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At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver this past July, Kevin Turner, perhaps more than any other executive, found himself on the hot seat.
That's because Microsoft's software-plus-services strategy, which calls for the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor to build out its portfolio of software delivered directly to customers, is shaking up its traditional model and leaving partners no choice but to adapt.
New offerings, such as CRM Live, mark the first time customers will be able to buy Microsoft Dynamics business applications directly from the vendor—and partners weren't shy about voicing their concerns at the event.
The general consensus in the channel, however, is that Turner has done an expert job of articulating Microsoft's efforts to carve out a channel strategy around SaaS.
At the conference, Turner acknowledged that the transition Microsoft is making puts new and strenuous demands on its partners.
"I encourage all the Microsoft partners—we'll help you, we'll work with you, but this change is going to happen," he said.
Turner was also honest about the performance of Microsoft's channel program, saying Microsoft hasn't gone far enough in providing partners with clear communication channels.
This type of frankness plays well in the channel, so it's no surprise partners turn to this exec when they're confused about Microsoft's direction.
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