… get into the business of managed services, something they couldn’t do before.
Many tools that we’ve provided through our cloud services and CSP [Cloud Solution Provider] program enable [partners] to be able to manage on behalf of the customer over the cloud.
Partners should also think about industries or horizontal solutions, and being very prioritized around that. It’s very different to be running a business that focused on modern workplace as a service versus a business that focused on providing infrastructure and the applications that a customer may need, the security, and the manageability. What do they want to deliver and what is their core value?
CP: What’s Microsoft’s biggest challenge regarding its partners? What does Microsoft have to do to keep the partner satisfied?
GS: I think the biggest challenge is the enablement, ensuring that they have a way to continue to skill up the talent of their people and hire great talent. We have a talent gap in the marketplace today, particularly around data scientists, with the new wave of machine learning and AI; we need more of those and there’s just not enough in the market.
So, how do you transfer knowledge from people who have like knowledge today or grow new talent, and how do we help partners keep up with the technology changes and keep up with the road map of the innovation that we’re doing, so that [partners] can make the most of the innovation that we provide?
There [are] a lot of changes happening very rapidly and most of the mechanisms for communication can get overloaded. So how do we keep it clear and yet provide them with the right resources, such as just-in-time trainings, and get the training into media, like massive open online courses where they can consume it as they need it, whether they’re working on projects with customers or building applications?
CP: Other challenges that partners need to address?
GS: When I talk about the top partner opportunities … they’re around artificial intelligence, getting into the data of their customers … if they can help the customer unlock their data, that’s going to be a huge value to the customer. New legislation, such as [General Data Protection Regulation] in Europe, I think, is really going to impact companies across the U.S. They have to figure out how they get their data out of the manual state and out of these locked libraries, and into a common data format, because they’re going to have to use it for GDPR.
So, [it’s] taking advantage of that opportunity and helping a customer see that they’re unlocking a set of opportunities around that once they do unlock that data, and now they can use it in ways that they’ve never imagined is a huge opportunity for our partners.
The other huge opportunity for our partners is …