Q&A: Peter Boit on New Role as Vice President of Enterprise Partners

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 27, 2006 – Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group (EPG) announced today that Peter Boit will fill the newly created role of vice president for Enterprise Partners, effective immediately. Boit will move from his previous role as vice president of the Microsoft Worldwide Commercial Sector group within EPG, where he has spent the past three years developing the team, industry strategy, solutions and partnerships to enhance satisfaction among Microsoft’s commercial customers in the manufacturing, financial services and retail & hospitality industries, and the past year taking the group beyond the U.S. to its current global focus.

Peter Boit, Vice President, Enterprise Partners, Microsoft Corporation

In his new role, Boit will work closely with Simon Witts, corporate vice president of the EPG Worldwide, and Allison Watson, corporate vice president of Worldwide Partner Group, as well as senior business group leaders, to evolve Microsoft’s engagement with enterprise partners around the world and subsidiary Partner Team Units. A 15-year Microsoft veteran, Boit brings extensive field, industry and licensing experience to the role, and is expected to have a major influence as the company delivers upon its partner value proposition for the People-Ready Business.

As part of the announcement, PressPass spoke with Boit to understand his new role and the impact it will have on Microsoft’s work with enterprise partners.

PressPass: What will you focus on in your new role?

Boit: Strategic initiatives are great and important, but execution is what matters. I’m very focused on demonstrating leadership, executing on commitments, getting the model right and replicating it, and ensuring that we drive a win-win situation with our partners.

How do you do that? I believe you have to align on mutual priorities, and also have a very clear road map for how you execute, all the way down into the field with customers. I’ll be working to ensure that we align with our partners when it comes to the market opportunities in the enterprise and that we establish a consistent, predictable and high-value engagement model around the world.

PressPass: How will your past experiences help?

Boit: My focus has always been on developing a strong and broad partner background, incorporating sales, partner alignment, strategic initiatives and bottom-line deliverables that contribute to joint success between Microsoft and its partners. Over the past three years, I have worked with our commercial industries on a worldwide and U.S. level. Before that, I spent time leading other sales businesses, our licensing business and also our Customer and Partner Experience initiative. Strong field leadership experience at subsidiary and global levels, driving sales and broad initiatives that require cross-company mobilization, as well as managing billion dollar businesses — all of that has helped me understand and address the challenges and opportunities that our partners face.

PressPass: What opportunities are you hoping to create for partners through Microsoft’s Platform and Infrastructure for a People-Ready Business?

Boit: People-Ready Business is about unlocking the potential of the largest asset that any company has – its people. People empowered with the right software will propel their businesses forward, and IT creates the most value when it enables people to solve real-world business problems.

The People-Ready discussion enables us to proactively connect with our customers and partners to address the issues and needs they really care about, and to focus on a value proposition that is clearly better.

Our partners need to know what the unique and differentiating opportunity is for them in working with Microsoft. Where can they sell their products and services, in concert with the capabilities that we bring from a platform standpoint, to drive greater business success and satisfaction for our joint customers, and subsequently drive revenue growth?

Without partners, the true value of Microsoft software could not be realized. Partners educate, adapt, support, train, service and build upon Microsoft software to deliver the solutions that help people and businesses win and progress every day.

That means we need to do a better job of sharing with our partners the business scenarios we inherently unlock or enable, so they can join their expertise, solutions and services with ours and enable new capabilities for our customers.

For example, customers want more value from their line-of-business applications. We believe strongly that we can help customers create that value by enabling line-of-business information to be exposed and shared through our platform, especially our collaboration and business intelligence tools. Partners who align with this strategy to create a seamless experience will inherently build more value for their offerings.

PressPass: Today’s announcement talked about “evolving Microsoft’s enterprise alliances.” How will you manage and engage partners broadly to achieve this?

Boit: We will manage the business based on the principle of finding strategic alignment with partners around growth and value creation for our mutual customers. This will involve a set of partners that have demonstrated capabilities and strategic alignment to our initiatives, and we will work hard with those partners to create joint business opportunities that in turn create greater value for our customers. Historically these partnerships have been with our subsidiaries and we have supported these global partnerships from the EPG.

More recently we have seen the need and had success in structuring alliances with partners who don’t necessarily have that global business reach, who predominantly do business in one area of the world, or who have a specific solution capability and value to the customers. 

As examples, we have established structured alliances with Chinese partners to meet the specific needs of China. We have collaborated with companies looking to build businesses in the Unified Communications industry, and have structured alliances to jointly build out their business and deliver specific value to our customers.

Today, we have the opportunity of extending how we work with partners from headquarters in Redmond to a much broader set of enterprise partners globally. This is an area I am personally very passionate about, as it is the way we will drive our strategic initiatives in the enterprise with our partners.

PressPass: From a competitive perspective, and as the new vice president of this business, what concerns you the most?

Boit: What concerns me the most is also what excites me the most — the speed of the business. Are we moving fast enough, anticipating and staying ahead so that we are there when the puck arrives? Are we demonstrating leadership in the marketplace? Are we creating a clear path to success with our partners? Do our customers recognize and understand our joint value proposition with our partners?

I think we’re in a great position to manage whatever the business throws at us. We have some very bright people who are incredibly passionate about what they do. We have people who have been in the partner business eight to 20 years — with a lot of institutional knowledge. They’ve seen us try different things, and they’ve seen what’s worked, so when we develop new ideas, we get to learn from our past, and that’s where the continuity is so great.

We still have to make sure our saw is sharpened and keep things fresh, but that passion around this business, and the institutional knowledge we’ve collectively built over the years about how to best serve our partners, creates a differentiator for us as a company. That is a culture you can’t create on the fly. It doesn’t mean we always get it right, but that commitment to excellence is ingrained in our organization, and it puts us in a great position to meet the challenges of this competitive industry.

PressPass: How do you think your customers and partners will react to this announcement? What change does this mean for Microsoft’s partner community?

Boit: The appointment of the position to a vice president level is a refection on the strategic importance of the role and the EPG’s goal to take the business to another level. It should send a signal of our commitment to our Enterprise partner community’s ongoing growth and success through their relationship with Microsoft. 

I see this as more an evolution and elevation in strategy. We have a strong differentiated value proposition based on a US$20 billion research & development investment that is coming to fruition. We need to clearly delineate what we are selling, why it is better, and what the value proposition is for our partners and our customers. It’s that clear level of accountability – and commitment to our partners’ success – that will allow us to hit the ground running and make a meaningful difference in the enterprise together.

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