Channel partners are in demand by business customers as they formulate and implement their digital business and cloud strategies. That’s because partners offer expertise above and beyond what many businesses have in house and also because these organizations need comprehensive advice and trusted advisors to help them along their IT journey.
Just three months since long-time Microsoft channel executive Jenni Flinders left her job, the Redmond, Wash. vendor this month appointed Stephen Boyle, vice president for Microsoft U.S. Partner Strategy & Programs – or U.S. Channel Chief.
Unlike Flinders who had a dozen years tenure with Microsoft – the majority of that time with the vendor’s partner organization — Boyle is a relative newcomer to the company, having joined in March 2014 as vice president of enterprise partners. He was previously employed at Oracle (since June 1997) in various sales and channel positions. Prior to that he worked at Sun Microsystems and Data General.
Last month when I spoke to Darren Bibby, program vice president, channels and alliances research at IDC, about partner collaboration as the path to new and broader channel business opportunities, he said that he considers partner collaboration as the eighth transformation area that IT solution providers must deal with to transform their business. Why the eight and, what are the other seven?
In a presentation that Bibby put together this year, Business Transformations in the Third Platform, he highlighted seven vital areas partners must tackle to transform their business: technology, time horizon, customer, sales motion, marketing, activities and competition – partner collaboration, which wasn’t on that list at the time he put together his report, would make it eight.
As covered in the article – “New Types of Partners Spark Channel Alliance opportunities” – SearchITChannel delved into what partner collaboration looks like, why partner companies need to make it a business imperative and how some channel partners make it work.
Partnering is rising to the top at Microsoft, especially as unique intellectual property, differentiation and specialization increasingly set apart channel partner firms. At the same time, customers want complete solutions, so increasing partner-to-partner connections is critical, according to Gavriella Schuster, general manager for worldwide partner programs at the company.
At last week’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2015 in Orlando, Schuster said that helping partners find each other and find partners with complementary skills is important to the company: “So what I’m looking at is, how do I help partners do that?”
Lots of vendors issued press releases at Microsoft’s WPC 2015 this week; here are a few more for SearchITChannel readers:
The new consulting services include: HP Database Migration Assessment Services for Microsoft SQL Server; HP Database Migration Service for SQL Server; HP Consulting and Integration Services for Microsoft Azure; and the HP Readiness Workshop for Office 365.
With the upcoming general availability of Windows 10 in a couple of weeks, HP announced a new channel opportunity for partners that includes a blueprint to drive Windows 10 migrations. What’s included: partner education and training as well as competency rebranding; marketing development support plus marketing funds to support Windows 10 migration efforts with customers; co-branded marketing assets; and, partner incentives including new business opportunity boosters, according to the vendor.
HP boasted that its Windows XP migration program was a $21 billion dollar opportunity for partners and the company helped partners more than double their growth rates year over year though training and certification programs.
Born-in-the-cloud companies are a new breed of channel partner gaining stature, and customers, as consultancy and implementation leaders in the burgeoning era of cloud computing.
Bluewolf exemplifies a born-in-the-cloud company. The global business consulting firm was named a worldwide leader in the Salesforce implementation ecosystem by IDC this year as well as last year. So it’s no surprise that the marketing-savvy company — and Salesforce marketing cloud consultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud specialist — understands the importance of corporate branding, digital marketing and social responsibility. Continued »
At the EMC Global Partner Summit 2015 held in May, channel leaders talked about a tighter relationship with partners, tighter alignment between the vendor’s direct and indirect sales channels, and expanded business opportunities for all partners in the EMC Business Partner Program (BPP).
That program went live in January 2015. Today, the company rolled out the EMC Business Partner Program Guidebook, a 40-plus page resource for everything EMC channel.
The new guide provides existing EMC partners with information on the structure of the BPP, which is the umbrella program for all EMC business partners, partner requirements and benefits. The guide also serves as a comprehensive introduction to partner firms considering EMC as a vendor partner.
A large technology vendor with a sprawling partner program, EMC helps simplify multiple tracks with its BPP Guidebook: Solution Provider (VAR); Direct Market Resellers (DMR); Cloud Service Providers (CSP); Global Alliance (GA); Enterprise Content Division (ECD); RSA SecurWorld (RSA); and, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).
In addition, the guide provides links to EMC’s federated companies: VMware, VCE, Pivotal, and RSA — more commonly known as The Federation.
Each EMC track has its own section that, depending on the track, may include an overview, explanation of benefits, tiers, requirements, solutions, services, marketing programs and tools. Track sections also delve into the financial benefits of partnering with EMC (including rebates, co-op, and market development funds), global financial services, demo programs, cross-border deals, playbooks and special training.
The BPP Guidebook also addresses new partner onboarding and resources such as the Partner Portal, EMC.com and Global Partner Summit.
Today, HP announced that Bill Veghte, executive vice president and general manager of HP’s Enterprise Group (EG), would leave his position at the end of the summer. Veghte served in his latest position since August 2013. Prior to that he was COO and chief strategy officer for a year and eight months. He joined HP in May 2010.
Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager with HP EG, will officially assume Veghte’s role, which he stepped into while Veghte focused on efforts around the HP split with the Separation Management Office. Neri joined HP in 1995.
HP also announced that Chris Hsu, senior vice president, organizational performance at HP since May 2014, would assume the role of COO for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He worked with Veghte at the Separation Management Office.
In addition, Harry Gould sent an email to partners announcing that today was his last day as vice president of worldwide alliances and channels at HP Software. Gould served in this position since April 2013. The note went on to say:
I want to thank you for your help and guidance over the last 2 years and 3 months. I thought I knew a lot about partnering having done it for several enterprise software companies but our partnership has provided a tremendous opportunity at scale to learn even more. I believe our partnership is stronger than ever. I also believe HPE and HPI have very bright futures and seeing as though I am a long time resident of Palo Alto (I live 3 blocks from the Garage!) I have a vested interest in the success of the two new companies.
As for me, I will be returning to a much smaller and software only company. Looking at several options but you can be assured wherever I go I look forward to partnering with you. I will let you know as soon as I land.
For the second consecutive year, 13-year-old New Signature, which is based in Washington, D.C., has been named the Microsoft United States Partner of the Year. Last year, the Microsoft-centric managed service provider and cloud-first company specialized in design, customization, management and support of private and public cloud services as well as hybrid environments. Today, the partner company also calls itself an independent software vendor (ISV).
With the recent $35 million infusion of cash from Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm based in Alexandria, Va., New Signature company President and Founder Chris Hertz set out to expand the company’s capabilities and geographic reach.
On June 1, with the acquisition of CMS Consulting Inc. and Infrastructure Guardian — two Toronto-based Microsoft partners — New Signature Canada was launched. The transaction expanded the partner’s skill set to include specialization in Microsoft infrastructure and ISV and managed services from Infrastructure Guardian, a sister company to CMS Consulting. Brian Bourne, founder of both Canadian firms, heads up New Signature Canada as president.
Partner partnering has been an essential ingredient to the success of both New Signature and CMS Consulting. Were it not for partnering, New Signature wouldn’t be the company it is today, Hertz said.
“Today, there’s a much broader set of technologies that businesses can consume and, as a result, it requires greater partnerships,” he said.
Providing business solutions today exceeds the scope of expertise of a single partner, he noted.
“I believe that if you look at companies that have been successful versus companies that have not been successful, a lot of our success has been predicated on embracing the new [technologies] and helping our customers solve for that, and that means working with a broader set of partners,” Hertz said.
Five years ago, New Signature, founded in 2003, didn’t have a director of alliances role dedicated to finding — and going to market with — the right partners.
“That’s because the importance wasn’t quite as high,” said Hertz.
Today, New Signature boasts a broad set of partnerships across a range of Microsoft partners. Implementing a Skype for Business server project on-premises or even online requires about half a dozen partners to bring the solution to market, for example.
“It requires a litany of partners – some who fill in gaps and others who bring more advanced solutions to market with our customers. It’s about going out and saying, ‘What are we really good at? We’re good at these four things, and the customer needs a solution that requires a broader set of capabilities; let’s go out and find that really amazing partner to work together,'” explained Hertz.
Interestingly enough, CMS Consulting and sister company Infrastructure Guardian had not partnered with New Signature prior to the acquisition. However, Hertz said they were a well-known Microsoft partner.
“We went out looking for set of really smart, talented and intellectually curious folks who really fit with our culture and would deliver a set of skills and capabilities that we didn’t have in-house,” he said.
CMS Consulting was also a Microsoft Partner Award winner. The company won the Microsoft Canada 2014 IMPACT Award and is in the running for the same award this year, along with collaborating partner iMason.
As an infrastructure company with a narrow focus around Microsoft technologies, CMS Consulting often partnered with application development partners, providing the complex infrastructure that sits beneath the application. Then, when these application-level solution providers showed a desire to move to an as-a-service model — running and managing the application for customers — they white-labeled Bourne’s Infrastructure Guardian service. Infrastructure Guardian provides 24/7 cloud management as a service for the public, private and hybrid cloud environments.
Two drivers prompted Bourne to sell his companies. The first had to do with changes in the IT marketplace, particularly how customer buying has changed to prefer as-a-service buying and beyond working with niche partners. The second driver was the strong track record of Columbia Capital and the firm’s plans to build a big North American Microsoft partner — a task that would have been much more difficult doing with his own cash flow — as well as the experience of New Signature, said Bourne.
The new New Signature has 150 employees.