Microsoft encourages more co-sell in programme updates

Vendor is keen to unify its programmes and put more partners in front of each other and customers

Microsoft has become the latest vendor to roll out a series of channel programme enhancements aimed at encouraging more co-selling across its ecosystem.

The software and cloud giant follows in the footsteps of Dell, which unveiled some changes last week also aimed at incentivising cross- and upselling.

Microsoft has unveiled a number of updates (see box below) with the emphasis clearly on getting more activity across the ecosystem with co-selling into SMEs and working more closely with ISVs as well as providing more online tools for the channel.

One of the key updates is the launch of a central partner centre that will unify all the vendor’s channel capabilities on a global basis on a single platform. It will give partners the opportunity to get access to co-sell, cloud solution provider programme details and other certification and incentives.

Nick Parker, corporate vice-president, global partner solutions at Microsoft, penned a blog post to usher in the changes and commented: “Partners influence more than 95% of Microsoft’s commercial revenue, either directly or in partnership with Microsoft.”

He also used the blog post to provide an update on the recent progress the firm had made with the channel.

“Microsoft continued to see growth in the second quarter of FY21, especially across the Microsoft Commercial cloud (+34% yoy). This trajectory is expected to continue as Microsoft partners build devices, applications and cloud-to-edge solutions,” he said.

“We are dedicated to helping partners continue to build resiliency, adapt to change and overcome challenges. We do this by investing in the resources, tools and opportunities that allow them to co-innovate and develop next-generation solutions that help differentiate in the marketplace, gain market share, support their success and meet customer needs.”

Last month, Microsoft launched its first couple of advanced specialisations – Small and Midsize Business Management, and Low Code Application Development.

That means the firm now has advanced specialisations covering all five commercial solution areas – modern workplace, business applications, Azure (apps and infrastructure, data and AI, and security.

Parker said those in the channel who embraced the opportunity to stand out from the crowd were the most likely to prosper. “Technology is more important than ever,” he added. “In times like these, partners who embrace change have opportunities to drive digital transformation around the world.”

Programme updates

  • Cloud Solution Provider programme: Helps the channel move beyond just selling licences to get into a position to help users with digital transformation strategies.
  • Commercial marketplace: The vendor has made it easier for partners to get their services and solutions in front of nearly four million active users across 140-plus countries.
  • Co-sell: Co-selling will be a focus in the SME segment, with Microsoft committed to making targeted marketing investments in top SME customers, growing the ecosystem of ISV partners who serve SMEs.
  • New commerce experience: It aims to provide a consistent and simplified purchase experience, giving customers greater flexibility in how and where they buy Microsoft and partner solutions. This should give the channel a chance to reach more customers and reduce licensing complexity.
  • Partner Centre: From spring, the firm will have nearly all channel capabilities delivered and globally available inside the centre. Partners will have access to a range of programmes and support, and via the Insights dashboard will get a unified view of data across different partner programmes, licensing models and products.

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