The IAMCP celebrates its 25th Anniversary and takes a walk down memory lane with founding father, Bob Marsh
Whether you’ve been an IAMCP member for the long-haul, or are a recent addition to the IAMCP family, you know that you’re part of a powerful organization that is present in more than 40 countries and gives you access to over 2000 Microsoft partners around the globe, with whom you can collaborate to serve your customers and grow your business.
But it wasn’t always like that. From being barely-known to becoming a major Microsoft ally, the IAMCP has earned its stripes, mostly through the dedication of its founders to the partnership vision they created.
We caught up with one of our greatest supporters and forefathers, Bob Marsh, to hear his perspective on the early years.
A little background:
Once upon a time, Microsoft was just one of many technology providers and had enormous competition in the marketplace.
So, in 1994, when Sam Jadallah, Microsoft Corporate Vice President from 1987 and 1999, wanted to impose certification on partners to allow them to use the Microsoft name, there was significant push-back. After all, who was Microsoft? Move forward 25 years, and Microsoft is a household name, with a roster of successful partners around the globe!
Bob Marsh helped make that happen.
Our beloved Bob Marsh fell into the IAMCP relationship quite by accident. Hired by Microsoft to get teams ready for product launches 6 – 9 months ahead of the official launch, so that partners were ready and informed about product capabilities, was Bob’s key role.
But, one pivotal afternoon in the early 2000s, Bob’s manager, Raul Bandeira, asked him to facilitate a dinner meeting with a group of IAMCP partners in Redmond, VA, because his colleague had a conflicting engagement.
And Bob just listened. He heard, and saw, the IAMCP vision, and asked to be assigned to manage the relationship from the Microsoft perspective.
Microsoft loves feedback. And Microsoft listened.
Under Bob’s leadership, the the IAMCP worldwide board came into Redmond on a quarterly basis, and Microsoft collaborated by bringing in the product team in to present forthcoming products.
This gave the board the feeling that they were part of an inner circle and could return to their respective countries and ready their local members in advance of any launch.
The Secret Society
A self-proclaimed “bad boy”, Bob acknowledged that all of this was done without any official authorization – Microsoft didn’t really believe in the IAMCP channel at that time.
This “underground network” gave the IAMCP members, worldwide, a leg-up and advance notice as to what would be happening in the channel in the coming year.
Some key accomplishments:
- With a quiet nod from management, Bob initiated the “Registered Partner Program” which featured the key offering of a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription, where a Registered Partner could get around $30,000 worth of MS software licenses for internal use and customer demo use for just $195 per year, as a subscription. This was coupled with local quarterly briefings covering technical and marketing topics to help enable local partner success. These sessions were provided worldwide in 26 languages. Bob added the first Microsoft Hands-On Labs in 1999 to support the launch of Windows 2000 Server, replacing Windows NT Server.
- Within a couple of years, the IAMCP had restructured to map Microsoft’s model, and had an international Board of Directors, Regional Boards, National Boards, and local chapters with Boards acting locally. This gave each level of Microsoft’s sales & marketing organization a peer-level with whom to partner within the IAMCP.
- Then the impossible happened: the IAMCP leadership made it to the big stage at Microsoft’s Big Tent Event for partners, known over the years as Microsoft Fusion, Worldwide Partner Conference, and now, Inspire.
"It was truly inspiring to see Per Werngren, then IAMCP WW President, on the Big Stage. Within Microsoft, it was a serious milestone in your career to ever make it to the Big Stage. For me, it was a real milestone to see an organization I had helped strategize and grow make it to the Big Stage.“ – Bob Marsh
Fun fact about Bob Marsh: Bob’s IAMCP name is Gandalf. Characterized in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it’s meaning is of Norse origin and implies “wand elf” or “wizard”, and Bob Marsh has certainly been a wizard for the IAMCP.
Thank you, Bob, for all your endeavors in helping the IAMCP become what it is today, and HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY!