The long-anticipated and radically revamped Microsoft Partner Summit has been and gone and it certainly provided some intellectual nuggets for us all to chew on.
Coming off the back of many years of successful APCs (Australian Partner Conference), November’s Partner Summit in Sydney promised to offer us something different – a medley of business, technical, channel and thought-provoking sessions designed to get you looking at your organisation, life and even legacy in a different way.
This year’s version kicked-off with a joint business / partner event on day 1, with many resellers bringing along key execs from their top customers as a way to help kick-start conversations and build a pipeline of opportunities for the coming year. Day 2 was all about partners and days 3-4 saw Microsoft open the doors to the public for the Technical Summit (think TechEd lite), where anyone with an interest in IT could come along and explore the latest solutions. One highlight was watching a bunch of young students interact with virtual reality for the first time (“like, whoaaaa”), and then I’m thinking “if this is now, what will the world be like when they’re, ahem, my age?”
Insentra was proud to be a Gold Sponsor across the event and so it was fascinating to talk to literally hundreds of different attendees throughout the week, everyone with a different perspective on the content. Some were inspired by Professor Brian Cox’s entertaining take on the cosmos, encouraging people to be embrace new ideas. Others enjoyed the insider’s view on Microsoft’s remarkable transformation over the past couple of years as told by Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller (Yes, that’s his real title and co-incidentally, I used to work with Steve at Microsoft UK a few years back and can remember when he shared a goal with the team of creating his own role and title – ie, be the job you want!)
As you can imagine, there was also a significant focus on the areas where partners can concentrate on in order to grow their business – Azure, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics. Many resellers I spoke to are just starting to dip their toe into the Azure waters and thus welcomed the wealth of sessions showcasing how to get started, as well as seeking assistance from a partner such as Insentra that can help them design, deliver and manage these solutions.
It was also fun to wander the show floor and chat to all the different exhibitors – several of which I’d heard of, but didn’t really know what they did. In a word – wow, there are so many new vendors launching and bringing innovative solutions to market. Gone are the days of conferences being dominated by the big tin players, these days its all about looking for and offering your customers a point of difference, and working with some of the smaller, niche outfits can really help your business gain that edge.
My personal highlight however was the heart-warming presentation by Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, along with an engaging demo from visually impaired Microsoft employee (and Insentra friend) Kenny Singh, highlighting the way he can now use technology to give him more independence, mobility and above all, dignity. As the proud father of a bright little 4yo boy with cerebral palsy, I was inspired by the way that Microsoft has embraced building accessible solutions and look forward to a world where my son can be all he can be.
And that for me is why we do what we do at Insentra – helping partners to deliver solutions that can change the world (even if only in some small way…)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
National Partnership Manager
I’m a passionate, experienced General Manager who enjoys building and coaching sales teams to success. With an MBA from Australia’s leading business school (AGSM) and 19 years experience in Australia and the UK, I have recently joined Insentra, a rapidly growing Australian success story in the world of channel services. I’ve enjoyed a varied career in IT, building and driving channel strategies for companies such as Microsoft, McAfee and ArrowECS. I’m happiest when helping successful teams to solve problems and truly believe in the mantra of “love what you do and do what you love.”
Key accomplishments by functional area:
– Managing Director level experience and responsibility across APAC (Webroot)
– End-to-end P&L responsibility (Arrow)
– People management responsibility across sales, marketing, finance and operations (Arrow)
– Built and managed a 9-person SMB sales team across three different APAC timezones (McAfee)
– Directly owned and exceeded sales targets of up to $120m (Microsoft, McAfee, Webroot)
– Responsible for channel execution including distribution rebate structures, MDF, training and readiness, compliance and program delivery (Arrow, Microsoft, Tech Pacific, McAfee)
– Experienced in all facets of B2B marketing – segment, brand, product, online and events (MicroWarehouse, Microsoft)
– Sales management including hiring, coaching, forecasting, pipeline control and CxO engagement (Arrow, McAfee)
– Authorised media spokesperson and experienced in public relations engagement (Microsoft, McAfee, Webroot)
– Directly owned marketing budgets of $3.5m (Microsoft)