How Microsoft partners need to evolve in the new “digital” world

Digital transformation, digital workplace, workplace v.next, activity-based working, future ways of working, cloud, consumerisation of IT, and many more terms swirl around us in the technology industry on a daily basis.

Managers want their employees to work more “digitally”, employees want their organisation to catch up with technology trends.

IT firms have been told to become a “Managed Service Provider” (MSP) by their vendors for well over a decade, and most have embraced this well. But a change is coming. In fact the change is already here.

Much like the mainstreaming of cloud services took away revenue from traditional server deployment and upgrade projects, so too will commodity technology services as vendors offer their own technology onboarding & migration services and tools. The role of a traditional IT partner is getting squeezed out of its traditional comfort zone.

As someone who went through several transformations with my own partner business and now spends time working independently advising and working with other partners, I wanted to share my insights and views on what partners face in the modern era, and what I believe they need to do in order to continue their own evolution to meet new and future demands of their customers both from the sales cycle as well as technology and user needs.

This short whitepaper was sponsored by Exclaimer and can be downloaded from their website: https://www.exclaimer.com.au/pages/partners/partner-to-modern-msp

Choosing the right Office 365 partner

In my day to day life as a Microsoft partner (Paradyne) I speak to organisations every day that are interested in Cloud and specifically Office 365.
Most of our customers are referred to us because they know that we specialise in Office 365 and will get it done right.
More and more often however I am brought in by various people to help put an Office 365 migration back on track because the existing IT partner ran into a roadblock or the project went completely off the rails.
It’s something I’ve been concerned about since we decided to make Office 365 the prime solution focus at Paradyne.
Knowing what you can and can’t do is important in IT because a project going badly doesn’t just mean that the partners profit margins are impacted – it can potentially mean loss of revenue for the customer if they are offline for any reason.

Just because Office 365 is built on the same technologies as its on-premise counterparts does not mean that the implimentation is the same. There are many gotchas, limitations and differences that partners with limited experience may not know about.

In my latest article on BoxFreeIT I talk about why customers should have a parter who specialises in Office 365.

Lately we have been starting to see an increase in partners calling us at Paradyne to see if we can help them get their customer on Office 365. This is what I like to see as it shows that the partner is looking out for the best interests of their customer and wants to do the job right. We follow a similar approach at Paradyne and bring in specialists for solutions that fall outside our areas of expertise (eg. CRM, software development, virtualisation, etc.). The key thing that partners need to understand is not to think/believe they are experts because they think they are familiar with a similar solution.

To businesses considering taking up Office 365 and using your existing IT partner – please have a look at the infographic and use it as a guide to help you determine if your IT partner will do what is best for your business.
IT partners – recognise where you may have holes in your knowledge/skills and either train up on Office 365 or find a partner who can help you serve your customer.

The end goal is smooth transitions from existing systems to Office 365 – key to this is the IT partner knowing what they are doing!