Joe Macri, Vice President, UK Commercial Partner at Microsoft, looks back at the recent Partner Summit and reflects on how Microsoft partners can take advantage of new opportunities.
It’s been a month since we got together at our Partner Executive Summit, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on the key messages from the day. Over 600 of you joined us in person and many engaged with the day through our live stream. This is in addition to the hundreds of you who have already attended our regional partner days - thank you for your commitment! However you took part, I think you’d all agree on one thing: it was a fantastic day where we looked at the shared opportunity we have together. If you didn’t manage to get a ticket, please take advantage of the recorded sessions available here.
So, let’s recap what that shared opportunity looks like.
As Michel Van der Bel, President of Microsoft EMEA articulated, our commitment to the UK is strengthening, and we are thankful for your ongoing engagement and drive for our mutual customers. As our partners, you are integral to our mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. Partners make more happen and as our UK CEO, Cindy Rose, stated: “We can be bold because we have an ecosystem, a community of partners. We can’t do this alone. We are only successful when our partners and customers are successful.”
The UK is the fastest growing cloud market in the world – and there’s a £250 billion cloud opportunity over the next decade. We have a combined opportunity to help our customers empower their employees, optimise operations, and engage customers. And the time is now to use data and AI to develop new, exciting solutions to help our customers achieve even more.
At the moment, the UK technology sector is growing faster than the rest of the economy. In 2017, it grew by 4.5 percent compared to 1.7 percent rise in GDP.
How can we help keep this momentum up? It’s all about recognising the importance of connecting and co-creating with each other. That means partners working with partners and customers, not just with Microsoft, so our customers can achieve more and remain competitive in their ever-disrupted industries. As we continually reinforce, customer lifetime value is one of the core outcomes we are all focused on delivering and this is never something we should compromise along the journey.
Making a difference for our customers and our society relies on many things and there are four key areas we focused as we explored how to future-proof our businesses and make positive change. These were digital skills, apprenticeships, diversity, along with ethical AI.
Over 55 percent of our partners now operate in cloud solutions, which is fantastic progression on this journey. Whilst the ability of our ecosystem is growing to drive change and meet demand, around 68 percent of IT teams say they’re facing a shortage of necessary skills. We’ve done a lot of work together to ensure we are able to jointly tackle the growing skills gap. Our digital skills programme is designed to give people the skills that will ensure the country remains one of the global leaders in next-generation technologies. We want our partners to lead with us on this. I’d encourage you to use resources such as the newly launched Microsoft playbook: Recruit, Hire, Onboard, and Retain Talent, and to prepare the UK for the world of tomorrow by signing up for the skills programme. It covers everything you need to know about finding and growing great talent. Download it and see for yourself.
Attracting new talent and developing skills is critical to enable ongoing development and progression across industries. Our commitment to the Apprenticeship Programme is already delivering amazing results: over 7,500 people have completed or are about to complete their apprenticeships either within Microsoft or partner organisations. There’s a particularly important point that resonates here – 92 percent of apprentices stay with the company they started with. Investing in talent has previously been a concern for some organisations, so this really proves that investing in vital talent can be a great long-term advantage to not only the industry, but your business.
Speaking with many of you on the day, I know you found our UK D&I Lead -Derrick McCourt’s session on Diversity & Inclusion as powerful as I did. At Microsoft we have an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion; we truly believe that inclusion brings with it exponential value to all. Derrick shared with you part of the vast amount of work we do to bring this to the forefront of technology. By working closely with teams such as our disability employee resource group, we make sure each innovation and development we produce is naturally accessible. This allows us to empower more, lets you access new talent and makes any workplace adopting the same approach more attractive to new employees and customers.
And, of course, innovation equals opportunity. Right now, there’s a huge opportunity to embed AI into solutions that help solve society’s – and business’s – biggest challenges. Whilst AI presents us with this opportunity, we have to use data and AI ethically and responsibly. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes sense commercially. We heard from Clare Barclay, Chief Operating Office – Microsoft UK, that organisations that invest in values, ethics, and processes for AI perform nine percent better than those who aren’t investing in AI. We are asking everyone to work responsibly with AI. You can learn more about our ethical principles here along with how you can join us on the journey .
As Microsoft, we strongly believe that having a role to play in these four areas will achieve exciting results. We will continue delivering remarkable outcomes and lifetime value for our customers, strengthen skills and subsequently the UK will continue to thrive both socially and economically.
As an ecosystem, partners generate almost £9 of revenue for every £1 of Microsoft revenue, based on the associated services you deliver. This is a fantastic contribution to the industry and value to Microsoft as we continue to deliver the digital future of the UK.
To close, I’m sharing a link to our Partner Pledge – we have real belief in the pledge, regularly promoting and driving this, with our London Partner day being no exception. Commit to learning more about the pledge and sign up to work with us with shared values and priorities. Together we can achieve even more.
If you missed our Partner Summit, or want to revisit the presentations you can watch the sessions here.
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