Reorg for Dummies: Q&A with Microsoft’s Alyssa Fitzpatrick

Microsoft Inspire Day 2
Channel Partners' Lynn Haber

Lynn Haber

Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Programs, Gavriella Schuster, calls Microsoft’s latest reorganization “the biggest change that the company has made to its sales model in more than a decade” – change that both partners and company executives agree was a long time coming.

That’s all well and good, but with massive change comes massive confusion; partners are unsure how this change will impact their partnering experience with Microsoft or their bottom line – especially since the reorganization is resulting in layoffs that target thousands of employees, mostly in the sales organization.

At Microsoft Inspire, the company’s global partner conference being held this week in Washington, D.C., many channel partners expressed uncertainty about whether they still had a partner manager. In some cases partners said that whole partner teams were let go.

Microsoft's Alyssa Fitzpatrick

Microsoft’s Alyssa Fitzpatrick

So, we took the opportunity to chat with Alyssa Fitzpatrick, Microsoft’s general manager, worldwide channel sales, about the new One Commercial Partner business and what Microsoft’s partners need to know about the reorganization. Fitzpatrick joined Microsoft in July 2016, bringing with her 25 years of channel experience at companies such as CA Technologies, Intel Security, Informatica and Oracle.

Channel Partners: Let’s start by taking about the reorganization and what’s most relevant to partners.

Alyssa Fitzpatrick: The most important thing that partners need to understand is that when we created One Commercial Partner in February, the purpose was to bring together all the different organizations within Microsoft that do partnering motions. What we found out when we did that, and in the months since then, was that there were best practices all over the place in the different partnering teams. And, a lot of the best practices were similar because each partner group had built similar go-to-market strategies, engines and programs to support their smaller partner ecosystems.

So, within the bigger partner ecosystem we consolidated all of that. One of the biggest effects is that our programmatic approach has been reduced from over 150 programs down to six core programs. That gives our partners simplicity in their engagement model.

CP: What does this simplicity mean to partners?

AF: The simplicity is not just about what’s going on behind the doors at Microsoft – how we’re organized as one team and not stumbling over each other in the different business groups or segments. Externally the partner experience is simplified. Partners now have a single point of contact rather than having to know how to navigate all of …

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