IAMCP celebrates amid controversy, growth and opportunity.

Jeffrey Schwartz

July 30, 2019

4 Min Read
Microsoft Partners Reach 25th Anniversary of Independent Advocacy Group

Microsoft’s ill-fated effort to phase out partners’ internal use rights of its software and a plan to raise minimum sales requirements earlier this month abruptly fell by the wayside, thanks to protests from the company’s expansive global channel. Along with an online petition that drew thousands of signatures, the Independent Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) played a pivotal role in persuading the company to retreat from the plan.

The controversy couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Microsoft, rising to fever-pitch in the days leading to Inspire, the company’s annual partner conference, held in Las Vegas. But for the IAMCP, it was the latest effort to flex its muscle and showcase its role as an organization that advocates for Microsoft channel partners. The latest brouhaha surfaced as the IAMCP was preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary at Inspire.

By the time of the IAMCP’s planned party to celebrate on the eve of the conference, Microsoft already had agreed to rescind its plan to sunset internal use rights and the new gold and silver partner tier requirements. Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster and David Willis, corporate VP for the company’s U.S. One Commercial partner program, were among those that showed up at the party to apologize in advance of the apology Schuster made in her opening keynote the next morning.

By raising the ire of partners before rescinding its plans, Microsoft unwittingly emboldened the IAMCP, which has gone through its own peaks and valleys over the past quarter-century. A decade ago, the IAMCP played a prominent role in convincing Microsoft to push back its Master VAR program and the provisions in the then-new Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) that put the squeeze on many smaller partners. In the years that followed, some factions arose, and membership started to decline.

As new leadership ascended, membership has started to over the past several years.


IAMCP’s Jeff Goldstein

“Membership has been growing consistently by a pace of over 20% per year,” said current U.S. president Jeffrey Goldstein, who is managing director of New Jersey-based Queue Associates, a gold Dynamics partner. “I know when I took over the U.S., there were about 650 partners and now we’re very close to 1,000 partners.”

While advocacy comes into play when partners collectively feel Microsoft isn’t acting in their best interests and that of their customers, Goldstein said Microsoft has supported the IAMCP.

“When something comes up, we collect partner feedback in a very professional way, we take it, we consolidate it, we take it back to Microsoft, we present it, and we tell them what the ramifications are, and they listen,” Goldstein said.

The Women in Technology Network

At the same time, the IAMCP and Microsoft have many shared interests. Among them is supporting diversity. The IAMCP helped spawn Women in Technology (WIT), which started off as a luncheon event held at Inspire and grew into a subcommittee within IAMCP, led by Christine Bongard.

In March, the WIT Network spun off as its own organization with Bongard taking over as its president. IAMCP, which subsequently created a Diversity & Inclusion committee, and WIT Network will hold events together.

The WIT Network “is laser-focused on its mission to address the imbalance that exists in the technology industry by supporting women to pursue a career in technology, encouraging more female entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, and helping more women to take up leadership positions,” wrote WIT Network executive director, Julie Simpson, founder and CEO of ResourceIT.

Another key IAMCP focus is encouraging partner-to-partner relationships. While IAMCP has always promoted P2P, it launched a directory of partners who are members. Every member is included but those that want expanded listings can buy them. It does require partners to enter relevant information.

Partnership with CompTIA

Also last year, the IAMCP formed a pact with CompTIA. IAMCP members seeking CompTIA certifications are eligible for rate discounts and rebates. Joe Padin, CompTIA’s VP for public and private sector business development, discussed the partnership at last month’s meeting of the IAMCP’s New York City chapter.

Padin talked up what CompTIA’s offers, including research, events, education and most notably skills certification for IT pros and those seeking advanced cybersecurity skills.

“We work very closely; we’re a feeder to Microsoft to other organizations,” Padin said. “If you’re talking to an IT professional, they most likely have had some sort of CompTIA training and/or certification. Then they either go into a more specialized vendor-neutral cert body, and a lot go into vendor-specific programs.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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