Microsoft Inspire UK Regional Session: Partner Growth

The fourth and final day of Microsoft Inspire featured our UK regional session. Hosted by Glenn Woolaghan, Partner Development Lead, and Laura Bouchard, Partner Sales Director, the session focussed on partner growth, specifically around the market opportunity, Microsoft and partner investments, and partner success. The theme of the session was the Partner Growth game, featuring a live illustrator capturing the key points and takeaways for you to take back digitally to your team.

Glenn and Laura began by thanking you, our partners, for the passion and energy you have demonstrated throughout the event, and indeed in driving the partner relationship day after day. Reflecting on the last financial year, Laura and Glenn pulled out the cloud workshops and the UK Partner Summit as two highlights for them both. With over 100 partners running more than 300 workshops, targeting 2400 unique customers (46% of which have transitioned into a sales lead or opportunity for our partners), it is clear to see why the workshops were a particular highlight of us working together.


"Your success is our success", Glenn Woolaghan


Market Opportunity


Clare Barclay, Chief Operating Officer for Microsoft UK, was next on stage, looking at the market opportunity. Despite all the changes we have heard about this week - both internally, at an industry level, and indeed globally, our partners are continuing to innovate. The UK is definitely a market full of opportunity and optimism, as shown in the results we have delivered collectively.


In the commercial sector our UK business grew 21% in the last year, with 73% powered by cloud growth. We have seen massive growth in O365 and triple digit growth in Azure. These results would not be possible without the support of our partners, driving usage, consumption and adoption within our customers, and providing such an exciting prospect for the opportunities ahead.


In line with the internal Microsoft changes, Clare then introduced Joe Macri as the new Partner Lead for Microsoft UK.

Looking at the year ahead, Joe commented that the innovation around the intelligent cloud, the intelligent edge, around all our products that Satya laid out on Monday, provides an incredible opportunity to build more capacity and innovation. We talk a lot about go-to-market, but with you, our partners, we are going to make the market within the UK and we are really investing in some key growth areas to enable this:

Partner Investments


Next on the agenda was partner investments, with Mark Smith, Azure Lead UK and Andy Pratt, President, The Marsden Group, joining us on stage. The Marsden Group demonstrates a great partner who has really invested in Azure and building out their IP, as well as investing in their culture to fully embrace the market opportunity. Andy discussed the importance of building a team culture that is agile, able to deliver a rapid proof of concept and then filling in any gaps by partnering with SI's and support companies.


The session then moved on to a partner panel, led by Laura and featuring the following partner representatives:



Both Keith, John and Guy really echoed the significance of aligning by industry, and as a partner, the importance of building out a managed service offering. Keith's tips for other partner were to invest in solutions that sit on top of your own services, to align sales and marketing teams, and to invest in building out expertise and skills in your organisation.


Microsoft Investments


As we moved onto Microsoft investments, the session turned to discuss building out digital talent. Hugh Milward, Director, Corporate External & Legal Affairs, and Nicola Young UK Skills Lead, took to the stage to run through the existing skills shortage and how we can address it to reach our cloud potential.


With Azure having a new release every 36 hours, the question was asked as to how can we continually learn, as and when we need it?


The answer is to move to a model of Learning as a Service, and Microsoft is investing in this area to enable the community to do this. With the launch of our skills initiative, and our Massively Open Online Courses, we cover a vast array of free and accessible Azure training. By offering our professional courses, we have taken this one step further to really help partners take this content and attach it to their cloud offering to add real value to their customers. We then heard from Microsoft partner, Fast Lane, who have developed their own LaaS solution to deliver the skills that the market needs.


Our Apprentice Programme also plays a huge part in building out new skills and talent, and the recently launched Partner Pledge has had over 50 partners signing up during this week alone, pledging over 500 apprentice places.


Mark Johnston, UK GTM lead, and Scott Allen, UK CMO, concluded this section, outlining how we will create demand for you, and with you. They ran through the messaging priorities for the year ahead, as we continue to focus on Digital Transformation and security, running both campaigns across the four workloads we have talked about this week.


How can partners stay up to date with all of this?


We are creating a far more simplified structure within our marketing department, and aim to keep our marketing:


1) Outcome focused

2) Relevant to all partners

3) Scalable


As a partner, you can stay updated through our social channels, and leverage the following resources to build out your strategy:


1) Concierge

2) Cloud workshops

3) Co-marketing.


Glenn then rounded up the session with the following resources for you to leverage:





Partner Success


The session ended by congratulating our finalists and winners of the Partner of the Year awards, with CGI, the Country Partner of the Year onstage with Clare. Catch up on the video to find out more about their well-deserved win.

As mentioned above, this session along with the three daily keynotes, were captured by a live illustrator, and we have created a digital resource showing the final illustrations and  outlining all of the resources and tools mentioned in today's session. Visit to take a look.