Microsoft Inspire: The Contagious Operational Shift

Posted:

Earlier in July, myself and Joe Wolski, Head of Public Cloud Services at ANS,  headed out to Washington DC to join attendees from over 140 counties at Microsoft’s Inspire conference. The event certainly lived up to its name, so much so I thought I’d share what I made of it all.

Since this is Microsoft’s biggest organisational shift in over a decade, this event was timely to say the least. Driving this momentous change is the need to streamline their business, remove complexity and focus on delving just four solution categories (which I’ll talk about in more detail later). Key to delivering this new strategy is their evolving partner ecosystem which Microsoft are attempting to strengthen by encouraging partners to specialise in specific areas, a change I think is sure to set Microsoft, and its partners on the road to success.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard Microsoft talk about their four digital transformation outcomes; empowering employees; engaging customers; optimising operations; and changing the product, service and business model. This has inspired them to change how they build their products, how they bring these products together into solutions and even, how they evolve the business model, the go to market and the partner motions around it.

But the burning question is, how are they planning to do this?

Cultivating the next-generation Partner Ecosystem

The Microsoft Cloud Partner ecosystem is made up of 64,000 partners, making it one of the largest and most influential in the world.

To strengthen this ecosystem, Microsoft are investing heavily in inside sales capabilities to bridge the rich marketing assets they have as well as their Global Demand Center and all the campaigns that come from it with partner opportunities.  This will ultimately feed leads to partners, helping to drive towards the total addressable market.

Perhaps even more importantly, Microsoft are investing in incentivisation so that their partners are more driven to deliver than ever before. To do this they have made a commitment that the creation of their products will be aligned by their partners. This means that partners will be more involved in the product creation process than ever before. So, if we want to write code with them, or build services, or go and deploy these things and create value with customers, then this is now a very viable option.

Once they’ve built this capacity with partners, they’re going to go to market across their four focus solution areas: modern workplace, business applications, apps and infrastructure, data and AI.

And finally, when it comes to selling with us, they’re going to sell with us the same way in which they’re organised, by industry and by segment to develop rich solutions that serve customers well.

Nurturing the Industry Focus

There’s one critical element that fuels digital transformation across all industries and that is a deep understanding of the customer’s business. But to make a customer successful you’ve got to understand the world in which they live.

And that’s why Microsoft want partners who are focused on specific industries in order to develop a specific skill set to build solution maps with the customer’s intellectual property which is delivered through partner services.

What is so refreshing to me at least, is the fact that the proposition behind this change is very simple.  Its customer driven. Customers are turning to Microsoft more to understand their business and marry their portfolio of intellectual property with the power of the partner ecosystem to help them to achieve more.

Listening to Microsoft explain their huge organisational shift made me realise I’ve heard this before, and actually, much closer to home. ANS is also undergoing a period of significant change driven by the customer. Over the years, ANS has evolved in line with the market from starting out focusing on i3 solutions, to developing our Managed Services offering, launching RAPID and more recently in making way for the biggest organisational shift in our history, Cloud.

Like Microsoft we’ve reset the compass a number of times which means we’ve also had to re-evaluate how we go to market, enabling us to become agile enough to be able toput the right resource in front of the right customer at the right time.

Also like Microsoft, ANS have refined their offerings into four key areas: Networks, Platforms, Managed Services and Assessment Services. Focusing on just four areas means we have been able to hone our expertise and become world-class experts in these fields and by working with Microsoft, we are adding capability across all four solution areas so that we can drive modern workplace business applications such as apps and infrastructure, data and AI solutions.

As Cloud adoption continues to soar, we are investing heavily in public cloud and assessment services which have the capability to analyse cloud usage and identify efficiency and cost optimisiation opportunities.

In the last 6 months, ANS has dominated the cloud market having been awarded the Microsoft Gold Cloud Competency certification and the AWS Advanced Partner status. Combined, these achievements highlight ANS’ ‘best-in-class’ ability and commitment to helping customers migrate and build their next generation of digital business applications in Azure and AWS.