How Microsoft Leverages Channel Analytics and Insights to Navigate Today’s Changing Partner Business Models

John DeSarbo, Erik Long

At Microsoft, partner satisfaction drives much of the technology giant’s success. With the largest partner ecosystem in the industry, Microsoft grounds its commitment to partner satisfaction in its business strategies to improve customer centricity and responsiveness.

But emerging partner business models can challenge even an award-winning global partner program, as cloud computing, Big Data, social integration and mobility are rapidly transforming the IT channel.

Knowing what channel partners feel about their experiences with a vendor—and taking action to improve those experiences can lead to greater partner loyalty, more effective new partner acquisitions, higher ROI and greater efficiency. Microsoft recognized early on that its partner program would have to expand and improve how it gathers feedback from an increasingly diverse partner ecosystem, react faster to feedback and address the needs of its quickly growing cloud partner community.

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About the Authors

John DeSarbo is a ZS Principal based in San Francisco and leads the ZS Sales Channel Strategy & Management Practice. He has more than two decades of consulting and industry experience focused on sales and marketing strategy and operations. His areas of expertise include multichannel go-to-market strategy, channel analytics, alliance and partner programs, and sales force design. John works with clients across a variety of B2B industry sectors with a particular focus on the technology industry.

Erik Long, a Principal in ZS’s Chicago office, has deep expertise in the application of customer insights and analytics for a range of marketing issues, including market segmentation and targeting plans; value proposition and brand positioning; and voice of customer programs and customer experience. He has helped clients across various B2B and B2C industries, including high tech, consumer packaged goods, retail, financial services, health care, and travel and hospitality.