Wade Tyler Millward
Interlink, Core BTS, LAN Infotech, Guardian Computer and Ensono weigh in on Microsoft’s tough week.
The partners tell CRN that even though Microsoft’s growth is slowing for their businesses, they still see the potential to bring in more revenue from customers by offering more Microsoft products and services in security, data analytics and migrating legacy applications. to the cloud
Microsoft’s first round 10,000 The layoffs occurred on Wednesday, with employees in the zones of marketing, advertising, recruiting, gaming and mixed reality among those who have to publicly signal their permission from the tech giant.
Some investment firms have issued positive reports on Microsoft doing well in the long run even with the US seemingly headed for a recession with rising inflation and interest rates. Other companies have said that Microsoft’s growth period has reached a slow down.
Are Microsoft partners seeing a slowdown?
Mike Wilson, Chief Technology Officer at Mason, Ohio-based Microsoft Partner Interlink Cloud Advisors, told CRN in an interview that his 52-employee company expects “significant growth” from 2022 to 2023 while declining to give a figure exact
Security remains a major growth area for Interlink, Wilson said. His company has worked to move customers beyond the tools they receive through the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security platform.
“Customers are coming to the idea that Microsoft is the number one security company in the world,” Wilson said. “We’re seeing people really start to look at how they handle threat protection. And Defender XDR (extended detection and response) is resonating. The message that you have a set of integrated tools that are all pretty good individually, but they’re better than the sum of its parts when put together, it works really well.”
Outside of security, Interlink has invested in its expertise around Microsoft SharePoint to give Teams users more collaboration options and is building its Power Platform business to bring more developers to the low-code tool and achieve more automation of business processes.
While Wilson said he is saddened to hear about Microsoft’s 10,000 layoffs, his company is ready for the opportunity to recruit top talent.
“I certainly feel bad for the people who have a transition and obviously the disruption that goes with that, but I don’t see any impact to our business based on what Microsoft is doing,” he said.
Michael Goldstein – CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Microsoft partner LAN Infotech – told CRN in an interview that customers are still investing in cloud growth but are “more cost-conscious than before,” maintaining its Azure consumption rate instead of increasing. .
Instead, security is the growth area to invest in, with February and March being popular times for breach attempts, he said. LAN Infotech – a member of CRN’s 2022 Managed Service Provider 500 — also plans to launch security reviews for customers.
“We’re seeing a lot of growth on the safety side,” he said. “We’re really excited about the Defender suite and the ratings it’s getting. And all these kinds of things. So I see you pushing security, Sentinel. There’s going to be a lot of great things coming on that side of it, and people are going to look at in that consolidation stage.” So, Mike, do I need four salespeople? Or can it all come from Microsoft?”
Goldstein is also excited about more Teams features and how Microsoft is promoting Mesh as part of its workplace tools.
Jean Prejean — president of Metairie, La.-based Microsoft partner Guardian Computer — told CRN in an interview that his 11-employee business is investing in growing its capabilities around Azure and hybrid cloud environments.
Also Guardian – a member of CRN’s 2022 MSP 500 – is still committed to helping customers dig into the Office 365 suite and even upgrading some customers to E3 licenses, she still expects relatively flat growth in 2023 compared to 2022 due to the economy , Prejean said.
“We had great growth from ’21 to ’22,” Prejean said. “But our forecast for ’23 is pretty flat. We hired three people in ’22. If we hire someone, it will be at the end of the year. We don’t see a big increase this year … we don’t predict a bad year, but it will be a smooth year.”
Gordon McKenna, chief technology officer of public cloud for Ensono – a Microsoft partner based in Downers Grove, Ill. with more than 3,000 employees — said he expects to double the company’s Microsoft business.
Enson – No. 97 on CRN 500’s 2022 Solution Provider – leverages Microsoft’s mainframe modernization offerings to help customers move workloads to the cloud and modernize legacy applications. It also wants to be more strategic with Microsoft – and fellow hyperscalers Amazon Web Services and Google – and become more of a co-selling partner.
Even for non-technical companies trying to move to the cloud using in-house employees and resources, they are learning that outsourcing is the best way to handle complex IT projects, he said.
“Where does all the growth in our business come from? It’s from the cloud,” he said. “I don’t think that our customers don’t have a cloud strategy now, which was different from a few years ago. And I think that all of our customers, if I said the No. 1 thing that my customers tell me what they want to achieve – it’s faster to the cloud.”
McKenna is also looking at how to use the marketplaces of its largest vendor partners. Microsoft signaled to partners that its marketplace could be a way to sell customers wary of any new spending — but who already have a large Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC) for discounts.
For partners, transacting through the marketplace also reduces procurement process time, he said.
“A lot of customers commit to large amounts,” McKenna said. “I was talking with a very large financial customer the other day, I think they committed to close to a ($) 2 billion MACC with Microsoft. … The other massive benefit of the market is that customers have an invoice. So instead of engaging with Microsoft and giving them money for Azure and then engaging with us and giving them money for services, what they can do is buy a market item through the market and that goes on the its Azure invoice…”.
Tony Guidi — senior vice president of the 745-employee Microsoft alliance, a partner based in Indianapolis Core BTS — said that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s comments about customers trying to optimize their spending instead of spending more with the seller align with what is. seeing
The pandemic boom time has now yielded to Core BTS customers – No. 161 on CRN’s 2022 SP 500 – trying to get the most out of their subscriptions and consumption spending, Guidi said.
“Some projects you’ll see clients who are a little bit set up, kicking the can a little bit just to see economically where things are going and shake things up,” he said. “But at the end of the day, the business must be competitive. And they want to grow their business despite the economic conditions and be more profitable. Be more efficient.”
However, he is not worried about the negative growth in the practice of Core BTS Microsoft. Core BTS has seen a lot of demand around application innovation, Azure data analytics capabilities and endpoint security.
“We’re seeing growth in our business really on all fronts,” he said. “It’s growing to the levels we want it to … no. But there’s still growth here.”
More Microsoft Layoffs LinkedIn Posts
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 laid-off employees have taken to LinkedIn – a Microsoft social media network – to post about being laid off by the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant since Wednesday.
The employees come from Mcirosoft’s gaming, mixed reality, customer success, sales and support and Microsoft Advertising divisions.
Some of those employees are:
A business program manager who has worked at Microsoft for over 15 years
A 25-year veteran of Microsoft who was most recently a program lead manager for Services Hub, a digital delivery platform for Microsoft Enterprise support customers
A director of sales consulting services and consumer goods at Microsoft for less than a year
An employee on Microsoft’s FastTrack team that provided consulting and business value advice related to Teams
A cloud solution architect
A Microsoft mixed reality product manager and producer who has worked on Mesh and Microsoft’s AltspaceVR platform
A senior customer success account manager
A customer training associate at Microsoft for over seven years
Direct sales and support manager with Microsoft for about nine years
A senior product manager for the Microsoft Start experience that has worked with the company for almost 16 years
A senior service engineer manager for the display of the publisher Microsoft Advertising and the native policy enforcement team (AdsHelp) in the company for about 17 years