3 Important Partner Takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2019
… the strong economy and favorable conditions. Microsoft partners’ stock is rising with that of Microsoft itself, and major partners are attracting interest from global financial firms and strategic partners. Immediately before the conference, Microsoft Partner of the Year Finalist in three categories HSO announced a minority investment from the The Carlyle Group. Many of the partners I had discussions with had experienced or were in discussions regarding their own potential transactions. The fast-growing market, the scale, and the expansion of partner programs creates the perfect market for partner consolidation. I expect deal volume to continue on its upward trend and end the year higher than 2018. (One prospective deal that was discussed between many partners was the potential for Microsoft to buy ServiceNow, a service management software-as-a-service company. The prevailing sentiment was that it would be a good match, but that Microsoft had missed its window and that it is now too expensive.)
Microsoft Inspire is a chance for the company to highlight its long-term strategy and direction — and this year, it’s clearer than ever that it’s on the right track. Satya Nadella has created an environment for Microsoft and its channel to succeed today, and laid the groundwork for partners to thrive in a post-transition world. Today, Microsoft’s partner program brings in $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue. But its true value — as a differentiating factor and a force multiplier — is incalculable, a fact not lost on the many buyers looking to secure or grow their own Microsoft presence through strategic acquisition.
I’m excited for Microsoft’s new fiscal year and I already can’t wait for the discussions to come at Inspire 2020.
Matthew Putzulu is vice president at MartinWolf M&A Advisors. With over seven years of IT M&A experience, he has advised in both buy- and sell-side transactions across multiple countries. He heads the firm’s Microsoft partner practice and has worked with a range of clients including Fortune 500 firms and recognized industry leaders. Follow him on LinkedIn or @mw_advisors on Twitter.