A group of Microsoft partners from across North America and beyond have come together to create MPOWR (Microsoft Partners for One World of Results), a new online community devoted to partner business and professional development.
The group is distinguishing itself in its focus on business development, said Bill Luisi, vice president of sales for Irving, Tex.-based Microsoft partner Teknion Data Solutions, a founding member of MPOWR.
“We want to empower partners with information, with tools to help them grow their business,” Luisi said. “We’re focused on growth, profitability and helping partners throughout the Microsoft ecosystem. We want to make them smart salespeople and smarter businesspeople.”
The group has engaged with association management company SmithBucklin to build its community. “We’re not experts in building organizations, we just have a passion to do something that hasn’t been done before,” Luisi said.
Luisi said MPOWR isn’t targeting any particular size or type amongst Microsoft’s 600,000-plus worldwide partners, but acknowledged that the group’s value proposition probably comes across better to small- and medium-sized partners.
“Your big regional or national SIs might not find the same value in it that [smaller partners] will, but they’re certainly welcome to join. We’re keeping it very, very open,” he said.
The group launches with a pair of online offerings – a Web portal that will serve as the hub for its community and a digital magazine, MPOWRment.
The site (built on Microsoft SharePoint 2010, naturally!) includes conversation forums, special interest groups (Luisi himself is championing one on building partner-to-partner connections), and a variety of online tools.
The debut edition of the group’s digital magazine also tackles the partner-to-partner issue, as well as features on Microsoft’s HyperV virtualization technology and what it means to “Go Bold.”
Membership in the community is free for the first year, and potentially beyond. In a different kind of model, members receive MPOWRpoints for participating on the Web site, joining special interest groups within the community, engaging in the conversation, recruiting new members and the like. Earn enough MPOWRpoints and next year’s membership is free.
Currently, the group is focused on the North American market, but the group clearly has global aspirations. “One of the founding board members is from Brazil, and he wants to make sure it doesn’t stay in just North America,” Luisi said. “We want to close the gap between what happens here in North America and in the rest of the world. Our world, as we all know, has shrunken dramatically, and the idea of using this as not only a localized interaction but a global one is going to really change the dynamic of our organization.”
The group is going to remain primarily virtual in nature, but will encourage members with common goals or interests in the same area to get together in their own communities.