A look forward at MPN and a little slamming of the competition for WPC day three
TORONTO – You’d be hard-pressed to find two executives more different in style, tone, and volume level than Microsoft channel chief Jon Roskill and chief operating officer Kevin Turner.
And yet, that’s precisely the lineup Wednesday morning, as Microsoft’s collected and thoughtful channel chief leads things off, followed by Turner, who in recent years has made his name as a public speaker on out-Ballmering Steve Ballmer.
Roskill’s agenda: an update on the Microsoft Partner Network as it reaches its second anniversary, including the company’s “tweaks” to the program heading into its “biggest launch year ever.”
Turner’s agenda: The same as every year at WPC, expect the COO to deliver a sharp-witted teardown on the company’s competitors.
And of course, I’ll be liveblogging it all here.
Expect the liveblog to start updating at around 9:00 am, as things get underway at the ACC.
Getting the morning underway, out comes Microsoft worldwide channel chief Jon Roskill. He’s starting out with a bit of a “roll call” by nation/region — seeing who made it in after last night’s regional parties throughout Toronto.
“Other companies will tell you they’re partner-driven, but the numbers don’t lie,” Roskill says, showing a chart that shows Microsoft at 95 per cent of revenues by channel, compared to 75 per cent for VMware. (And 30 per cent for Cisco? That doesn’t seem right.)
“You really are the best sales force in the world,” he tells partners.
“In FY13, those two phenomena are coming together into one,” Roskill says, with Windows coming, and all of its products “cloudified.”
Roskill detailing changes being made to the program, says the most frequent partner requests are “spectacular” products, better field engagement, and “the path to profitability in the cloud.”
The product side has been well covered, the last few days. Now it’s time to pay attention to the sales engagement model.
Roskill says Microsoft is doing a number of things to strengthen field engagement during FY13. That starts, he says, with an “up-skilling” of the company’s partner account managers to help move the discussion up. The company is also focusing its Partner Technical Advisors on helping partners build new practices.
The company is also adding tele-sales and solutions sales specialists to help partners find and close deals, respectively.
“We are introducing a new cloud revenue hurdle” for the Microsoft field sales team, so that field sales reps will not make their bonuses until they meet their cloud revenue requirements, Roskill tells partners.
And now “the big one,” the path to partner profitability in the cloud.
First, there’s Office 365 Open, which means “Microsoft has the broadest array of cloud business models” available. “We align with your business.”
The company’s incentive budget for partners is growing by more than 0 million to .2 billion — and those 0 million are being targeted at cloud and solutions incentives, growing by 40 per cent in FY2013. “These are some of the richest programs we’ve ever offered,” Roskill says.
“It comes down to this — we’re betting our business on you because we know you have what it takes,” Roskill says.
“It’s time to make this move together,” he said. “You’ve got what it takes now. It’s all right there sitting in front of us. It’s time to go get it.”
He says he needs partners to “not hold back,” and “go big and go back” for FY13. “Don’t hold back, don’t hold back, don’t hold back,” he concludes.
And after that ‘softer’ pep-talk, it’s time for the higher-volume, higher-intensity pep-talk. Oh look, here comes COO Kevin Turner!
“What a year we’re wrapping up, and what an opportunity we have in this new year,” Turner says.
And he launches into reviewing his prediction for its 2012 fiscal year.
First of all, cloud revenues were up more than 100 per cent, “and we’re just getting started.”
Deployment is “at an all time high” with Windows 7, with more than half of desktops on Win7 and Office 2010 also succeeding.
Hyper-V “is winning share” against VMware, he says, and SQL is leading in unit share.
And perhaps most tellingly, the company’s customer satisfaction with Microsoft and partners is “at an all-time high,” up 5 points year-over-year.
“Across that four-point gameplan, we had a heck of a year together and collectively,” Turner says.
Businesses are going “more and more multi-channel” he says, and Microsoft sees a unique opportunity to bring things to market in multiple ways.
There’s also an opportunity in a more connected world to drive deeper engagement and get more and more timely feedback from customers.
“As we ground ourselves in the business trends and the technology trends, we think [fiscal 2013] is a unique opportunity because it’s a new era.” Between product release cycles, Microsoft has historically gone into “grind it out” mode, Turner says. And it’s been good at it.
“But the reality is, in FY13, we think we need to re-think the approach, and we think our partners need to re-think the approach,” he says.
FY13 represents a new opportunity for partners to reimagine themselves, he says — urging partners to think of what they’d do with their business if today was their first day in business.
“We believe this is an incredible opportunity in FY13,” he says.
Some things won’t change, he pledges. The company will continue to invest in the long term when it comes to both innovation and execution.
Those focuses “allowed us to get through” the period leading up to these new opportunities.
The company’s vision is not to have “a continuous cloud service for every person, every device, and every business,” he says.
While most if its peers pulled back on R&D from 2008 to present, Microsoft, he says, throttled up, looking at it as “an investment in your future and our future.”
“That investment has enabled this innovation wave like we’ve never seen before,” Turner said. “Every single product in our portfolio is being refreshed and launched in a 12-month cycle. It’s unprecedented.”
This is the culmination of five or six years of momentum-building, Turner says. “It’s all been in preparation for this year,” he says.
Now, it’s all about execution.
“I believe our collective execution this year is critical to both of our well-beings for the next five to seven years,” he says.
The first goal is to land Windows 8 successfully – to get businesses and consumers interested, to make sure the hardware is there, and to make wsuere the apps are there.
On the cloud front, Turner says Microsoft has to “win the data centre, private, public and hybrid cloud, and “Win with Office 365 every time.”
Other opportunities: Deployment, telling the Microsoft consumerization of IT story, growing SQL by “rescuing” customers from rivals, and building support for the Dynamics business software offerings.
With Windows 8, for the very first time, it’s the first interface from the desktop to the phone to the tablet to the television, Turner says, in the Metro user interface.
“Nobody’s ever done it before, but we’re doing it,” he said. “It’s a reality. It’s happening this year, and we have an opportunity to take advantage of that.”
For the first time at WPC, Turner reminds partners that there’s a way OUT of Metro for those who want to use a more traditional Windows experience.
Windows 8 will be the most secure and manageable version of Windows ever, he pledges.
Turner talking through the Microsoft consumerization of IT strategy:
First, “have great Windows-based devices that people love,” mostly from the company’s hardware OEM partners.
Second, have great security and management, with System Center offering management of not only Windows-based devices, but “the other guy’s” devices.
Third, “the greatest productivity story of all time,” between Office, Office 365, Skype, Yammer and more.
And fourth, “do all of it with a unified application development environment” that lets developers program in whatever language they prefer, and publish through the app store.
“This is a winning strategy, and I’m excited about bringing it to life with you over just the next few months,” Turner says.
Turner says Microsoft is going to celebrate the 15th birthday of Windows XP in April 2014. “And then we’re going to put it to sleep. May it rest in peace.”
The marching orders: Get XP machines updated to Windows 7 and Windows 8.
“It’s been a great operating system, but the reality is, it’s time for it go,” he says. “We are not going to extend the end-of-life for Windows XP. This is it. It costs us, and them, far too much to support it.”
The quickest way to Windows 8 is to move to Windows 7, Turner says, since any Windows 7 machine will run Windows 8, calling the upgrade from XP cycle a “ billion-plus opportunity” for partners.
Onto the cloud.
“I love our cloud solutions. I love our cloud story,” Turner says.
There are two things in helping customers move to the cloud:
1) Is Active Directory completely deployed and up-to-date? If not, customers need to be helped to get it deployed.
2) Getting System Center completely deployed.
“When we have these two things, we can take a customer to the cloud any minute they’re ready,” Turner says.
He also urges partners to remember there are three distinct clouds in the Microsoft world: private, public and “the most commonly-adopted cloud we have,” the hybrid model.
“We, with our partners, help our customers build the cloud on their terms, at their pace,” Turner says, and that’s a key differentiator against key.”
He notes that the company needs more partners to make the shift to the cloud — while Microsoft is bringing 1,000 new partners a month into the cloud world, but he wants “10,000, 30,000, 50,000 of you” to make the shift. “We need every single one of you with us, all the time, in the cloud. Office 365 is our collective future,” Turner says.
And Google has its eye on that future, which leads us into the “Google Apps is the tip of the iceberg” message from Turner.
“Winning with Office 365 is the most critical thing we need to do inside the enterprise. I need you to get knowledgeable about our products and services, as well as what the competition is pitching. I need you to be proactive, to drive and own that customer agenda, to get aggressive on high-risk workloads.”
If partners need help winning a deal versus the competition, Turner says partners should escalate it all the way to him.
Onto the virtualization space, “a journey that we got started a little late.”
But the company is closing in on 27 per cent market share, Turner says, and growing at twice the rate of VMware.
“I know there are partners sitting in this room that are still hanging on to the VMworld,” Turner says. But now, “our momentum is picking up, and for the first time, we grew at such a rate that they actually lost share this past quarter.”
“For all of those hanging on, you’re late, but we still love you. Come on, get on board.”
Time for SQL, “the leader in usage share,” as Turner puts it.
But while it’s been best-known for the mass of smaller desktops, “we’re moving up the stack” with partnerships like that with SAP.
“There isn’t a customer our there that doesn’t want to get rescued from Oracle. So we’ve got a real opportunity to show them the value,” Turner says, comparing a k SQL Server deployment to 0k for Oracle or 0k for DB2.
Which brings us to the topic of Big Data.
Microsoft is shipping a hosted or on-prem Haddop option for Big Data. “We have an incredible story to share, and we’d love to work with you if you have an interest in working with us. We’re going to win big in this space as well.”
Sharepoint “may actually get knocked out” as the fastest-growing product in the history of Microsoft, as Office 365 is about to take its crown.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to bring the social enterprise to life,” he says. “But we need your help to bring this to life for our customers. We have the solution, let’s get after it.”
Onto another “partner capacity” opportunity – “We need partner support” when it comes to Dynamics CRM Online.
“We’ve got a better value proposition, we’ve got a better solution. Get on board with CRM, it’s red-hot,” Turner says.
On security, Turner says that over the last year, Oracle had 497 known vulnerability, Apple 360, Google 324, and Microsoft was “best in class” with 231.
“Think for a moment with me how significant this is. Think of our footprint compared to theirs,” he says.
Turner puts his attention to Apple, first showing a very funny little video with Siri being asked about the best smartphone in the world, and answering with a Windows Phone.
And now showing off the bad reviews that Mountain Lion is getting — but here’s the interesting part: Turner says that the kind of reviews Apple is getting for Mountain Lion are exactly the kind of reviews Microsoft was getting a few years ago, before it re-oriented the company and “re-imagined Windows” for what will be coming out with Windows 8.
“We believe that they have it wrong,” when they talk about the Post-PC Era, Turner says — Microsoft believes Windows 8 opens the door for the “New Era of the PC-plus.”
Turner confirms an expansion of Microsoft Stores internationally, including Toronto in time for the holiday season. Also launching in Puerto Rico and “pop-up” stores or kiosks for the holiday season, to capitalize on the Windows 8 launch.
Turner says Microsoft “is just getting started” with its its recent customer satisfaction highpoints.
“With all this technology and everything we have, we’ve got to change ourselves. We’ve got to change personally, as much as the technology and the environment is changing around us,” he says. “This new era means a lot of exciting things. It means that we’ve got to be really sensitive about the stories we tell ourselves. Focus on what we control, because the stories that we tell ourselves are the stories we eventually tell others.”
“We’re moving out of grind-it out mode, we’re moving out playing defense,” Turner says. “We’re playing to win every time, we’re on offense every time.”
His call to action: Partners need to think about doubling their business, growing share, growing profitability “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we’ve got to make the most of it,” he says. “As a company, as a partner ecosystem, we have a piece of us that is self-critical. And I’m okay with that. But I’d like to make sure that you see things as they are, not worse than they are.”
“Stay self-critical, but also embrace this new, unique opportunity,” he says.
Microsoft is on the offensive, and will respect, but not fear, competitors.
“This is our time to drive the conversation,” he says.
With that, and with thanks to the company’s partners, he shares his e-mail address with partners, and calls it a presentation.
“The next 12 months are going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward, and I hope you are too.”