Allison Watson: Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007

Remarks by Allison Watson, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007
Denver, Colorado
July 10, 2007

ALLISON WATSON: Welcome to WPC, and thank you for being here. I’m honored to host you this year in Denver, because of your personal commitment and dedication, your work, and what you do around the world, Microsoft had a fantastic year. And because of your personal commitment and dedication to what you do, I personally had a great year, and I continue to have the best job in the Microsoft Corporation. So thank you. I look forward to a great number of years together. (Applause.)

I wanted to start the morning by reflecting back on the incredible year that Microsoft just finished, because of you, and because of our product launches, we will have a record set of releases  we’ll have a record year. Microsoft Vista and Office shipping 40 million new PCs in the marketplace. Think about that, 40 million new PCs in the marketplace since we launched the product, and we’re just at the beginning of the wave. The impact that we’ve had since we announced Silverlight, and launched Microsoft Expression, in terms of making impact in the Web environment. Thank you for making this a great year.

It’s also been a great year for partners, because of you we had applications ready for Windows Vista that show off the beauty and the power of that operating system. We had applications ready for mobility to show off the power of taking some new form factors. Because of you, Microsoft was rated the top in providing focus on partner profitability. And, finally, we had an outstanding year in the business applications market, both our ERP businesses and our CRM businesses topping the charts in growth. Thank you again. (Applause.)

I ask every year for you to share stories with me, about the stories about your business, about how you grow, and how you make an impact in the marketplace. It never ceases to amaze me that from those of you represented here today, 130 countries represented in the room today out of 194 in the world, making impacts everywhere you go. I had the great opportunity and pleasure to meet Luna from (Shidoha ?) from (Doha Tech ?) in Bangladesh. She has an amazing story. I would love to let you hear it.

(Video segment.)

Amazing story. (Applause.) So, Luna was connected with a set of special people, the (Traffle Group ?) in the UK is a group that reaches out to help female entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their businesses around the world. And Luna and others joined Microsoft in Voices for Innovation to make an impact on the importance of IT and the protection of IP so that we can try to protect our businesses in the world. But from a personal perspective I love what Luna told me. She said, it was great to get in there because we were competing against the Linux solution, and she said, we just elbowed them right out of there, and it was great to see that energy. And the second thing she said is, she wanted everyone in the room to hear this, she says, Microsoft has an amazingly large ecosystem, and it can be overwhelming sometimes for a partner. It’s a wonder if anyone cares about you in the ecosystem. She said, they care. She said, I was amazed. She said, all it takes, you’ve got to find someone, you’ve got to connect with someone, and all of a sudden your whole life will change. It was a very powerful story, and we’re hoping for great success ahead in Bangladesh.

My second story this year comes from a Pacific Northwest Partner, Jim Beebe, the CEO of Ascentium. He wrote, “Dear Allison, as we close out the fifth year of our partnership, I wanted to personally convey to you the tremendous impact that our relationship with Microsoft has had on our firm.” Ascentium is a U.S.-based marketing and technology consultancy that designs, develops and manages interactive solutions that connect our clients to their customers and partners. At its core, our strategy blends the best of interactive marketing and design with world-class technology capabilities on the Microsoft platform. With our seven Microsoft competencies, we invested early in developing our technical capabilities on the latest 2007 Office system, Dynamics, and Windows Vista platforms. Through the successful collaboration between our growing company of 350 professionals, and countless Microsoft employees from product and partner teams to ATUs, our revenues have grown 500 percent since 2004. Profits have risen consistently in the double digits. We’ve expanded our operations nationally, and we’re listed on the INC 500 for the past two years as one of the fastest growing consultancies in the U.S. We share our successes with you, and together we are translating the power of the Microsoft platform to win the Web. As we started to expand across the U.S., our relationship to the Microsoft field team, specifically with Chris Nee and Carrie Ames have been critical to build momentum in new markets. It is in this spirit of partnership that we wanted to thank you, and your team, for your continued commitment as we look forward to another five years of mutual success. Congratulations Jim and Ascentium. (Applause.)

My final story this year that I wanted to share with you is a story about all of you. The IAMCP is an important organization, third party, that supports and connects Microsoft partners together. The IAMCP in conjunction with IDC conducted a study about the value of partnering together, partners working with other partners to deliver solutions to customers. In a survey of over 14 countries, and over 500 partners, we have some groundbreaking results. IDC and IAMCP found that if you have a strategy with partner to partner as one of your core focuses, and what that means is more than 30 percent of your revenues come from the interactions you have because you’re exchanging business leads with partners, you’re going to have 5 percent higher revenue growth than those that don’t. It was an amazing result, and it focuses on the power, and the truly global impact that you can have with each other in this ecosystem.

I want to thank Per, I want to thank John Pays, and the whole IAMCP chapter for their great work on behalf of Microsoft, and for the great work on behalf of you all in the industry. (Applause.)

I’d like to take a moment to recognize the there partners I just highlighted, they’re out here in the audience with us somewhere. Let’s all give them a round of applause. (Applause.) Somewhere. There they are.

I wanted to start the P2P thing. As you know, one of my priorities for you is that as you go out to our customers, that you are able to tell the integrated story of the Microsoft stack. And often it’s going to take multiple of you in any one engagement to tell the story in a powerful way and to deliver for our customers. So I would like to start this P2P activity of this whole conference right now. I’d like everybody in the room to stand up, and I’m assuming that you’re sitting next to someone you know. So you can’t turn to someone you know. I want you to turn to someone in front of you or behind you, and introduce yourself.

That’s good. All right. You all are well on your way to practicing exactly what you need to do all week. That was fabulous. By the way, thank you for being here early. It is so wonderful to have this room completely packed to the gills. And the people back there, way in the back, they’re going to get here early tomorrow morning, they don’t want to miss this.

So that’s a little bit about Celebration in FY ’07. But, we’re getting ready to launch into FY ’08. And you’re going to hear a lot at this conference about the business things that we’re doing, about the technology that we’re launching. But, I also want you to know that it’s intended this week that you also hear about your feedback to us, and that you continue to give feedback to us.

I hear often, and continually from you, about your skills challenges in the marketplace. I’m asked, what about software plus services, what’s your strategy, and do I have a role as a Microsoft partner. And finally, I’m often asked, what’s the role of my PAM, how do I give feedback on my PAM, how do I work with the account teams, how do I work across the segments. It’s our intent over the course of the next three days to clearly and concretely address those questions, but more importantly to take your continued feedback about these and other areas that you want assistance and focus on from Microsoft.

The final thing I wanted to highlight this morning, and probably the most important thing about you being here, is that you’re here because you all have profitable businesses. You’re here because, because of your relationship with Microsoft, there’s an opportunity for you to grow and expand, and meet your personal goals. We took feedback from you over the years that your profitability is important and that we have to do more about it.

So last year we announced our intent to continue focusing on profitability, and the last 12 months we’ve released nine blueprints, by competency and by solution area, to help you benchmark and understand how partners, who are peers of yours, are doing with their profitability, and what are the core KPIs to focus on as a business leader in your organization, to ensure that you continue to drive success.

We also announced an online tool to help you benchmark your profitability against others of like partner types. We’ve seen great success, and we’ve gotten great feedback from you on this effort, and we’ll continue to invest. At the core it’s a healthy ecosystem from Microsoft that will ensure that Microsoft has continued success in the marketplace.

I encourage you as part of your visit here to take the summit to success challenge inside the Microsoft Partner Program booth, and explore these and others tools to help you grow and maintain the health in your business. And I encourage you as part of all this to have a fantastic week, and a lot of fun, meet a lot of people, and enjoy the energy of helping us change the world. Thank you, and have a great week. (Applause.)

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