — further demonstrating their creativity and leveling up their sales pitches at no additional cost. 

Additionally, integrating the latest Microsoft software into their internal processes enables TechQuarters to attract the best talent. Prospective and current employees come to their roles knowing that they have access to market-leading productivity software, which will aid their own professional growth, goals and ambitions. I’m always so inspired by how our products can drive innovation for anyone, in any role, and this is a great example of how benefits for partners reach a range of stakeholders.

Becoming part of something larger

So far, these are all examples of resources that help partners thrive on their own individual journey. But another significant benefit of the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is how it unlocks collective value through the breadth of our community. As a member, you can connect with specialists from both within Microsoft and across our global network to supplement your knowledge and solutions.

Partners are allocated a certain number of partner advisory hours based on your membership, which can be used to consult with a Microsoft advisor who will help you build product knowledge, accelerate app development, and deploy more effectively. O’Dell says this support “…goes a long way with the customer to boost their perception of us, but also to add credibility to our technical bastion.” You may also choose to sign up for the Advanced Support for Partners program and connect with a Partner Success Account Manager who will proactively reach out with news on industry trends, new product features, and upcoming training opportunities.

Additionally, our network links you to other partners who may have skills that you do not have in-house. Partners can navigate the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program to find a collaborator and work together to more efficiently deliver the tailored solution that their customers need. This is also where Solutions Partner designations work as differentiators that allow both customers and other partners to identify you as a solution area expert and tap you in to be a part of their solution.

“Where we don’t have a particular skill set, being a Microsoft partner allows us to find another partner easily who has the skills to fit our customer needs. This quickly enables us to have a broad spectrum of services without having any holes and so enables us to keep our customers longer, as everything will be under one umbrella.”  
– Mark O’Dell, COO, TechQuarters

On top of these benefits, we’ve drawn on the depth of experiences across the partner community to create materials to reference as you build, sell, and go to market. TechQuarters uses the partner GTM materials to supplement their own marketing materials such as social media and sales presentations. They also leverage sales playbooks for training their sales teams and take advantage of online technical training sessions and materials to keep staff on technology’s cutting edge.

It’s exciting to see partners like TechQuarters seizing the opportunities that the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program offers and growing their business. They are on track to attain two additional Solutions Partner designations in the coming year, unlocking even more benefits. Meanwhile, our goal is to continue developing resources that solve real world problems with real world solutions, and seeing them in action is one of the best ways to inform our future investments. Hearing from partners about where they are succeeding and where they need additional support is integral to building a better community that serves everyone. Thank you, Mark, for sharing your story – and I hope all partners will explore some of the benefits we’ve highlighted here. Together, we’re making great strides toward a new era of cloud innovation, digital transformation, and customer satisfaction.

Author

  • Dan Rippey
    Senior Director, Partner Program Management, Global Partner Solutions

    Dan Rippey is the program director for the Microsoft Partner Network. He is responsible for strategy and execution across the channel ecosystem of nearly half a million organizations worldwide that partner with Microsoft to build solutions for an audience of customers that circle the globe. Dan joined Microsoft in 2006 and before taking this role worked in an engineering leadership team that developed the initial capabilities of what is now Partner Center.