Microsoft’s New Commercial Model Objective: Right Resource, Right Customer, Right Time

A deep understanding of the customer’s business is critical to make them successful with digital transformation.

Lynn Haber

July 11, 2017

3 Min Read
Go (to market)

MICROSOFT INSPIRE — With all eyes on a $4.5 trillion digital transformation opportunity, Microsoft is changing its commercial model to two customer segments: enterprise customers, and small and medium business plus corporate customers. It’s also changing how it goes to market, aligning all business units worldwide by industry and technology solution areas. The six prioritized industries are: education, financial services, government, health care, manufacturing and retail. The four solution areas —  modern workplace, business applications, apps and infrastructure, and data and AI —  were outlined in Microsoft Inspire‘s Day 1 keynote session by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.


Microsoft’s Judson Althoff

A new Customer Success Unit (CSU) spread across all solution areas will be available to work with partners to help customers get value out of their cloud solutions. And, heavy investments to Microsoft’s inside sales capabilities will grow its marketing assets, global campaigns, etc., with leads fed to partners.

“There’s one critical element that fuels digital transformation, and that is a deep understanding of the customer’s business. It takes a deep understanding of the customer’s business to make them successful with digital transformation,” Judson Althoff, executive vice president of the worldwide commercial business organization, said during this morning’s keynote.

The One Commercial organization is built around three key areas, all partner-focused: build with, go to market with and sell with, he added.

Toni Townes-Whitely, corporate vice president of industry at Microsoft, expanded on the importance of industry alignment, a vital component of Microsoft’s commercial model, and what it means to partners.

“When I talk about industry, I’m talking about the customer because when you talk about the customer, you have to understand the industry they’re in and what they’re trying to disrupt, what their competitive environment is, what their market is … you’ve got to speak their language and translate it back to your product portfolio,” Townes-Whitely told partners.

How Microsoft and partners go to market together around industry has three key components, beginning with the partner model and how Microsoft engages with partners. “That’s important for industry because it’s important to know what we’re building together for industry. It’s important to know that we’re selling together to industry,” she said.

To that end, there’s a new role at Microsoft, an enterprise channel manager who will be dedicated to the six prioritized industries worldwide. There are also new industry dedicated roles within Microsoft, for example, aligning account teams by industry. Partners will find dedicated account teams, account executives and account managers, business architects and industry architects to drive focus around the prioritized verticals.

Microsoft has also put together new tools and resources, such as solution maps to be used across engineering, and sales and marketing, to lay out solutions against the line-of-business needs of customers.

“And we’re going to build onto those maps, for example, reference architectures so we know how to plug and play our technology with your technology to meet customer demand,” explained Townes-Whitely.

At the end of the day, there are the solutions that target a business outcome. Microsoft will offer targeted solutions for customers within each vertical. So, for example, there are currently nine core solutions within the health vertical. Partner IP and services add value to the core solutions.

“Solutions matter because they array against a customer journey,” said Townes-Whitely. “Looking at the nine core health solutions, for example, I want a standard experience when we go to market together, to be able to engage with the core solutions, with your solutions with any health customer around the world and be able to answer the question, ‘How do you want to be able to engage differently with your patients? How do you want your care team to operate? What’s new on the health care continuum? How do you modernize your operation?’ Those four parts of our digital transformation journey … we want this to be an industry standard experience.”

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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