Welcome to our New Microsoft Partner Area Leads (PALs) for 2012-2013


I am delighted to officially announce our new Microsoft PALs for 2012-2013!


What is a PAL?

Partner Area Leads are the spokespeople for the Small Business Community and smaller Partners who would like to engage more closely with Microsoft.  PALs have regular contact with Microsoft, are Partners themselves, and will be instrumental within their local Small Business Community.  These are people that have an incredibly valuable insight into small IT companies in the UK and can credibly feedback to Microsoft about ways we can improve the Partner experience, about products and services, and any other area of the Microsoft business.

PALs are not paid by Microsoft and give their own time to support the community and the small businesses they work with, this is done from a passionate belief in the community.

I encourage you to reach out to this year’s PALs with any feedback  you have for Microsoft – or any questions you have around our products, services, and how you can grow your business by working with us or selling Microsoft Online Services.

The UK PAL’s are…

For 2012-2013, the UK has three PAL’s. They are:-


  • imageGuy Gregory of London based The Final Step – Guy has served the UK as a PAL since 2011 and has been an active part of the Worldwide community for much longer. Always giving of his time and expertise, Guy is the first person many of us turn to for advice and guidance on Microsoft’s Cloud Services.
  • imageAndy Parkes of Coventry based iBIT Solutions – Andy has acted as group lead of AMITPRO, the Midlands User Group for more than two years. In that time he’s travelled the country to give his time freely with presentations on Sharepoint – thus he’s been dubbed “Mr. Sharepoint” by our community.
  • imageRobert Gibbons of Think4 IT Solutions based in Manchester – In 2011, Robert took over as group lead of the Manchester SBSC Group. Since then he’s transformed the group, doubling attendance and encouraging new members.



Our three new PALs are truly influential leaders within the Small Business Community in the UK, and it is a pleasure to formally announce their role as PALs this year.  I look forward to working with all three and helping them to help you to grow your Microsoft business.

A word from our new PALs:


“Hi, my name’s Guy Gregory, and I work in a technical role for a Microsoft Partner called The Final Step in Central London. I’m a returning PAL and have worked within the SBSC community since running the AMITPRO group with Andy Parkes three years ago. Since my move to London, I now regularly attend, and have presented to the London SMB IT Pro group.

Last year, my main contribution as a PAL was providing input to the new Small Business Competency. I personally campaigned for cloud benefits like ‘Admin on Behalf’ to be made available to all levels of Microsoft Partner, not just the larger ones. I was also one of the many Partners who relentlessly provided feedback that the billing model for Microsoft Online Services should be changed to allow Partners to invoice direct, bringing it in line with other MSP offerings.

This year, I’m keen to bring more unity between the various stakeholders in the UK SMB community. We have great people working in this space, particularly the User Group leads, MVPs, Bloggers and SMB champions within Microsoft itself. We can do so much more if we work together, and I aim to assist that process through both online and in-person networking. If you’d like to get in touch, please email me, follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn.”


Robert -

“Since January 2012 I have been coordinating the SBSC North West Community Group and have raised its profile within the IT Support industry. The group has a good following with 75% regular attendance from its members. Whilst establishing the group I have worked closely with some of my Microsoft contacts and other influential members in the industry who have helped the SMB/SBSC Communities and Think4 get where we are today. Unbeknown to me I was nominated along with Guy Gregory and Andy Parkes to represent the UK as a Partner-Area-Lead (PAL) for Microsoft. I have accepted the role as it’s an honour to be recognised by Microsoft. Although this will be additional work to my Think4 hours I am ready for the challenge.

Being a PAL I am looking forward to participating further in the SMB/SBSC community. Whilst also feeding back general conversation and comments to Microsoft from end-users and other Microsoft Partners.

I am looking forward to the challenges of trying new technologies and being at the forefront of new techie-toys. Change is inevitable in the way we work and communicate, making sure this is translated in a positive way is key. Having this knowledge it will put Think4 in a strong position to support those that need assistance. “

Robert Gibbons

LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/robertgibbons

Blog - http://www.think4.com/blog/ (I promises to do more)

Twitter - @Think4ITSol

SBSC North West =

Web - http://sbscnorthwest.org

Twitter – @SBSCNorthWest

Andy -

“I’m Andy Parkes, Technical Director at IBIT Solutions in Coventry. I’ve been involved in the UK small business specialist community for a number of years, initially as an attendee of AMITPRO and for the last three years as group leader. I’ve also presented at the Manchester and Thames Valley groups.

I jumped at the chance to take on the PAL role as I’m very proud to be a part of the small business specialist community and would like to ensure its members continue to be represented so they get the most from their on-going relationship with Microsoft.

Over the next year I’d like to help highlight the resources that are available not just from Microsoft but from within the community. There is a lot of knowledge and experience that can help ensure we’re growing our businesses effectively. 

You can find my ramblings on “Andy’s Techie Blog” in addition to following me on Twitter, connecting with me on LinkedIn you could send a good old fashioned email.”


Have a great week - Alex

Comments (0)

Skip to main content