Phil Sorgen: Worldwide Partner Conference 2015 (Part 1)

Remarks by Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Channel, in Orlando, Florida, on July 13, 2015.

ANNOUNCER:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, Phil Sorgen.  (Applause.)

PHIL SORGEN:  Good morning, and welcome to the 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference.

Wow, what a way to start the morning.  Special thanks to Recycled Percussion for that incredibly energetic and innovative show.

Well, it’s not every day that I get to stand in front of more than 12,000 of my favorite partners.  And I’m honored to be here with you this morning to kick off the Microsoft fiscal year.

I also want to thank you for all your contributions to our business, and all the world-class solutions you deliver to our shared customers.

Your success means everything to us, and I’m so appreciative of you taking the time and making the investment to join us this week at the Worldwide Partner Conference to explore opportunities with us and with each other.

Now, before we go any further, I want to recognize some outstanding performances from within our partner ecosystem.  Through the Worldwide Partner Conference Partner of the Year awards we had thousands of submissions.  And I’ll tell you, there were some amazing customer stories represented by many of you here today.  But through a comprehensive review process, and a difficult one at that, we narrowed it to a group of special folks sitting right in front of me today.  These partners represent the best in all of us.

So please join me in congratulating the 2015 Partner of the Year award winners!  (Applause.)

I want to thank you all so much for your commitment to our customers and for being an amazing example of what a partner in the Microsoft ecosystem can do.

Why are we here?  Candidly, the opportunity is huge.  IDC forecasts the all-up cloud services business to be 200 billion by 2018.  And to put that into growth terms for you, that represents a compounded annual growth rate of five times the rest of the IT market.

And you know what, Microsoft has really big ambition for what we can achieve, and we have really big ambition for what you can achieve with us.

And that last point is really important, because IDC tracks the revenue in this industry as to how much goes to the channel and how much goes direct.  And in their latest report, 92 percent of all Microsoft revenue is through our partner ecosystem versus 39 percent for the rest of the IT market.

And we’re going to continue to invest to make sure we can go after that growth opportunity.  And I want to remind you of the four ways we invest in this partner ecosystem every single year.  And I only start with the importance of delivering world-class products and services that our customers want and that you can build a profitable business around.  And to support that we’ll invest over $11 billion in R&D to continue to have the best pipeline of innovation in the industry for you to build opportunity around.

The second area that we’re focused on is creating markets, creating markets for you to be successful in.

Now, we have the global reach to drive broad awareness, and we know that’s important, because when a customer has a preference for a Microsoft solution, it drives down your cost of sale and increases your sales velocity.

But we won’t stop there.  I can tell you that we will launch campaigns around the world like ModernBiz and Empowered by Digital that will help grow your business and help drive more customer reach.

The third area is enabling your business, and we know that’s important given the cycle of innovation, the pace of innovation in this industry today.  And Microsoft Partner Network is at the center of how we invest in enabling you.  We’ll continue to invest heavily in assets like Internal Use Rights, Signature Cloud Support, training and so much more.

And the last pillar is that last mile of sales and marketing execution.  We’re proud of the fact that we have over 3,000 Microsoft employees in our subsidiaries around the world that are solely focused on our shared success.  That’s an industry benchmark that we take pride in.

So over the course of this week we’re going to share a number of examples of programs and enhancements to existing programs that are going to help you drive growth.  And I want to share a few examples of those right now.

I want to start with one we introduced at Worldwide Partner Conference in a limited release a year ago, and that’s the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program or CSP.  Today, we fully launch the CSP program in 131 countries, available to more partners, with greater capability, across all of our cloud services.

Now, I’ll ask you to stay tuned, because at the end of this vision keynote this morning, John Case has more to share with you on that.

We’re humbled by the interest from our customers in our Surface products, and we’re also humbled by the interest from many of our partners in having that as a part of their portfolio.

With the help of our distribution partners, today we’re announcing that we’ll be expanding the Surface reseller program from a couple hundred resellers today to a few thousand around the world over the coming months.  And over the course of this week there will be a couple of breakout sessions available for those interested to learn to become a Surface reseller.

We’re going to continue to invest in mobility, announcing the fifth in our line of cloud performance path competencies with the introduction of EMS that will be available in September.

For our ISV partners we’re simplifying the process for you to qualify for the cloud platform competency through our new app certification process.

And we’re going to continue to invest in resources to help drive your profitability.  The most recent that we’re releasing is 20 scenarios that represent opportunities for you to build practices in your business around.  And for each scenario we’re providing best practices and a financial model so you can make the best choices and learn from the experience of others.

I can tell you throughout this week you’re going to see proof positive of how we’re investing across all four of these pillars.

Now, I want to move to the vision keynotes and talk about how you can participate this week.  And you can see the agenda on the screens above.  Today, in just a few minutes, our CEO Satya Nadella is going to take the stage and share his vision for Microsoft, as well as the three bold ambitions he’s laid out for this company.  Then we’re going to drill into each of those, and we’ll wrap up this morning’s session with some announcements around how we can grow our business together.

You can see on Wednesday it’s all about you, with several Microsoft leaders talking about how to tackle the change and dynamic market that we’re in around cloud solutions.

And then Kevin Turner, our chief operating officer, will take the stage and share how we can achieve more together and get the fastest start possible to this fiscal year.

I also want to point out the fact that we have over 20 general sessions and over 450 breakout, panel and workshop sessions for you to participate in.  I encourage you to build a custom agenda that really aligns to the topics most important to you, so you can get the greatest return on this week.

And the last thing I want to point out is connecting with us and each other.  I hope you’re plugged into the WPC Connect tool, because every year over 40,000 meetings are scheduled through that tool between you and the 3,000 Microsoft employees that are attending this conference with you, and between partners who are discussing new opportunities together.

The great thing about this partner conference is business gets done here.  That’s our expectation, and that should be yours, and that’s what makes WPC so special.

So let me just close by saying we are fortunate to participate in the most vibrant industry on the planet, and success is ours for taking.  Make the most of every moment this week.  I know I will.  This conference is truly about how we can achieve more together.

Thank you, and I’ll see you throughout the conference.  (Applause.)