In a recent interview, Microsoft’s new U.S. Channel Chief, Stephen Boyle has discussed his transition from being the vice president in the international Enterprise Partner Group to his new, more domestic position, dealing with Microsoft’s numerous partners. In the interview, he reveals that one of his main goals for the immediate future is to help transition existing Microsoft partners to the cloud.
“What I’m very happy to see is a lot of the partners are already on board with the cloud transformation that’s required,” he says. “Not just the new, what we like to refer to as born-in-the-cloud partners, but very much the partners who have been with Microsoft along the way for many, many years. I haven’t had to spend a lot of time selling or explaining why we think this transformation is important.”
One of his main priorities in general seems to be the empowering of partners. “Partner enablement, partner recruitment, making sure that I have the right partners in the ecosystem, and then the activation, working with the partner sellers and the Microsoft field sellers to bring business benefit to our joint customers — those are our high-level short-term priorities,” he explains when discussing his aims. “But my largest priority is making sure that I get the enablement engine right because, from there, it will help me recruit the right partners. Once I’ve got them in the ecosystem, it will help me better engage those partners in a selling motion.”
One of the ways in which Microsoft is helping to enable partners is through a variety of programs built to inform and train. Boyle explains. “We’re taking advantage of high-touch and doing two-to four-day workshops. We’ll bring systems integrators and other partner types, LSP-type partners into a room and give them deep-dive classroom experience. But we’re also leveraging new technologies like Massive Open Online Courses, the new acronym is MOOC, to reach a broader community.” An example of how they’re using technology to train partners is their use of edX which has been implemented quite a bit recently.
“One in particular launched in late September,” Boyle reveals about their experience with the edX platform. “It was around the Cortana Analytics Suite. There was a five-week self-paced learning through this MOOC offered by edX, and we had in excess of 20,000 participants.”
Microsoft has a long history of communicating with its partners through a variety of events and programs. Do you think they could do more or are you impressed with their efforts so far? Let us know in the comments below.Further reading: edX, Microsoft, Microsoft Partners