There is no better way to kick start the year than at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, surrounded by fellow global partners and corporate Microsoft leaders. The atmosphere is filled with energy and excitement as we lead into a week reflecting on the previous year’s highlights and showcasing the latest technology essential for continuing to support and serve our customers.

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group (WPG), took the stage for the first corenote of the week, her emphasis understandably on the power of the Microsoft Partner Network. Home to more than 70,000 organisations, it serves more than 3.5 million customers worldwide.

To much surprise, yet with the gratitude of the audience, Shuster began with an apology.

“As you may know, a couple of weeks ago, we announced changes to the programme competencies and internal use right, and the response from you – our partner ecosystem – was overwhelmingly negative,” Schuster continued, “We clearly underestimated the value of those benefits and the impact that would have on you and your businesses.”

This was bold, this was brave. It demonstrated the power of the Microsoft community but most importantly how deeply Microsoft invest and listen to their partners.

Shuster goes on to define the term partnership as, “The relationship built on commitment, integrity and trust, sparking discussion around what makes a partnership with Microsoft so powerful?”

1. Trust

Technology is the foundation of which trust is built. Microsoft products demonstrate utter security and stability across workloads, which in turn instils confidence for partners to innovate and build upon these platforms. Trust is further recognised in the accountability we have as partners to share our passion for transformation to our customers via our unique cloud services, and solutions.

2. Collaboration

We have all heard it before “Partners make more possible” but Schuster brought this statement to life by sharing the success from 2019 and how this exponential growth has surpassed any previous year. Closely linked was the launch of the Microsoft One Commercial Partner (OCP) program 24 months ago, where doors opened for partners to co-create and co-sell with Microsoft more than ever before. This collaboration has extended the opportunity to create services that are “more repeatable, more scalable and more profitable for everyone”.

3. Investment

If there is one thing that Microsoft demonstrates religiously, it is an on-going investment into the partner ecosystem. Schuster emphasised the unification of Microsoft Partner Centre in creating a well-orchestrated experience for partners. Specifically, the ability to navigate and manage internal processes, accessibly communicate with the Microsoft team and most importantly launch a new route to market via the commercial marketplace filled with partner services and solutions.

Gavriella Schuster says the partnership ecosystem “enables us to make more of a difference, it enables us to make more change in the world”. We are encouraged by her words and the strides that Microsoft have taken over the past 12 months to accelerate mutual partner success and are eager to carry this momentum and achieve more throughout FY20.