Revisiting your 20sth“silver and gold” partner categories of the last century to meet the demands of rapidly evolving digital businesses, Microsoft has re-engineered its new partner program around customer-centric solutions and industry-specific capabilities.
All major cloud providers have aggressively enhanced and expanded their networks and partner offerings as the booming market for cloud services has created a huge need for extended ecosystems. And while Microsoft has pioneered high-value innovations in the market over the past few years, its “silver and gold” partner categories have definitely been a throwback to the 1990s.
Under the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program led by Partner Director Nicole Dezen, Microsoft is focusing on helping partners “grow their business at Microsoft scale”; now there is a promise that is hard to resist. – allowing them to:
- “Leverage the larger technology ecosystem”;
- “Innovate on the most comprehensive end-to-end cloud platform”; e
- Work with a well-known and “trusted” supplier that has a huge network of partners for decades.
The new program is built around six “solution areas” in which partners can choose to specialize: data and artificial intelligence, infrastructure, digital and application innovation, business applications, modern work and security.
Those are great categories and certainly address the core needs of the business customers that partners will be selling to, but I think the real innovation in this program will come from the new opportunities for partners to penetrate deeper into the hot zone of the industry. – Specific solutions.
Here’s an excerpt from a blog post by Dezen Partner Director:
“While the initial set of solution partner designations is aimed at partners who sell services, we are working on creating additional industry designations for partners who also build software. At Microsoft Inspire this year, we also announced that we will add industrial names differentiate solutions based on proven performance of partners with customers, technical maturity and customer success. We will prioritize industry designations anchored in Microsoft’s industrial clouds and aligned in both the solution partner and ISV programs.”
It’s no longer enough for the world’s leading cloud providers to build great technology and then hire partners to sell it. Instead, the new model is for both the supplier and the partner ecosystem to be fully committed to driving customer innovation and growth at all levels of engagement that those customers demand.
And the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program looks like a great first step in that direction for the world’s #1 cloud provider.