TORONTO – Phil Sorgen, Microsoft’s worldwide channel chief, is no stranger to the Canadian market. Sorgen spent more than four years of his career leading the Canadian subsidiary as president. During a recent return to Canada, he told CDN that it’s time for the channel to make a transformation.
“The way we did business in the past may not be the way we do business in the future. I would say IT is never short on change, but Microsoft and the new delivery models that are out there means IT can be consumed in more profound ways than ever before,” he said.
Sorgen, who has been at the helm of Microsoft’s channel business for approximately nine months, added that Microsoft’s message for the channel is mobile first, cloud first. And that message echoes what new CEO Satya Nadella said on his first day in office.
Having this strategy in play does not mean Microsoft is turning away from its channel partners. Sorgen said that the company has a deep rooted culture with the channel and that is not changing. “We will be successful with this strategy with partners and I believe in that deeply. That’s why I took the opportunity to lead the channel group.”
Sorgen outlined four key pillars for the channel transformation. They are:
- Products: Microsoft spends approximately $9.5 billion each year in research and development in an attempt to drive innovation in the cloud and with mobile apps, particularly. Sorgen said that it starts here and if the company does not keep up with the pace of innovation for the channel then the remaining three pillars listed below will not matter.
- Creating markets: Sorgen does not expect Microsoft channel partners to create the brand nor the demand in the marketplace for Microsoft. The company currently does business in 152 countries and building awareness with customers is his job; not the solution providers’. The strategy here is for the channel to draft behind Microsoft’s channel marketing efforts.
- Enablement: Sorgen plans to spend more on channel readiness, skills and training along with pre-training support. He also plans to launch more incentives that would drive demand or the partner ecosystem.
- Sales and marketing engagement: A little known fact Sorgen revealed to CDN is that Microsoft has the largest footprint of sales engagement professionals. Microsoft plans to leverage the local leaders inside the company. “Microsoft is a subsidiary-based company and that means we are local. I found out when I was here that Microsoft Canada is a great Canadian company. And, it’s the same every place for Microsoft.”