Microsoft partners will no longer be compensated purely for their sales of cloud technology as the vendor pushes its new usage model.
In the past, Microsoft rewarded customers on their sales numbers of cloud technology, regardless of how much of it the customer actually ended up deploying. But from the start of this fiscal year – which began on 1 July – this will no longer be the case. Instead, Microsoft will measure exactly how much of its kit customers actually use, and pay resellers based on that.
Microsoft's UK general manager of small and midmarket solutions and partner group. Clare Barclay (pictured) said the vendor has been focusing on this idea over the past few months but is now ready to put its money where its mouth is.
"We've had it as a strategic focus for us this year, but we are [now] aligning our channel incentives to ensure we are focusing our partners on usage as well as what they sell," she told CRN. "And we are doing this for our own salespeople too. We will be adding in usage and consumption compensation for salespeople [internally and in the channel] for the first time this year."
She said partners have been intrigued by news of the changes.
"I haven't heard any concern about it but there is a lot of curiosity," she said. "They are asking for clarification and they want to know how we are going to measure them, how it will be reported – they are all natural questions.
"But I think on the journey to cloud we're on, most of our partners see this as an incredible opportunity because they are in the business of driving cloud and if they see customers using it [and that] customers are happy, they are building services on the back of that. I don't see negativity around this – they are excited about us anchoring our focus."
She admitted that in the past, some customers – especially larger ones – often bought cloud technology but did not use it.
"If you image your customer ABC and you've sold Office 365 to them, it is made up of Exchange, SharePoint, Skype – all the different workloads," she said.
"A customer might buy it but then might think 'something has come up' and they may never deploy it. Previously we would have been rewarding the partner for selling, what we're doing now is rewarding them for how each of those different workloads will get used. Have they used Exchange, are they using SharePoint, have they deployed Skype for Business? We will be tracking each of the workloads and we work with partners to make sure every single one is used and we have happy customers.
"In the smaller end you never get that – if a small business buys something, they use it. As you get to bigger, more complex customers, they may decide in that scenario they will move their email but may never get around to using Yammer as a way of collaborating [for example]. We believe powerfully in the value of the software and services and the more they are using, the more satisfied and productive they will be. There are instances where customers have not got the full value the technology brings so we want to ensure partners are focused on doing that."
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