Microsoft will not refill the partner group manager role left vacant by Steve Haddock, who joined the company’s UK subsidiary last October.
At the time of Haddock’s departure, Microsoft said he would be replaced, but the company has since decided to reallocate this position to the team managing its larger top-tier partners.
This has not resulted in less focus on its wider channel, however, according to Helen Robinson, director for small and midsized businesses and partners. She says that overall the company’s partner team is now larger and more focused.
“We now have a bigger partner team. That means more feet on the street, better communication and relationship management with our partners.”
Haddock oversaw Microsoft’s system builder and distributor channels and its partner programme, but the managers of these three groups now report directly to Robinson. This has raised their level in the organisation and their capability to respond to partners’ needs, she says.
Over the past two months Robinson has also introduced a more formalised partner engagement and business planning model, which stems from a renewed focus from Microsoft on understanding the strategic direction of its partners.
“One of the things that is important to us is how we better understand where our partners are going, what their competencies are and how we help them grow their business,” says Robinson.
Microsoft moved its managed partners under Robinson’s command last year.
“All our partners now fit under one umbrella, as opposed to being split across the organisation as previously,” she says.
It has also turned its partner account managers into partner business development managers.
“They are now the advocates for our partners internally and externally. They are responsible for their partners’ success,” says Robinson.