New Microsoft channel boss Phil Sorgen has three key partner priorities

Just over a month after he took over for Jon Roskill as corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s worldwide partner group and global channel chief, Phil Sorgen has released a video message to Microsoft partners outlining his top three priorities for the software giant’s channel community.

First, though, Sorgen, who will be familiar to most partners in Canada as the former president of Microsoft’s Canadian subsidiary (which recently got a new head, Janet Kennedy), reaffirms his commitment to the channel and offers a shout-out to Canada.

“In my last two roles, as head of US SMS&P and president of Microsoft Canada, I’ve seen you adapt to the accelerating pace of change and deliver terrific results,” said Sorgen. “So when I was offered the position of channel chief, I didn’t hesitate.”

From a strategy perspective, Sorgen largely echoed the direction set out by Roskill and other Microsoft executives in July at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston. The focus areas for the company will be around the cloud, social, mobility and big data, built on a foundation of devices and services.

“Customers are increasingly turning to the cloud, and no company is better positioned than Microsoft to help them move their on their own terms,” said Sorgen.

While moving to the cloud entails business model challenges for partners, Sorgen said the economics for partners that make the transition are compelling.

“Our opportunities together in the cloud should be top of mind for every one of us,” said Sorgen.

Indeed, “our joint success in the cloud” is the first of three priorities Sorgen has set for the partner organization and himself over the next six months.

“We have great (cloud products and services), but our commitment to our partners sets us apart,” said Sorgen. “I think we can do a better job of helping you realize how (cloud partner programs and tools) can help you realize more opportunity and profitability in the cloud, and that will be what we focus on most.”

The second priority is one that every vendor always makes a point of mentioning: making the vendor easier for partners to do business with.

“We’ve made good progress, but when you engage with us on the partner portal or in person we need to make it simple, despite the inherit complexities of our business,” said Sorgen.

And the third priority? Keeping business continuity within the worldwide partner organization.

“I’m not coming in to make full-scale changes to the partner program,” promised Sorgen. “We’ll make some adjustments, absolutely, but every one of them will have to be held against the first two priorities; your opportunity to grow your business in the cloud, and making it easier for you to do business with us.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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