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Microsoft's Huddleston On Removing 'Artificial Friction' With Partners, The Future Of Software Licenses, And Why AWS Can't Learn A Partner-First Culture

The corporate vice president of Microsoft's One Commercial Partner organization speaks about the new sweeping changes in how the company goes to market with partners.

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Could you talk about the changes with the Microsoft sales force and how that's going to affect channel partners?

What's going on with sales is we've taken all of our technical expertise, and all of our customer-facing expertise, and we thought about it in a new way. The way we were thinking about it is, how do we get the right resource to the right customer at the right time? Historically, the way resources to help customers succeed were allocated was largely viewed through the lens of how many users a company had. If you look at companies that way, you'll miss things -- opportunities like heavy-compute companies. So if you were looking at a big trading company in New York, with eight people in it, but they're running a $10 million data state -- historically, that would look like a 10-user customer. Examples like that were leading to situations where we couldn't get the right resource to the right customer at the right time. Or we could, but it was just more difficult. So when you think about sales, we've put better alignment around the resources that we have to try to connect with customers, and help them understand what's possible for digital transformation. And obviously our partners are a big part of that, and that's why we're trying to simplify down to these four solution areas [apps/infrastructure, data/artificial intelligence, business applications and modern workplace].

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