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​Interview: Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President - Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft

​Interview: Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President - Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft

Discusses the Australian Cloud market and Windows 10

Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President - Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft

Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President - Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft

ARN sat down with Microsoft's global channel boss at Microsoft's Australian Partner Conference 2015 to discuss Australia's culture of innovation, Cloud uptake and how partners can leverage that better with Windows 10.
Tell us a bit about your role, and what you’re looking to achieve in the next year?

My role gives me responsibility for all our commercial channel at MS.

We have the good fortune to have a large and successful partner ecosystem, and we believe that our ecosystem will be the key to our success in this mobile first, Cloud first world.

Driving transformation and ensuring that we have the capacity that is aligned to the solutions and capabilities that we’re bringing out to market for our partners.

As you’re investing in new services and bringing new capabilities out, your route to market is broken if you don’t have the capability to both sell and to explain, to articulate the value proposition to customers. To extend and provide the solutions, not only to provide the services. And that’s what each one of our channel country leads, like Phil [Goldie], is doing. To make sure we have the right capacity and we’re putting the right programmes in place to help them move forward.

Phil’s team and my team have regular interactions, so there’s a very direct line between the partner teams in Australia and other teams in our worldwide partner group.

You’ve mentioned that Australia is quite advanced in Cloud compared to other regions, why do you think that is?

It stems from a market that has a long history of innovation. The ISVs and the applications being developed here, they haven’t only built a business in Australia, they’ve expanded their business models to be successful overseas in other markets. That strong technical talent, those capabilities have extended through the whole ecosystem.

How much has the launch of Azure locally ramped up your Australian partner’s projects in the last year?

The culture of Innovation started way before we had the datacentres on soil.

We don’t have a datacentre in every region we operate. And not every company in every country cares about whether their data is on or offshore. They care more about response, redundancy and all of the benefits that come with Cloud – the speed of innovation, geo-redundancy.

The Cloud democratises IT. It gives capabilities that some customers just didn’t have the IT infrastructure to develop themselves.

Microsoft has a good reputation in the market for offering support when compared to rivals, do you think that has helped accelerate the changes in the market?

Partnering is in our DNA. Our direct/indirect mix is signfiicantly higher on the partner side. That’s by choice, by design and by strategy.

When you make that decision that partnering is how you go to market, then you demand professionalism and expertise that we try to bring to our partner programmes. We’re not perfect, we’re continuously focused on getting better.

How does Windows 10 tie into your partner programmes?

We have focused on helping partners achieve profitability, focused on business attributes.

We’re ushering in the era of more personal computing, Windows 10, universal apps, Cortana and voice and Hololens - we’re quite excited by the partner opportunity.

Even the security model, Microsoft has invested in partner organisations so they know how their data is being used, and making sure they can make the right choices. A lot of that is built into the capabilities of Windows 10.

Windows 10 has already been a success in the consumer market, how is enterprise taking to it?

The enthusiasm is definitely there. But, its about what they build around it. Our partners love the technology, but at their core they have to produce a profitable business model.

App development is under way. And the idea of a universal app is appealing to our developer community. Those that are creating first party IP are very excited. Windows 10 has amazing interaction with the Cloud. Extending those opportunities brings our Cloud partners to the table as well.

The other side is hardware – not necessarily OEM, but when you start thinking about the Internet of Things. That’s a whole other partner ecosystem that we’re working with around the world.

The third is your system integrator, we help them manage deployment, but security and identity management is at the core of what they are focused on. We have had a huge advancement of the security in Windows 10.

What is one of the best partner examples that best exemplifies what you’ve discussed here today?

Its impossible to pick one, I’ve seen so many partners using our ecosystem to turn business models on their head. Product-as-a-Service is one – there are so many companies that have done Sharepoint intranet development, as an example, for years and years. Now they are delivering the intranet as a service, with regular updates and based upon user pricing, and some are even going so far as to charge based on engagement.

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