Doug Burgum, who has led the charge at Microsoft Business Solutions for five years, is taking on a new role as chairman of MBS.
Microsoft is launching a public external search for a replacement, but it is possible that the new MBS senior vice president could come from inside.
Burgum’s direct reports include Corporate Vice President Satya Nadella; Vice President David O’Hara; and MBS COO Orlando Ayala, who also heads Microsoft’s Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner (SMS&P) group.
Burgum, who was chairman of Great Plains Software before it was acquired by Microsoft in 2001, still reports to Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. That group was formed in October when Microsoft converged Business Solutions and Information Worker units. Both of those units remain their own profit and loss centers, however.
“No, I’m not leaving [the company]. I know those who’ve been saying that will be disappointed, but someday they’ll be right,” Burgum told CRN.
The news comes just as the company preps next month’s launch of new CRM and Great Plains versions.
Burgum has been a partner favorite among longtime Great Plains VARs, as well as Navision and Axapta partners who came into the fold with Microsoft’s buy of Navision four years ago.
“Over the years, I’ve been viewed as a strong advocate for the channel, and I see myself continuing that. By channel, I mean ISVs, partners, the whole ecosystem is critical to our strategy and success.”
Burgum had remained in Great Plains’ hometown of Fargo, N.D. His successor will be based in Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
Some partners bemoan what they call the lessening influence of “Fargonauts” at Microsoft. Great Plains was known for close personal ties between its executives and partners. It is natural for the emphasis to shift to Redmond and Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean that those relationships aren’t missed, partners said.
Burgum said as jobs turn over, more hiring is done in Redmond, but he stressed that 1,100 Microsoft employees remain in Fargo doing development and call center work. Also, Microsoft payroll and accounts receivable for all of the Americas happen out of Fargo, he said.