Cloud News

Microsoft Partner Chief Talks AI, NCE, Security, New Designations

Wade Tyler Millward

‘Our services-led partners are so core to our strategy,’ Microsoft Chief Partner Officer Nicole Dezen tells CRN.

Nicole Dezen, now 10 months into her new role as Microsoft’s chief partner officer, is “absolutely happy” with the progress partners have made around the controversial New Commerce Experience and new partner designations that have replaced longtime Gold and Silver badges.

She also hopes to see partners take advantage of Microsoft’s investments in artificial intelligence, in its commercial marketplace and new designations as partners navigate a tough economy with their customers.

Those are some of the highlights from an interview with CRN by Dezen, who also holds the role of corporate vice president of the Global Partner Solutions organization for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

“We’re on a multiyear journey,” she told CRN. “And when we launched Microsoft Cloud Partner Programs six months ago, we said this is a significant opportunity and change for partners. And we have a very rich road map ahead. So what partners will continue to hear from us is more innovation, more capability, more skilling, more resources to help them go to market with us.”

[RELATED: Microsoft Reveals More Partner Designations, AI Opportunity]

Microsoft Chief Partner Officer Dezen Talks AI, Marketplace

Dezen spoke with CRN following Microsoft’s State Of The Partner Ecosystem Wednesday.

During this, Dezen said that the vendor is investing in more “partner growth and profitability.” For every $1 of Microsoft revenue, services-lead partners make $7.63 and software partners make $10.11, she said.

She also advocated for partners to explore co-selling opportunities with the vendor. In 2021, Microsoft co-selling partners achieved nearly double the revenue growth of partners that didn’t co-sell with Microsoft. Partners thatco-sell with Microsoft grow faster and generate higher margin, she said.

“Our services-led partners are so core to our strategy,” Dezen told CRN. “They are incredibly important. They can count on the fact that there are so many more opportunities coming ahead. … I’m so grateful for the unique work that they do every single day.”

Microsoft has about 400,000 channel partners worldwide, according to CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs list.

Here’s more of what Dezen said to CRN.

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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