A New Year
Monday was the first day of the New Year back at work for me, and first and foremost, as I stated in my Happy New Year 2013 wishes and a sincere Thank You from all of us at Microsoft post, I’d like to offer up a huge thank you to all of the partners around the world for a fantastic 2012 and the pleasure to work with you all for another year! Working to drive our joint success with partners has always been one of the things I have always enjoyed most in my career here at Microsoft.
Just over four years ago, I made the move from the Microsoft U.S. Team to join the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) Team to take on our Non-Managed Partner satisfaction worldwide. The next fiscal year here at Microsoft, as happens here at Microsoft from time to time, we had a re-organization, which moved my role under new leadership and gave me the chance to take on all of our Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) partner satisfaction and experience here on the Worldwide (WW) Team. As with any re-organization, it presented the chance to look at how we approach the business, and the leadership and I took that opportunity to work together to re-define how we approached partner CPE (Customer & Partner Experience) in the Worldwide Partner Group. During the next three years I had the great pleasure to:
And I have to admit, I am very proud of the results that we accomplished together by the end of that three year plan. We couldn’t have accomplished what we did without you, so thank you to all of you for being a part of it and your continued partnership with Microsoft.
A New Adventure
As you know, New Years often brings with it resolutions, and resolutions are often meant to bring about change. After all, a new year, a new start, a new opportunity, right? Well, this New Year brings with it a change for me. With the New Year, I’m moving on up… literally. This past Monday, January 7th, I made my return to the Microsoft U.S. SMS&P Team as Microsoft Sales Excellence Program Manager, which means a move back to our Lincoln Square office. My desk is now on the 28th floor in Lincoln Square vs. the 3rd floor of our 121 Building, where I have been for the last 4 1/2 years, so I’m about 250 feet higher now (and oh how I love the views from this building!)
As the Sales Excellence Program Manager for the U.S. SMS&P Solution Partner business at Microsoft, my focus is leading our Solution Partner initiatives through our Partner Account Manager (PAM) and Partner Technology Advisor (PTA) communities to deliver joint success between Microsoft and our Solution Partners through driving Business Excellence. This spans across several key initiatives here at Microsoft, such as selling capabilities, readiness, best practice sharing/implementation, and consistent execution across PAMs as well as partnering with many other teams here at Microsoft around items such as our channel incentives programs, partner tools, and more. Given my extensive background and personal experience with our Microsoft Partners and sellers, including: working for a Microsoft partner, then starting and running a channel partner for several years (with customers spanning 25 countries), then joining our Microsoft U.S. Team leading many partner initiatives before moving to our worldwide team to lead our Non-Managed Partner Experience and Satisfaction efforts before expanding to take on leading our worldwide Partner Experience and Satisfaction efforts across all of our SMS&P partners as noted above, I am very excited to be returning to the Microsoft U.S. Team to lead these initiatives! Besides, I always enjoyed being a part of the Microsoft U.S. Team and it is going to be wonderful to once again get to work with so many fantastic people I used to work with years ago, as well as so many new people that I haven’t had the chance to work with yet. From a timing perspective, today is my final transition day (I’ve been doing both jobs this week) and on Monday I make the cut over the the new role full-time. By the way, here’s that view from my desk I was telling you about:
A New CPE
Let me answer a few questions I’ve received, such as: Who’s taking on CPE now? and What about your online/social items (just like you asked when I moved from the U.S. to Worldwide)?
The simple answers are:
For those of you that have worked with me for some time, you know that I often say that some keys to success in driving satisfaction are to ensure that you: 1) Set clear expectations and 2) Meet or exceed those expectations you have set. So to add a little clarification, and to set your expectations properly moving forward: Through another re-organization during our FY12 fiscal year here at Microsoft, my role (and that of my counterpart leading our SMS&P Customer CPE efforts) were moved (as happened several years ago), this time out of the Worldwide Partner Group Team to a new team, still within the Worldwide SMS&P Team. With this change, we entered this fiscal year under new leadership than the beginning of last fiscal year. Similar to the last re-organization, the opportunity was taken to look at the business design (as every leadership team has the right to do), and the new leadership informed us that the business wanted a “New CPE” and the design of the WW SMS&P CPE Lead roles would change accordingly. In conversations with the new leadership, some key differences of the design of the new CPE in WW SMS&P that you as partners would notice became much clearer.
For example, here are a few answers from the new leadership to some of the questions I asked about the new WW SMS&P CPE Lead design that I think will help set your engagement expectations properly moving forward:
Because of these changes, please do not expect to see the new individuals that come onboard building replacement WW SMS&P CPE social media/online engagement/Direct to partner communication engines to replace the ones I had, as this will not be part of their role or focus (as noted above). Instead, please utilize the ones I refer to above and the rest of those provided by Microsoft moving forward.
Change is a common thing in business and this is simply a change. Just like we changed the WW SMS&P CPE Lead role (bringing social media, online, and direct partner connection in) when I first moved over to take on the role, it is simply changing again (taking these items back out of the role). As a quote I have always enjoyed says, “I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination,” and I want you all to continue to reach your destination successfully.
A New Puppy
Now I’m sure some of you are wondering, “What does a new puppy have to do with this?” Well, we’re talking about “new” and “change” and “satisfaction” here, right? Well, what says “satisfaction” more than smiling? Because of this, I thought I’d leave you all with this picture of a recent change in my family over the holidays. Meet the newest member of my family. After all, what brings a smile to people’s faces quicker than a puppy picture?? If you know me, you know that driving positive impact on our partner satisfaction is something that has always been built into my DNA, and it continues moving forward. So I hope you can all enjoy a smile or two as you read this and look into the eyes of this cute little guy heading into the weekend.
As I wrote in my mail to my colleagues here at Microsoft about my move to the new opportunity I am about to embark on, “Looking back on my time since moving over to the Worldwide Team, I can honestly say that I have experienced three years that would make it onto my list of favorite years of my Microsoft career.” You all have been a large part of this, as I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work with so many of you during that time. Thank you for the great partnership and interaction! Even though I’m moving back to the Microsoft U.S. Team, I’m still going to be working in the partner business, focusing on driving the success of our partners through our Microsoft partner account teams, so I’m not going too far. (You didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily, did you? ) Plus, even if you’re not a U.S. based Microsoft partner, I’ll continue to see you all in the online world and at Worldwide Partner Conference (my favorite week of the Microsoft year!) as well. Here’s to a great 2013 and beyond together!
Did you find this information helpful? If so, you may want to make sure you are utilizing all of the areas I share information online, such as:
Thanks again for being a reader of my blog!
Thank you and have a wonderful day,
Eric Ligman – Follow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and Facebook Sales Excellence Program Manager Microsoft Corporation This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
Congrats! The hardest working father in show business !!
Happy New Year!!
Congratulations on he new role -- that's fantastic! Good for you.
As a fellow Community focused person (where my role is also linking to the community and providing insight to product management), there's something that just makes very little sense about a "Customer & Partner Experience" role that isn't encouraged to actually communicate outside of Microsoft. That just seems to make no sense to me. I know my role encourages the communication outside the company.
Best of luck to you in the new role!
Director of Partner Community
I just saw this and excuse my language Eric, but what kind of dumb@$$ thinks you do partner engagement by NOT talking to partners? You should have named this, "A New Year, a new adventure, a new level of stupidity!" Good luck in your new role and thanks for doing what you do.