Microsoft has revealed more details of its newly formed One Commercial Partner business, which brings together all partner-facing teams across the organisation.
One Commercial Partner was first announced in January, as Microsoft revealed plans to bring together its enterprise and SMB teams, and more details have now been announced at Microsoft Inspire in Washington.
"I think I stood on this very stage last year talking about transformation and change. We asked you to change and you did, and then we didn't notice," - Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft
Ron Huddleston (pictured above), commercial vice president of One Commercial Partner, said the new business will incorporate Microsoft's offerings in technical, marketing, business development and programmes. He declared that the new team is "not just partner led, it's partner first".
As part of the new organisation, Microsoft is appointing dedicated channel managers for the first time, which Huddleston claimed will help to fit the right customer with the right partner.
"We're investing $250m in connecting partners to customers," he said. "We're starting with one new role, globally - the channel manager who specialises in connecting partners to customers.
"This will feel very different. This is not a partner account manager, they're focused on customer success."
Gavriella Schuster, Huddleston's fellow corporate vice president, said that Microsoft has in the past been guilty of asking its partners to ready themselves for digital transformation but, from a sales point of view, had not done so itself.
Schuster (pictured below) referred to a meeting with partners in Denmark last autumn as the moment she realised Microsoft was falling behind its partners.
"We have innovated on our engineering and our services and we've innovated on our business models, but we have lagged in the innovation in our sales model and it shows," she said.
"I was listening to [partners'] voices and the voices of all of the partners that I'd heard that week [and] it kind of hit me like a bolt of lightning. They had changed and we had not kept up, and now we were getting in their way.
"We were missing opportunities together because we were constraining ourselves through our licensing, through our customer segmentation, through our geographic boundaries.
"I think I stood on this very stage last year talking about transformation and change. We asked you to change and you did, and then we didn't notice."
In a move it claims demonstrates its commitment to selling with partners, Microsoft has committed to giving its internal sales teams 10 per cent commission on an Azure solutions that are co-sold with partners.
Microsoft account teams will also, for the first time, be aligned by industry - to develop specialisms in specific fields.
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