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The WIT Network Sparks Empowering Conversations at Microsoft Ignite and Looks Ahead to 2020

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 13, 2019


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The WIT Network has been recognized as an important part of the Microsoft Partner ecosystem – and endorsed by Gavriella Schuster – who attended our happy hour at Inspire earlier this year. The WIT Network hosted another amazing Happy Hour on November 6th at Microsoft Ignite. Attendees were able to interact with, and be inspired by Ann Johnson, Corporate Vice President of the Cybersecurity Solutions Group, at Microsoft. A big thank you to Nintex who not only sponsored the event, but let us hold it in their booth.  

One of the hot topics of discussion at Happy Hour was The WIT Network 2nd Annual International Women’s Day Conference taking place in Munich, Germany, on March 8 and 9, 2020. Planning is in full swing for this year’s conference, the theme of which is “Believe. Achieve. Celebrate.”

Mark your calendars and be prepared for two days full of inspiration and actionable advice to help guide us all on how to live our best lives and make a positive impact in the world.

More details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned here for more information and to register. If you’re interested in receiving great publicity and sponsoring the IWD conference, please reach out to The WIT Network President, Christine Bongard.


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Dyslexia is a gift that’s helped me in business

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The story of Carlene Jackson, who turned dyslexic challenges into an advantage, became an entrepreneur, and launched a successful tech organisation

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) isn’t limited just to visible minorities, or those with different religious beliefs, or sexual orientations.

 

Just ask Carlene Jackson, CEO of UK-based tech company Cloud9 Insight, a Microsoft Gold Partner which has provided more than 600 UK businesses with cloud-based CRM software systems.

Growing up with dyslexia, Carlene faced many learning challenges throughout her schooling. But she also learned coping skills and realised that dyslexia, often considered a disability, gave her a distinct advantage in that it enhanced her creativity.

In fact, many well-known and tremendously successful entrepreneurs are, or have been, dyslexic; Richard Branson, Lord Alan Sugar, Anita Roddick, Walt Disney and Henry Ford were all reportedly diagnosed with the condition, and research suggests dyslexia is disproportionately found among entrepreneurs. 

"Dyslexia is a gift that’s helped me in business," says Carlene. "If you're dyslexic, you can never truly fail, because you simply accept that succeeding first time may not happen so you’re going to have to find a way around the problem. You learn differently, see the world differently and these things are very useful when you're an entrepreneur.” 

How can businesses benefit from embracing Dyslexia?

Much of what takes place in the workplace is now being automated and many people are questioning what role human beings will play in industry. If you can create a rule for something then it can probably be automated. There are going to be a lot of robots in the office soon, efficiently following rules. But, for a business to be truly successful, this will need to be married with creativity – and if there’s one thing that doesn’t follow rules, it’s the process of creativity. 

Creativity is about innovation, taking leaps into the dark and daring to fail; it’s about breaking rules, not following them. Many dyslexic entrepreneurs are successful because they don’t follow the rules of their industry and instead look to create completely new models which change the game for everybody. 

Workplaces need creative people and so can benefit greatly from welcoming people with dyslexia and autism, as well as other natural rulebreakers. Just because someone’s brain is wired differently, doesn’t mean they can’t perform a major role. 

Businesses that recruit and work with rulebreakers will have opportunities to solve problems that automated software and bots cannot. 

Carlene’s path to success

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Jackson moved to Brighton at a young age and entered the corporate world. She learned sales at IBM and moved into the growing field of customer relationship management (CRM) software. Carlene self-identifies her greatest strength as sales strategy. She quickly understands customers, connects with them, drives change and helps companies set a vision.  

But it was when cloud computing began to emerge that Jackson saw the chance to realise her ambitions and become an entrepreneur. She recognized the potential of cloud technology early in her career and went on to build a thriving consultancy business with 20 staff. 

“My brother is a serial entrepreneur, and encouraged me to stop making millions for others and make it for myself. Microsoft, at that time, was getting lots of attention with a cloud-based CRM solution for the UK market, which had previously only been on-premises. I saw opportunity there, so I seized the moment to start a new business focused on Microsoft Dynamics, and have never looked back since.” – Carlene Jackson  

Carlene talks passionately about partnering with Microsoft, staff and apprenticeships and how a ‘learning difficulty’ has made her a better entrepreneur. 

Staff development has always been a key driver for Jackson, with her skills winning her several industry awards for investing in people. “I’m proud of the fact that many of the people I have recruited have not worked in the tech sector before and I have coached them to the success they have achieved. I am passionate to help people fulfil their potential and dreams – being an apprenticeship provider will help Cloud9 Insight achieve this even further,” said Carlene.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. It is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work.

People with dyslexia find it difficult to recognise the different sounds that make up words and relate these to letters. Dyslexia isn't related to a person's general level of intelligence. Children and adults of all intellectual abilities can be affected by dyslexia. 

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown, but it often appears to run in families. It's thought that certain genes inherited from parents may act together in a way that affects how some parts of the brain develop during early life.

About Cloud9 Insight

Founded in 2010, Cloud9 Insight has 20 staff and is also an award-winning apprenticeship provider. The company is on target to reach £2m turnover in 2019 and has gained over 600 clients in the small-medium business (SMB) sector. Cloud9 is also an apprenticeship provider to the tech industry and received government accreditation in Autumn 2019.  


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10th Anniversary Congratulations to IAMCP SoCal!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 13, 2019

IAMCP SoCal brings the Microsoft ecosystem together in celebration – and raises over $100,000 for charity.


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October 24, 2019 was a big day for Microsoft, IAMCP and the local partner community, with the 10th Anniversary celebration of the IAMCP SoCal Chapter bringing together Microsoft Partners from across the country, along with 42 Microsoft Execs, Field Sellers and OCP Team members.  


The event was full of education for partners, feedback for Microsoft, a focus on Diversity and Inclusion, and a huge drive for GIVE, which resulted in a generous total donation of over $100,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Ronald McDonald House!


Some Event Highlights:

 

  • Over $100,000 raised for Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Ronald McDonald House!

  • Sweepstakes featuring a Porsche Macan giveaway and over 40 mentoring opportunities for partners with Microsoft Execs, Field Sellers and Partner Team

  • Partner of the decade awards, honoring: IAMCP SoCal Area Diversity & Inclusion Partner of the Decade - TaraByte Solutions; IAMCP SoCal Area Member of the Decade - Dave Seibert; IAMCP SoCal Area Most Partner Friendly Member - PartnerSource Solutions; IAMCP SoCal Area Partner Choice Award - Manish Bhardia – Think AI; and IAMCP SoCal Area Partner of the Decade - 6th Street Consulting

  • A VIP Reception at which Challenge medals were given to all guests, Moscow Mule Copper Mugs given to all, honoring our friend Tom Castiglia who passed away earlier this year, and guests had photo opportunities with Microsoft execs

  • A celebration expo featuring 38 exhibitors

  • A suite of partner 101 sales and marketing tracks

 

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  • Executive Roundtables with David Smith, Beth Cavanaugh, and Brent Combest

  • Many partner side sessions

  • An outdoor expo, refreshing for many exhibitors that are normally inside for the “typical event expo”

  • A Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) panel, with moderator, Sarah Geoghegan, SoftwareONE and SoCal WIT Network President; Dave Shah, Skyworks; Rodney Campbell, Microsoft; Heather Newman, Creative Maven; Seppy Azadi, Korn Ferry; and Beth Cavanaugh, Microsoft

  • Special highlights: Goodwill Staffing Services, which helps place people with barriers to employment, and the WIT Network

  • A donut wall (yes, you read that right!)

  • IAMCP Party Tattoos

  • LinkedIn Head shots by the Microsoft Retail Store


The presentation of the Porsche Macan (2 Year Lease) was made at the end of the evening. And the winner was… Jon Stypula, President of Dynamic Consulting!


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But Jon decided to donate the $25,000 prize to the selected charities, instead of taking possession of the car, which helped in achieving the $100,000 stretch goal for giving at the event! Congratulations and thank you Jon!

Another highlight in giving was when Justin and Alexis Slagle were presented with a plaque showcasing the sponsorship of an Adopt-A-Room program through the Ronald McDonald House Orange County from the IAMCP SoCal Partner, showing their appreciation for everything that was done for this event.


What the attendees said:

 “I left the party thinking I want to do more with Microsoft.”

 “That night changed the definition of what it means to be a Microsoft Partner. Pretty cool!”

 “The event deepened my understanding and love of Microsoft.”

“I came away with way more respect for Microsoft as a company. I don't view them just as a giant in the industry, but a company who employees a compassionate, caring and supportive team.  A company that cares about their partner's success.  A Company that does everything with class.”

 “Never in my career have I had the access to such great executives from Microsoft.

“The access we got to the Microsoft team was unparalleled from any Microsoft event I've attended.

“The sense of community was prevalent throughout the event. The camaraderie and inclusiveness of all attendees was infectious.”

“I don't have many words left to express what amazing event it was. I loved every single presentation, but the two that really were my favorites were: 1) Brent Combest’s partner profitability, sharing how he evaluates each partner and 2) The D&I panel discussion - I walked away with so many new things I learned, not only to apply to business, but also things I could be much more mindful of as a parent when talking to my kids.”


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Next Steps:

Let’s keep the momentum going!  Stay engaged with your local IAMCP Chapter and build more P2P success stories!  


Read more about the event:

LinkedIn (148 posts): https://www.linkedin.com/feed/hashtag/iamcpsocal10/

Twitter (278 total tweets): https://twitter.com/search?q=%23iamcpsocal10&f=live

See the entire event in pictures - there are nearly 700 that tell the full story: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AgLQKsU5--Ohn_FGEsiKHtaHi2ihKw?e=cnrDF5

 

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IAMCP P2P success story A Success Trifecta – And A Gold APAC P2P Win

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 7, 2019

 

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Intelegain Technologies, a global company with four locations in the U.S., India, Singapore and Australia, has been providing customers with expert technology solutions for over 15 years. But when a customer needed a solution that fell outside of Intelegain’s scope of expertise, the company’s CTO, Neeraj Gargi, had to get creative – and he turned to members of his local IAMCP chapter, India West to solve the customer’s problem.

Wonderchef, a rapidly expanding premium kitchen wares distributor selling in India and exporting to APAC, was experiencing difficulties with its on-premises MS Dynamics ERP solution, necessitating an immediate migration to the cloud in order to reduce maintenance costs, resource efforts and time. But the company simply couldn’t afford to be out of commission for the 5-7 days downtime that the migration would require.

 

Despite Intelegain’s expertise in Azure Migration and Implementation, the company needed external support to deliver the complete fail-safe hybrid cloud solution in a time frame that would involve minimal impact to the customer’s business.

 

Building on relationships that had been formed over several years through IAMCP chapter meetings, Neeraj approached two partners: Mumbai-based Graftronics and Sunbridge of Pune region. With the team’s combined expertise, a solution was born that would see the migration of the customer’s datacentre to a new facility during a period when the volume of billing transactions was highest. This challenge was further impacted by a rapidly-approaching deadline on the existing lease at customer's facility.

 

And the result?

With Intelegain leading the customer relationship and the set-up of the infrastructure on Microsoft Azure, Graftronics handled the on-premises appliances and facilities such as routers, VPN connectivity and firewall, etc. Meanwhile, Sunbridge brought in its expertise in Dynamics, ensuring that the Dynamics NAV Migration took place with virtually zero downtime.

 

“IAMCP has given me great confidence to work in the Microsoft space and share expertise with other partners. This solution has illustrated how impactful Partner-to-Partner relationships can be for all parties involved and I know that I have support from the MS community when I have a challenge.” – Neeraj Gardi

 

The entire process was seamless for Wonderchef, with Intelegain as the single point of contact, eliminating the need to co-ordinate with multiple partners and mitigating the risk of communication gaps.

 

In just two weeks from the diagnosis of the required solution, the migration was successfully completed in under 3 hours, outside of productive working time, and without disruption to the operation of the business.

 

A picture containing indoor, table, sitting, wall Description automatically generatedWhat does the P2P APAC Gold win mean for Intelegain?

 

“Winning this award is a tremendous honour for Intelegain,” said Neeraj. “There was lots of competition with great solutions and it’s fantastic to be recognized by an international community – especially at Inspire, where everyone is watching. We’re going to keep on partnering – and next year we’re going for the global award!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building on the success of the Wonderchef solution, Intelegain is now working with partners from different regions, including China and Africa. And the company is committed to the power of P2P relationships, with four guiding success principles:

1.         Trust your partner

2.         Be Transparent

3.         Be Reasonable

4.         Be Honest

 

Because IAMCP membership is all about community and great success opportunities!

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Moving into the “Business Central Era” is easier with partners at your side

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

 

Klaus Fander CEO of acadon from Germany and the IAMCP International Board treasurer is sharing his professional insight about Microsoft’s directions in Business Central and the new development environment announced at Directions EMEA.

By Klaus Fander

 

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The Directions EMEA Vienna conference is the leading trade fair of the European Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Community. Last week, 2,370 partners from across Europe met in Vienna to discuss the latest trends around Microsoft Business Apps / Business Central. 

As at the worldwide partner conference "Inspire" in July, Microsoft confirmed the roadmap: Business Central should become more user-friendly, i.e. easier to introduce, use and expand. Therefore, the current release ("BC15") replaces the Windows client with the Web client. With this step, installation on computers is no longer necessary and the look & feel has been adapted to the modern Office 365. This makes it much easier for users to navigate and quickly trigger the desired actions.

Also, the twenty-year-old development environment ("C/SIDE") will be replaced by a modern state-of-the-art environment based on Visual Studio Code and Azure Devops. This allows partners to make their industry solutions and customizations more secure and modular. In the future, customers will be able to create smaller customizations much more easily by themselves. These are retained during the update and require practically no migration effort.

The decisive market advantage of the old "Navision" is thus elevated to the new "Business Central" era: the simple adaptation of a comprehensive standard solution to the individual needs of the customer. Of course, it is necessary to use the current version. But once this step has been taken, future updates will be straightforward, users will benefit from easier operation and the use of new functions of the industry solution, external modules or individual adaptations will be faster and cheaper. Our customers can also benefit from the simple connection to other Microsoft cloud services such as Power BI or Artificial Intelligence.

For us as a Microsoft partner, the transition period means a great deal of effort, because our ISV solution and our customer solutions have to be migrated at the same time.

In this respect, it was logical that IAMCP was represented as an official community partner at Directions EMEA for the first time this year. 

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The exchange between partners is more important than ever. As members of the IAMCP, we benefit from the high willingness to cooperate and provide mutual support. This gives us more time for the individual requirements of our customers and we can support them to transition through the digital transformation even faster.

At the same time, the cooperation between BC partners and partners from other workloads allows us to offer our customers more holistic solutions.

If you are not yet a member as a partner, register - so that your customers are ahead of their competitors!

Klaus Fander is the CEO of acadon, a Microsoft-Gold-Partner with more than 30 years of experience in more than 1000 projects. Based on the international standard products of Microsoft Dynamics 365 (NAV / Business Central), they offer integrated and customer orientated services such as acadon-industrial-solutions for the timber (lumber) and packaging industry.

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What came first: Diversity or Inclusion? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 12, 2019

 

Frank Valdivieso, DC Chapter President for the IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners) and chair of the IAMCP’s Americas Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee, has seen diversity and inclusion from two sides. Frank’s experience is both from the perspective of either being included or rejected based on the color of his skin, and from the standpoint of doing the right thing to include others.

By visual identification, Frank is a Black Hispanic, and thereby falls squarely into the category of “visual minority”. But that’s only if we’re categorizing people. And why are we?

 

What is D&I?

 Said Frank, “Diversity focuses on things that divide us – the things that make us different. Inclusion is about bringing people together; it provides us with opportunities to be more inclusive in how we sell and support our products, and offer better service to our customers.”

Having had negative experiences, Frank has a deep understanding of the impact of D&I and has built a successful company that actively embraces the practice – both internally and externally.

As President & CEO of Gryphon Consulting, a Largo, MD based MSP providing IT support to companies with less than 250 employees, Frank believes that D&I is a top-down initiative, and while Gryphon is a small company from an employee statistic standpoint, 50% of Gryphon’s employees are minorities. Plus, Gryphon’s customer-base is almost entirely comprised of women entrepreneurs, and the company’s suppliers are all either women- or minority-owned.

 

Making a Difference

D&I is not the only problem for today’s technology businesses; the lack of skilled talent presents an enormous hiring challenge.

Recognizing this issue through experience, Gryphon Consulting became one of the first supporting clients of the recently-established training program, Franklin Apprenticeships, a Maryland-based help-desk level apprenticeship course.

The progressive program offers hands-on skills-training to those for whom a 4-year college degree might not be an option, through a combination of in-class instruction and internship placements, and predominantly serves at-risk youth, and those who want to make a career change.

“This program has been very beneficial for Gryphon. Previously, post-hire, we found that a candidate’s resume did not necessarily match their skill-set. Through Franklin Apprenticeships, we are able to hire employees with the assurance that they have received adequate training and experience. Plus, we know that we are supporting an initiative that assists an underserved community,” said Frank.

 

Shaping Change

In addition to embracing progressive hiring practices, Frank Valdivieso is also a member of Voices for Innovation (VFI), a technology policy advocacy group. Sponsored by Microsoft, the organization is comprised of technology professionals who meet to discuss and advocate for issues that impact the IT industry, and support IT job growth.

For Frank Valdivieso, programs like the ones in which he is involved provide him with a way to give back to his community and drive polices and practices that improve people’s lives and strengthen organizational culture for the greater success of all.

 “D&I is all about learning – understanding what we can do better. The IAMCP creates a safe environment through the individual chapters to explore these topics. We can leverage this platform to educate our members so that they can go back to their organizations and champion D&I within their companies, leading to greater success for everyone – we all need the same chance to compete.” – Frank Valdivieso

 

So, what came first: Diversity or Inclusion?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter. An organization can have diversity, but no inclusion. Or, it can have inclusion, without diversity. But when the company’s strategy is to make the two symbiotic, each works best when the other is in play, and can attract and retain great talent. What does your D&I playbook look like?

For more information on Gryphon Consulting visit http://www.gryphon-consulting.com/

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A P2P Partnership Results in a Progressive, Award-Winning Solution for a Forward-Thinking University

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 12, 2019

The IAMCP is delighted to congratulation South Africa-based Mint Group on winning both the Worldwide and Gold EMEA awards in this year’s P2P (partner-to-partner) contest with an innovative AI (Artificial Intelligence) solution.

“Mint Group is proud to be recognized as the Worldwide and EMEA winner of the IAMCP P2P awards for 2019. We champion the IAMCP ethos in South Africa and across the African continent through valuable partnerships via joint solution implementations, best practices, learning and knowledge sharing. Mint believes in the strength of growing together in the partner ecosystem with the shared outcome of delivering value to our customers.” - Sugeshni Subroyen, Head of Marketing, Mint Group

 

The Challenge

When the University of Venda (Univen), a rural South African comprehensive university, located in Thohoyandou in the Limpopo province, was encountering low student participation and dwindling pass rates, the faculty knew that a solution was required – but what?

As an educational instituation that runs predominantly on grants for funding, and serves approximately 16,000 students, Univen needed to increase student success rates to maintain its reputation and secure future funding.

In addition, sometimes there were people on campus who did not belong there and the facility did not have the capacity to monitor activities, making student and staff safety a concern that had to be addressed.

 

A Success Trifecta

In a quest to solve the problem, Univen partnered with Mint Group, which created Intelligent Campus through the application of AI on the Azure platform, to address challenges and unlock opportunities for the institution. The partnership made Univen the first university in SA to pilot the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for access control and enable:

  • Strict student access control through facial recognition across the University
  • Student tracking and verification across the campus
  • Sentiment analysis within classrooms to correlate sentiment to student performance
  • Attendance tracking to correlate attendance numbers to student pass rates

To achieve the desired outcome, Mint Group required a strong partnership with a hardware provide and found this in Gijima, which could successfully install technology across the campus to cater for the Intelligent Campus vision and the Vision APP solutions to be implemented, at the same time taking all other infrastructure challenges into account (wheelchair access, speed bumps, security booms, dorm turnstiles, etc.).

Since the successful pilot program at Univen, the AI system is now being rolled out to the entire University as a first step towards digital transformation which will:

  • Enable facial recognition and access control of 16,000 students per day;
  • Monitor 72 classrooms with up to four cameras in each class scanning the faces once every minute for classroom attendance;
  • Serve as the basis for a future roadmap for advanced analytics such as predictive drop-out detection etc. which will further increase pass rates as well as Azure consumption; and,
  • Drop security incidences down to 0%.

 

The Results Are In!

 As 99% of Univen’s students study through the allocation of government grants, the allocation of funds can now be backed by data, and student performance can be monitored to ensure money is being spent on the correct students.

“Through the powerful capabilities of Azure, we empowered Univen to resolve the issue of safety, streamline staff productivity and student management, and address student performance through sentiment analysis and tracking with the Mint Vision App, a solution that will continuously drive transformation. Winning these awards is an important recognition of the transformation Mint Group is driving in SA’s education and health industries, and how we achieve that through partnership, said Carel Du Toit, CEO, Mint Group.

Other universities are following suit and Mint has been in negotiations with 6 other universities and has secured a pilot project with one institution which will commence in Q1 FY20.

 

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4 top tips for smarter marketing for Microsoft partners

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 11, 2019

How to utilize resources to optimize marketing budget and results

By Karl Joseph Ufert

Being both in the advertising industry and the IAMCP, I’ve seen it time and again – to get their message out companies get caught up in costly staffing or, even worse, don’t have the internal resources to market effectively and end up doing little... or nothing at all.

After over 20 years of marketing experience as a president, co-founder and partner at Mitra Creative, and many years working with the IAMCP and Microsoft partners, I got to understand the needs and challenges of our community in-depth.

And the fact is the partner community is not rolling in money, and the models that they have relied on for co-brand dollars are changing, in terms of how Microsoft allocates money – funds are limited today, so partners have to market smarter.

 

No.1 advice: Make your website an employee

Yes, really.

For SMBs (small-medium businesses), most marketing is digital, due to the prohibitive costs of mass marketing tactics, and a key component is the company website.

But the cost of hiring dedicated talent to plan and execute a marketing strategy and manage a website can run a company well into 6-figures annually. Plus, there’s the overhead cost of providing office space and equipment for those employees, which is another large budget line.

Here are my 4 top tips on how to utilize resources to optimize budget and results for our members.

 

1.    Build a professional website

It may sound trite, but let’s face it: your website is the face of your company, and the first impression that prospects will receive. Likely, no-one is going to come to your office, meet your charming receptionist, see your cool office space, and ask to see the CEO, ready to buy.

Rather, they will follow you online to determine whether or not you can solve their pain-points before contacting you for a discussion about their particular needs. And they won’t call you from receiving your business card – they’ll look at your website first.

That’s why your website needs to be professionally designed, responsive and search engine-friendly, so that it meets Googles complex requirements and, thus, people can find you. Plus, you need to be ever-present with information that resonates with your visitors. If you’re not, your website might be a key component of marketing strategy that you’re missing.

Once you have your website, you turn it into your #1 employee and make it work for you. Invest in it, just as you would with a staff member through training, conferences, desk space, etc. Allocating funds to your website is effective – and highly measurable.

 

2.     Create interesting and relevant content

Many companies rely on internal teams to drive social and on-website content and they often only use automated tools to distribute it, with disappointing results.

The key is to find the right mix of platforms for talking to your audience, then feed them regularly to keep dialogue and communication alive – even if its just curated content. No matter how often they post, companies are not going to build a brand on Instagram alone. Or Facebook for that matter.

You can also curate content and personalize it with a message – a concierge approach wherein you post an article that you found highly relevant and interesting and include customer key words and hashtags in the post.

Important note: when you curate, don’t use automation – the result will be that you’re just promoting the company whose article you’re sharing.

Ideally, you would develop a suite of digital media marketing or social marketing that addresses your:

  • Prospects;
  • Customers; and,
  • Professional Partner Community

Each group will, of course, receive different messaging, which is relevant to them respectively, and the timing and frequency of communications will be different for each segment too.

Of course, it’s important that content is interesting and relevant to your audience, well-written and well-timed. If writing isn’t your forte – or you simply don’t have time – external resources can help you put your best content foot forward, and save you time and money.

 

3.    Test. Measure. Test again.

The world is constantly changing. And that means the information to which people respond is in constant flux too.

That’s why measurement is so important: so that you can see what worked and what didn’t, and avoid throwing good money at bad ideas.

It’s important to take the convergence of digital communication across available platforms and not only judge your marketing spend, but make the spend as effective as it can be. It’s not about likes and shares – it’s about ROI, so we need to think in dollars and cents.

 

4.     Hire a pro

If that all sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is. And, chances are, you’re an expert in your own field, not in the field of marketing. So often we see small business owners struggling to master tactics that aren’t in their skill set – and that just diverts their energy from where it’s best spent.

Which is partly why companies hire outside resources to help them with their marketing strategy and execution. They also do it because it’s fiscally prudent – it costs less to hire an expert to do the job right, than to invest in year-round, internal resources that might require training and support. Plus, when an expert develops your materials, you know that they will hit their mark.

 

About Karl and Mitra Creative

Karl’s most recent role with the IAMCP was on the sponsorship initiative for Microsoft Inspire 2019 (International and Americas). He also worked on the sponsor-related core social media marketing last year, and developed the first microsite for Inspire. Karl manages social media for the New Jersey IAMCP chapter, and is the social chair on the board. He also co-manages the Microsoft Marketing Round Table Group with Eric Rabinowitz (of Nurture Marketing) and is a member of the New York Chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Mitra Creative, Inc., founded in 2005 by Karl Joseph Ufert and Vincent Wang, is a privately held company providing marketing, communication, brand and interactive/print design consulting services to mid-sized technology, media, entertainment and public sector enterprises in the U.S., Asia and other parts of the globe. The company is currently led by Karl Ufert, Ifan Chang, Jay Huang and Frank Louvis.

Mitra Creative’s offices — including its strategic consulting, design and development/technology teams — are based in New York City (Manhattan).

Want more tips from Karl Ufert?

You can learn more about Karl and read his recent blog posts here, or follow him on Twitter so that you never miss a tip:  Follow @KarlUfertMitra

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IAMCP made some noise at Inspire – and we got noticed!

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019

 

With Microsoft Inspire 2019 now behind us, it seems that the one thing everyone agrees upon is that the energy was high and the week flew by!

 

 

And in our 25th Anniversary year, we had lots to share and attracted much attention. Here are some of the highlights, along with a special feature spotlight on our D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) committee:

  • Our 25th Anniversary Party, which totally rocked the conference and attracted over 600 guests – 200 more than expected – to help us celebrate!
  • A personal visit to the Americas Board Meeting from Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner. Gavriella wanted to personally share Microsoft’s decision to reverse its position on the topic of IUR (Internal Use Rights) – a collective win for Microsoft, IAMCP, and all our members and partners around the globe.
  • A big moment when David Willis, Vice President, US Dynamics – Microsoft, opened the US General sessions congratulating the IAMCP on its 25th Anniversary, and more.

 

Many new IAMCP members during the conference, from US, South Africa, Canada, India, Ghana, Cyprus/Lebanon/Malta, China, BeLux, Austria, and UK.

 

The announcement of the launch of a new chapter in Greater China Region – a country-first for the IAMCP! You can read the full press release here.

 An eloquent message of 25th Anniversary congratulations from Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corporation, encapsulating how IAMCP has effected change in the last 25 years and commenting on what the next quarter-century might bring. You can view it here.

And, a very busy Petey, who even had a photo op with Gavriella Schuster!

Prometheus Awards – Celebrating those who help make our successes possible

The Prometheus Awards provide an opportunity for Partners to recognize the Microsoft staff that work with them on a day-to-day basis. Partners have an opportunity to vote for a member of staff who has provided an outstanding level of service to the Partner and has shown an exceptional level of commitment. A huge thank you and congratulations to this year’s winners for all you do in support of IAMCP Partners!

 

Diversity & Inclusion in the Inspire’s Spotlight

With Diversity and Inclusion an important strategic mandate for the IAMCP, our D&I committee was very much in the limelight at Inspire 2019, and the significance of this topic was a key theme of the entire conference. From Satya Nadella mentioning it in his keynote address, to its noticeable presence in every event, D&I was evident throughout the week.

“There was so much to learn with an incredible number of sessions and events on Diversity and Inclusion, not to mention the huge area in the Hub dedicated to it. Also, thoughtful details were built into the event itself, such as accessibility, which had been given so much more thought than in previous years. There were many more options for special diets, prayer spaces, areas for mothers, and the celebration venue ensuring wheelchairs could be used easily.“  – Sarika Malhotra, IAMCP D&I International Chair

At the WIT Luncheon, Satya Nadella and Gavriella Schuster engaged in a fireside chat on Inclusion, where they spoke about how diversity and inclusivity aren’t just nice to haves—they are key for high-performing teams, innovation and business success and also addressed the importance of women and other diverse candidates in the workplace.

For the IAMCP D&I Committee, the highlight was our Chair, Sarika Malhotra, being invited to  join the WIT Luncheon Panel, together with MSFTs Chief Diversity Officer, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre and Coco Brown of The WIT Network.

The panel topic was the “Case for Inclusion“, and was moderated by Christine Bongard, President, TWN. Panelists were asked to address what inclusion meant to them, and to cite both challenges and successes that they had encountered in their work environment.

The panel discussed how companies that emphasize inclusion and diversity gain increased innovation and better performance within their organizations. Three key take-aways from the discussion:

  • Diverse candidates represent our society and are also a very important part of economic potential.
  • Heterogeneity has been shown to greatly increase the innovative prospects of teams. With more effective teams and greater potential for innovation comes better business performance.
  • Employers who have a diverse workforce attract diverse and high performing talent, and are often in a better position to keep and develop their workforce, as employee morale is often higher.

The panel also acknowledged the importance of not focusing solely on diversity. Inclusion is a crucial business imperative, because when an organization embraces diversity, but doesn't have an inclusive culture, diversity does not bring any benefit.

It’s a Wrap!

By all accounts, Microsoft Inspire 2019 was a huge success and enjoyed by all our members in attendance. Our very own Munesh Jadoun, CEO of ZNet Technologies, member of the IAMCP Delhi, India chapter, and a Global Marcomm Committee team member, shared his experience with us; we couldn’t have said it better:

“As I had anticipated, Microsoft Inspire 2019 was a grandiose event again this year, made all the more special with the celebration of IAMCP'S 25th anniversary. Microsoft also made a special mention of this!

The 5 days passed in the blink of an eye. It was an absolute delight to meet Microsoft partners from across the globe. Inspire provided me with unparalleled networking opportunities and some great learning experiences.

The IAMCP booth was one of the most frequented, and featured a number of knowledge-sharing sessions from different influencers. Satya Nadella's keynote was very compelling, as was Gavriella Schuster's. In all, meeting so many Microsoft personnel and attending executive round tables and regional networking sessions left an everlasting impression on me.

It was a delightful experience and I certainly look forward to being there in 2020!”

And in closing, a special message from our International IAMCP Inspire Chair, Americas Secretary and Prometheus Award Winner, Debra Pfundstein, who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive and memorable Inspire experience for all our members:

“As 2019 IAMCP@Inspire Chair, it was my pleasure to help the IAMCP Celebrate our 25th Anniversary, working closely with Microsoft and many IAMCP member volunteers who dedicated their time to deliver a wonderful experience for all of us at Inspire. I can’t thank all our volunteers enough, for without their dedication to our community, Inspire simply wouldn’t be the same. As we dig into the plans for IAMCP@Inspire2020, please let us know if you’d like to join the team that helps build the experience for IAMCP@Inspire; we can be reached at us.inspire@iamcp.org.

I look forward to seeing everyone next year at Inspire2020. In the meantime, please keep celebrating our 25 Years of Partnerships!”

Please watch for upcoming announcements from Microsoft regarding Inspire 2020. The timeline has been pushed back a week to allow for Microsoft to release their FY2020 earnings, enabling them to discuss their financial results and performance to the partner, and allow for more FY2021 goals and targets to be shared.

Missed any of the Inspire sessions? It’s not too late – visit the Microsoft Inspire website to watch them all and ensure you don’t miss any valuable tips!

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IAMCP’s Gandalf and Forefather: We’ve Come a Long Way!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 2, 2019

 

The IAMCP celebrates its 25th Anniversary and takes a walk down memory lane with founding father, Bob Marsh

 

Two people looking at the camera Description automatically generatedWhether 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 A close up of a person wearing glasses Description automatically generatedwas 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!

 

 

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