|The idea to write this book originated during Microsoft´s Inspire event in July 2017, formerly called the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Microsoft just announced a new organizational structure and I decided to write an article on LinkedIn analyzing the reorganization and what it would mean for partners.
In less than two weeks’ time, I had over 20.000 views and more than 5.000 of those came directly from Microsoft employees. There had been many rumors and there was much secrecy around the reorganization. Other partners at the conference suggested that I write a book to help them, so during my holidays in August 2017 instead of reading books, as I normally do, I started writing one.
The latest book you can find on engaging with Microsoft dates to 2009. Originally the subtitle of this book was a ´practical´ guide to successful business partnering with Microsoft but I soon figured out that what was needed for this book to be useful was to create something that would not be completely out of date in one fiscal year. Therefore, I have tried to stay away from short term and very timebound tips and tricks as much as possible and have tried to take the long view.
Additionally, I wanted to write a book for partners without it being a marketing outlet for Microsoft. I hope that because I am personally living and driving the transformation at the company I work at as a CEO this might give some additional credibility compared to what you can get from other sources.
Microsoft wants you to transform as a partner and they explain the why and sometimes the what, however they come short on the how as very few field people in Microsoft have lived through what it takes to transform as a company. Transformation is hard, painful, and costly. You will see several examples in this book. Some partners had to reduce their staff by over 50 percent to transform, others built completely new businesses.
This book will help you understand how to build or transform your business together with Microsoft. This book is intended to be helpful both to companies that want to start to work with Microsoft and existing partners that want to improve the outcomes of their business working with Microsoft. For existing partners, it is important that I dive into how things were before just to put some of the changes into perspective. I hope that for the new partners this doesn´t become too complex or boring.
One specific call out I would like to make is that this is not just a book for alliance or channel managers. If you want to be successful in a partnership, you cannot abdicate the strategy and the management of that partnership to the alliance person. It needs to be a top down and bottom up approach. This book is for CEO´s, CMO´s, Practice managers, CTO´s and partner roles. Everybody in your organization that has something to do with Microsoft can benefit from reading this book.
One of the feedbacks I expect is that there is too much detail in this book. Why can´t Microsoft just assign me a single point of contact that can help me with my engagement? Interestingly enough Microsoft has just done away with that end-to-end single point of contact in their fiscal year 18 and our view is that that will not change in FY19.
If you want to be successful with Microsoft, you must understand in detail the Microsoft strategy, organization, culture, roles, incentives, and scorecards. You must understand the Microsoft way of doing things.
I hope you enjoy the book and feel free to connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/-mvv-/ or on Twitter @michielvvliet.
The aim is to make updates to the book anytime Microsoft is making major changes in strategy, business models, Go to Market models or organizational structures which will normally happen early July when Microsoft starts its new fiscal year.