Microsoft channel changes and how they impact Canada

Washington – The 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference has come to a close for another year. Next year the Worldwide Partner Conference will take place in mid-July in Orlando, Fla. No word on if Mickey Mouse will be the guest keynote.

From what Canadian channel partners told CDN this is what they took note of during the Washington conference.

Microsoft Canada leadership would like the Canadian channel ecosystem to lead all Microsoft-based technology solutions with the P-Seller program. P-Seller is short for Partner Seller program and is the new name for the old VTSP program and it will include PTSP (Partner Technology Solutions Professional) and PSSP (Partner Solution Sales Professional) resources. VTSP is officially retired. Through P-Seller Microsoft Canada anticipates that the channel can be more nimble and hyper local.

The independent software vendor (ISV) channel will rise in importance for Microsoft Canada. According to one channel source it will be getting more investment this year and next.

Jason Brommet, the director, partner business & development at Microsoft Canada, told CDN that the subsidiary would be hiring a professional for ISVs soon, but that the role is to be called strategic channels.

Microsoft Canada president Janet Kennedy also addressed the Canadian partners at the Washington show. She told the Canadian partner ecosystem not to build solutions in a silo and instead integrate big data, social, mobile and look for holistic solutions.

The big piece for most solution providers selling the Microsoft stack is that everyone will have a score card that will be based on cloud consumption in Azure and Office 365. The old licensing sales model will not be a factor anymore.

One of the key things is the better the performance with Azure and Office 365 the more likely Microsoft will invest in your business.

Gavriella Schuster, the new GM of the worldwide Microsoft Partner Network, said that the company invests on average $5 billion each year in the channel. These new strategies will add an additional $100 million in channel investment.

Worldwide channel chief for Microsoft Phil Sorgen said that the company invests $10 billion in R&D each year.

“The focus is on the partner opportunity and embedding that into the channel models. We redeveloped the licensing model for example,” he said.

One of the impacts of this new direction is that the cost of creating of marketing campaigns will go down. One of the new channel marketing initiatives is ModernBiz inside the Partner Marketing Center. ModernBiz will be a partner portal with details on how to adjust your business model and structure sales for the cloud. It will also contain new approaches to building a cloud practice and an eBook on cloud partner profitability. Starting Aug. 1st, ModernBiz campaign has a call to action for the channel and the leads will be routed to PinPoint.

“In PinPoint marketplace customers can find partners who can help them. This September there is a new release of PinPoint and the new site will have search relevance for higher quality referrals and new lead generation management dashboards. There will be new seller dashboards so I encourage (the channel) to redo their profiles in PinPoint,” Sorgen said.

There are 3,000 Microsoft employees working in the channel team worldwide. But here is who you should know in Canada.

  • Dennis Cerasoli, the VP of SMS&P at Microsoft Canada;
  • Jason Brommet is the Canadian channel chief;
  • Rob Stevens runs the enterprise channel as senior director partner sales and channel development;
  • Monica Jain is in charge of the Microsoft Partner Network program;
  • Lily Pirker is in partner readiness;
  • Ross Couldrey handles channel incentives;
  • Carol White takes care of enterprise channel marketing;
  • Vineet Parmar is in SMB channel marketing;
  • Khaleel Rajafk will handle Surface marketing;
  • Sara Gillians is the partner sales executive at Microsoft Canada;
  • Mike Bulmer, partner account manager at Microsoft Canada; and
  • Pete West, senior partner sales manager at Microsoft 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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