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Partners Speak to Microsoft’s Rodney Clark Departure and New Requirements Controversy

Our MSPs weigh in on Clark’s sudden exit, and the shakeups and challenges the new NCE program has presented.

Allison Francis

May 18, 2022

7 Slides

The channel is abuzz with the news of Rodney Clark unexpectedly exiting Microsoft as global channel chief. Microsoft’s corporate vice president for global partner solutions Nick Parker, to whom Clark reports, revealed the unexpected news on Monday.

A longtime Microsoft company veteran, Clark took over as the company’s channel chief last year, replacing Gavriella Schuster. Clark shared news of his planned departure on his LinkedIn profile.

Exits and Angst

Clark’s departure understandably rocked the channel a bit, especially considering he doesn’t yet have a replacement lined up. The announcement also highlights the controversy surrounding Microsoft and its channel challenges amid the recent rollout of its New Commerce Experience for Microsoft 365.

As a refresher, the tech giant pushed back the date when legacy subscriptions for Microsoft 365 and other big packages have to be bought through the New Commerce Experience. This rather abrupt switch indefinitely delayed the final phase of the plan to move Azure purchases to NCE.

Addressing Partner Pain Points

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Microsoft’s Tyler Bryson

At last month’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Tyler Bryson, Microsoft corporate vice president of global partner solutions, U.S., addressed the challenges and partners’ hesitancy to accept them.

We know change is hard.” He went on to emphasize: “This is not the removal of benefits for anyone. This is about starting, in October, a means for our partners to really start to differentiate themselves in our six course solution areas.”

Bryson also underscored that the company has created the new program to enable growth for the company and its partners.

“There’s so much more to do together,” he said. “Left to right, we have six $10 billion businesses now that our partners can designate themselves as ready for market. And that’s what we want to do, is open up those routes to market for you.”

Outcomes, My Dear Watson

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Microsoft’s Rodrigo Kede Lima

At the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2022 event this week, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and President for Latin America Rodrigo Kede Lima addressed these changes.

“Microsoft has dramatically changed over the past few years. It went from a product company, to what I call an outcome company. So we are a company now that wants to solve complex business problems for our customers. We are a company that wants to help our customers to address huge market opportunities.”

Lima also addressed the fact that Microsoft has shifted from being a product company to an outcome company.

“Our aim, truly, is to be trusted business advisers who help solve complex business problems. We want to help customers capture the market opportunity to do that.”

With the news of Clark’s departure, we asked partners to share their insights on the exit, and how that factors into their perception of the program switcheroo.

Click through the gallery above to see what they had to say.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Allison Francis or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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