2015 Channel Chiefs Details

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One of our "50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs"

Fun Facts:
Favorite movie and why: Apollo 13: Such an amazing story of how a group of people come together to solve a problem despite the complexity of the challenge. They have a -will not fail- attitude with their colleagues lives on the line and demonstrate such a balance of creativity and discipline to deliver success. You can see so many leadership and communication styles represented in the movie.
Uses Twitter
Uses LinkedIn
Has An Advanced Degree
Has An MBA
Once Worked At A Solution Provider
Plays Golf
Loves To Read

Phil Sorgen


Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group

Bio and Background: As head of the Worldwide Partner Group (WPG), Phil Sorgen is responsible for Microsoft's worldwide channel strategy for the company's commercial products and cloud offerings. In this capacity, Phil leads a global sales and marketing team comprised of approximately 5,000 employees and Microsoft's global network of independently owned-and-operated partner companies, a channel that drives a large percentage of Microsoft's annual revenue. Phil leads the effort to activate Microsoft's diverse partner ecosystem, enabling greater partner success in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Prior to assuming his current role in September 2013, Phil led the Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners business in the US Subsidiary for four years. In his role as corporate vice president, Phil was responsible for a team of sales, marketing and partner-management professionals serving Microsoft's business customers and vast partner community. During his tenure, Phil was the executive sponsor for two important initiatives: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions and Management Excellence. For Microsoft's SaaS solutions, Phil led the sales and marketing orchestration across Microsoft Office 365, CRM Online and Windows Intune cloud-based offerings. He also worked with field leaders to identify opportunities to improve product offerings, process and systems across the customer lifecycle and worked with Microsoft's business groups to deliver world-class experiences for customers and partners. Phil returned to the U.S. after serving for 3.5 years as president of Microsoft Canada, where he was responsible for all elements of Microsoft's Canadian business and for deepening Microsoft's commitment to the Canadian market. Before joining Microsoft Canada, Phil was general manager of Microsoft's U.S. Enterprise Sales Operations. Before that, Phil was the general manager for the Gulf Coast District.

Number of years with the company: 19

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 19

Reports to: Vahe Torossian, corporate vice president, Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P)

Does that individual report to the CEO/president: No. Vahe Torossian reports to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, who reports to CEO Satya Nadella.

Number of employees in channel organization: 5,000

Top products sold through the channel: Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Exchange Server 2013, Dynamics CRM Online, Office 365, Windows Azure, System Center 2012, Lync, SharePoint Online, SQL Server 2012

Partner organization's top accomplishments over the past year: Phil worked closely with his team and across groups within Microsoft on: Launch of cloud-focused competenciesTo help partners take advantage of cloud opportunities, we introduced three new cloud-focused competencies based on performance for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure (Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions, Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform). We also changed how we integrate cloud into our competencies, making it easier for partners to do business with us and helping free up resources to invest more in their business. Launch of Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider programThis gives partners expanded capability to directly manage the entire lifecycle of customer cloud subscriptionssell, bill, manage and support. Partners can package their own tools, products and services and combine them into one monthly or annual customer bill and utilize in-product tools to directly manage and support their customers' subscriptions. This program is available for Office 365 and Intune, with plans to eventually expand to cover all cloud services. Open Licensing expansionTo meet growing demand for our cloud-based solutions, we've expanded our licensing models to make it easier for partners and customers to purchase, deploy and use Microsoft solutions. We've brought Office 365 and Azure to Open Licensing and Dynamics CRM Online will be coming soon.

How partner community has grown over the past year: The Microsoft Partner Network continues to grow rapidly since its re-launch four years ago, and we've seen phenomenal growth in the cloud in particular: Microsoft has the largest partner ecosystem in the industry and invests the largest amount in channel operations in the industry as well. Nearly 250,000 partners are enrolled to sell Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services. More than three-fourths of Office 365 customers are being deployed by our partners.

How do you expect your channel sales as a percentage of your company's overall sales to change: 

How do you expect the number of channel partners you work with to change: Stay the Same

Top channel goals for 2015: Migrate partners to cloud solutions
Increase partners' customer satisfaction ratings
Improve partner profitability

Single most innovative partner initiative in 2014: Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program-To meet the growing demand of our cloud-based solutions, it is essential that we continue to evolve our partner programs and licensing models to make it easier for partners and customers to purchase, deploy and use Microsoft solutions. The launch of this program allows partners to own 100 percent of the customer lifecycle, with partners serving as the only contact for all customer needs, including billing, provisioning, support and the ability to sell their own tools, products and services. This new program provides our partners with complete control, and ensures our mutual customers can rely on their partner to ensure they're getting the most out of their Microsoft cloud solutions. Launched at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, this program is currently available for Office 365 and Intune, with plans for it to eventually expand to cover all of our cloud services. Signature Cloud Support-We understand that building cloud and hybrid practices can require partners to make new investments and shift business models. To better enable partners to invest more in their business and to capture the customer opportunity, we launched Signature Cloud Support which provides partners with direct contact into a high-quality support team.

Key channel/partner investments made over the past year: Cloud-focused investments: Announced three cloud-focused competencies based on performance for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, introduced several competency price reductions, launched cloud-focused version of Microsoft Action Pack subscription (MAPs) and expanded training and support to onboard enterprise customers to Office 365. Partner capability investments: The Pre-Sales Technical Accreditation to help partners sell, deliver and close deals in compete areas. Technical support: New Premier for Partner support offering provides partners with increased flexibility for how advisory hours can be consumed. Helping partners connect: Online Technical Communities, Social Media and local IAMCP chapters help partners connect with each other.

Plans for attracting the next generation of solution providers: Everything that we do is focused on three core tenets: ensuring profitability, simplifying our channel program and making it as easy as possible to do business with us. Microsoft is committed to ensuring that our partners are able to build and maintain profitable businesses through our devices, products and services, as well as our training and resources. We're also making it easier to do business with us. That means simplifying our programs, lowering the cost of partnering, and increasing the business value for partners.

Advice to someone getting into the channel today: Embrace the cloud, as it offers the best opportunity to grow new revenue streams and take advantage of increased customer interest. Building IP based solutions that include repeatable methodologies, managed services and both vertical and horizontal SaaS solutions provide the greatest opportunity to maximize profitability. According to IDC, cloud partners had 1.6X the recurring revenue as a portion of total revenue and 1.8X more recurring revenue than the bottom quartile compared to non-cloud-oriented partners. The opportunity in the cloud is real and Microsoft is committed to helping partners make 2015 the year of cloud opportunity and profitability.

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