30k divided by 8 just doesn't work

I’ve been mulling this blog entry for a while and then just decided to hit post – it’s a post about something I think a lot about. Dividing 30k “what” between 8 “what” though?

Partner Technology Specialists - that’s what!

My team of 8 Partner Technology Specialists have a remit to help our UK partners build their skills around our products, help them in competitive sales situations and to generally be good eggs in helping to develop the world class partner base Microsoft has. (I call it the 3 C’s but that usually raises a wry smile so we’ll save that for another post). The guys do an outstanding job at this and are some of the brightest, most passionate people you could care to find within Microsoft – or elsewhere for that matter. The partners who know them well have great relationships with them and rely on them for advice, guidance and getting stuff done - quickly. Sometimes it’s hard to get the right answer from Microsoft or navigate our website and that’s where our PTS excel. If you want to know what feature is coming when, or how to deploy our products or how Linux, Blackberry or other products compare to Microsoft products, this is your team.

The challenge is a word you hear a lot these days – scale. How do we extend the reach of this group to more of the 30,000 partners Microsoft has relationship with in the UK? It’s hard…very hard. But we have to crack it.

One option is employ more of them but how many would you really need to address the problem at scale – too many for me to manage is the answer πŸ™‚ A more interesting way is to look at what we do and figure out what we can do differently. Sometimes we don’t think outside the box enough or learn from other successes and do the same old thing. This time of year is a great time to do it as we start planning for our next financial year and what we may change. We’ve already started some change though – hopefully you’ve seen us start to use blogs in a much more prolific way than we have in the past and we’re very exicted about reaching more partners and making a personal connection via PTS-TV. We can’t take the credit for either routes but I think we are innovating in the way we reach more partners with information that is specific for them. I don’t know if this is the right way to extend our reach but right now it’s where we’re focusing more of our energy so you will see even more on the blogs and we’ll look to ramp up the PTS-TV editions. There is some convincing to be done but I love a challenge πŸ™‚ It helps us get information out quickly, introduce more of you to the team and share stuff that you’re less likely to find on websites or in marketing documents I think. If there are other ways, I’m open to hearing and you can either email me direct at stevecla@microsoft.com or even better, reply to this post and lets foster some discussion. To be successful we have to make our partners successful and I want to find new ways to do that.

I’m going to be covering more of this stuff over the next few weeks – helping explain what we do and where I think we can help. By “we” I mean, David, Dave, James, Mark, Chris, Christian, Steve and John – I want to find a way to connect these guys to more partners, remove some of the barriers to entry and give you a better view of what we do and how we can connect with you. Perhaps a leap too far but we’re going to give it a shot. For some partners it may mean you see less of them but see them more in different ways. Who knows. I also wonder which audience we connect to – mostly it’s IT folks but the PTS has great relationships with many senior staff in our partners who look to them for guidance and we need to ensure we don’t disenfranchise those people.

What does success look like? Quite simply, more partners know we’re here and that even though we can’t be on everyone’s doorstep, we can make a difference. Through email, blogs, TV, in person, at the pub, at a conference…

Comments (4)

  1. Brain Burps says:

    Okay, if I can lay my hands on a DV camera before this time (highly likely) you can star on PTS-TV. I’m...

  2. There has definitely been a change in the way MS (UK) has approached the partner market and in particular the registered group. The introduction of the Small Business Specialist accreditation has allowed for the more proactive partners to bridge the gap that once set us apart from MS. Especially since they have a clear influence on our business lives.

    I view the bond between the partner community and Micrososft as a working relationship in progress and a lot has been achieved particularly in the last six months.

    Although the effort put in by both groups cannot be directly attributable to anyone's performance, the non-tangible benefits received by either side provide the longevity needed by those in the small business partner market.

    Please keep talking to us, the ability to talk constructively in an effort to make everyone's lives easier is exactly what is needed.

  3. stevecla01 says:

    hi Susanne

    thanks for taking the time to send this feedback. David has been a real keen driver of SBSC and it's good to hear it's paying dividends. Rest assured we'll keep talking and keep listening.

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