Microsoft Canada changes its leadership team & divisions

Microsoft Canada’s SMS&P (small, mid-market solutions and partners) division is no more. The company has consolidated the group in its Enterprise unit. In a sweeping new look for Microsoft Corp., the software giant will have new divisions and a new leadership team.

These changes will also mean a reduction in workforce. Microsoft Canada has roughly 2,000 employees in the country. Sources close to the situation have revealed to CDN the layoffs in Canada are not significant.

The changes come directly from Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and will see the Canadian operation effectively consolidate its Enterprise & Partners division with its SMS&P group to be called Enterprise & Commercial. This group will be led by Chris Barry, who was already running Enterprise and Partners.

The problem with the SMS&P group was they constantly fought over the same sales territory as the SMB team. Most of the overlap in resources was occurring here.

Under the previous structure, Microsoft Canada President Janet Kennedy had three direct reports. Charlotte Burke in SMS&P, Suzanne Gagliese in Services, and Barry in Enterprise & Partners Group. Kennedy also has a direct report in the finance department, but no changes were made there.

SMS&P leader Charlotte Burke will now be in charge of a newly created unit called One Commercial Partner (OCP) that will focus on accelerating Cloud Partner growth.

Charlotte Burke

Burke was hired back in May of 2016 to lead small, mid-market solutions and partners replacing Dennis Cerasoli.

The SMS&P role at Microsoft Canada entailed building customer loyalty in the SMB through channel partners, while developing partner strategy alongside Canadian Channel Chief Jason Brommet.

OCP will become an important new division for Microsoft as it will provide focus and partner support to enable small, medium and corporate customers to accelerate growth and their digital transformation. OCP has been tasked to streamline channel programs and investment for solution providers. In support of the two customer segments, Microsoft has restructured Marketing & Operations to guide the entire business performance. This will mean more alignment with the U.S. operation.

A channel source told CDN that these changes better align with new Microsoft segments especially in the mid-market space around 500 seats and up. The changes will cause some disruption at first but ultimately will lead to more excitement down the road.

Another new area is the Specialist Team Units (STU), which will focus on new business efforts with specialists and technical sellers, and will be aligned to four major solution areas:

  1. Modern Workplace;
  2. Business Applications;
  3. Apps and Infrastructure; and
  4. Data and AI For Small, Medium & Corporate Customers (SMC).

According to an internal Microsoft memo, the company is forming a new organization to provide optimized coverage for customers and better growth for the segment. The SMC teams will drive corporate account strategy and local SMB programs. The following teams will closely collaborate to drive growth with SMC customers.

CDN has also learned Zia Mansoor, will be the leader of the STU. Mansoor was the national director for Azure.

Also new is a unit called Customer Success or CSU. This new group will work to drive usage and consumption models and reduce customer churn on products and services. It will be headed temporarily by Mary-Ellen Anderson until a new person is chosen. Anderson is the Vice President of the Developer Experience and Evangelism at the DX group. The DX group has been renamed Commercial Software Engineering.

No changes to the Public Sector group headed by Jason Hermitage or the Marketing & Operations team lead by Emma Da Silva.

Microsoft Canada did respond to CDN’s request for comment. The subsidiary issued this statement: “Microsoft made internal announcements about actions it is taking to help the company better serve customers and partners. The aim of these announcements is to help Microsoft customers and partners in every country achieve success through their digital transformations, across the commercial and consumer businesses. These changes will help both customers and partners to be successful by ensuring they have the right resources at-hand, and simplify how they do business with Microsoft.”

If you are looking for any underlining strategy for these moves it simply comes down to Microsoft’s desire to accelerate global growth and better support commercial and public sector customers by allocating more resources towards high growth areas.

With all that Microsoft has created new operating teams. They are Account Team Units for both commercial and public sector. You already know about the STU and CSU. What will be different for channel partners is that these three units will function as a single unit called Enterprise Operating Unit (EOU). The EOU will then work in marketing and operations, OCP, Services, and Anderson’s squad.

That’s not all, look for Microsoft to prioritize by industry. The software giant has chosen six growth industries for this: Manufacturing, Financial Services, Retail, Health, Education and Government.

There is a new Global Demand Centre that will work to create market demand such as sales leads.

Microsoft Inside Sales will be expanded to help cover differentiated value in the product portfolio. Inside Sales will look to scale out the portfolio through data driven digital sales capability.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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