Partners Cheer Massive Microsoft Reorganization, New 'One Commercial Partner' Unit As Key To Accelerating Sales

Partners are applauding a sweeping Microsoft reorganization that will consolidate several of the company's partner and services teams, as well as create a new cloud-focused unit to accelerate cloud services sales in the channel.

Starting Feb. 1, the Redmond, Wash.-based company is creating a new "One Commercial Partner" business to combine its ISV, Enterprise Partner and Worldwide Partner Group teams, as well as a new unit, Microsoft Digital, to incent partners to sell its cloud services.

"In my opinion, Microsoft has torn down the wall between all its segments, and in doing so is allowing partners to transact more seamlessly and navigate through the Microsoft ecosystem to drive value for customers," said Ric Opal, senior director at Oak Brook, Ill.-based Microsoft partner SWC Technology Partners. "Right now, partners are in the state of transforming and re-imagining their businesses, and customers also want to talk about changing their businesses and leveraging Microsoft's technology to do so."

Microsoft's changes are "designed to unify teams from across the Commercial Business, making it easier to do business with Microsoft and meet the needs of its thriving partner ecosystem and customer base,’ a spokesperson told CRN . With Microsoft's group consolidation comes new executive shifts as well – the company's "One Commercial Partner" business will be led by Ron Huddleston, the corporate vice president for Microsoft's Enterprise Partner Ecosystem. Huddleston, a Salesforce veteran, joined Microsoft last June.

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Meanwhile, the company's new Microsoft Digital unit, which will be made up of developers, "digital advisers and architects" and will be focused on cloud services, will be led by Microsoft executive Anand Eswaran. Eswaran will also continue his current role as corporate vice president of Microsoft Services.

Under Microsoft's reorganization, the company's Enterprise and Partner Group and Public Sector, as well as Small and Mid-Market Solutions and Partners teams, also will consolidate to form a new group led by Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Mid-Market Solutions and Partners Chris Weber.

Finally, Microsoft will combine its Worldwide Public Sector and Industry businesses in a combined group under Corporate Vice President Toni Townes-Whitley.

The reorganization comes months after Judson Althoff took the reins as the new leader of Microsoft's Worldwide Commercial Business Group, following the departure of chief operating officer Kevin Turner.

Mike Hadley, CEO of Boston-based Microsoft partner iCorps, cheered the creation of Microsoft Digital as "great news for solution providers." Hadley, for his part, said iCorps is looking to expand its cloud practice by investing heavily in Azure and Office 365, and the company recently opened a position for a Cloud Practice and Digital Transformation leader.

"Microsoft Digital will definitely help us in investing in the cloud," he said. "They are consolidating with the effort of joint forces working together to move clients more quickly into the digital world. The fact that they're pushing this through solution providers – meaning that they will get more digital – is a win-win all around."