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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 117

February 10, 2021

#117 Glenton Davis: How Microsoft Creates New Markets with Partners

Glenton Davis, Global Senior Business Development & Strategy Manager, Business Applications at Microsoft, joins Ecosystem Aces and explains how Microsoft approaches product strategy

Microsoft has over 3 hundred thousand partners. But what exactly do they look for in a potential alliance?

In this episode, Glenton Davis, Global Senior Business Development & Strategy Manager, Business Applications at Microsoft, joins Ecosystem Aces and explains how Microsoft approaches product strategy and the paths to a Microsoft partnership.

Davis shares:

  • How Microsoft gains insights for new product strategy
  • Opportunities in COVID and the future of work
  • Microsoft’s hyper-verticalization with partners

Where Do New Joint Product Ideas Come From?

Glenton’s role is all about working with partners to find new opportunities to build the next great product for Microsoft customers.  Ideas don’t just fall from trees.  It takes work, analysis, connecting with the field, and connecting directly with customers to find the right combination that will meet a new market need.  

The Microsoft Business Development teams start with a solid understanding of market opportunities gaining insights from the top technology research and industry analysts. This helps Microsoft develop product strategies that are relevant and applicable to the current landscape.

Then, in order to truly understand what is happening at the customer level, the BD team spends time with the Microsoft global sales team, Microsoft’s startup investment team, M12 Ventures, and also brings in the relevant engineering counterparts to find new opportunities where there could be opportunity areas that could be filled by partners with the right solutions, capabilities, or experiences to deliver a comprehensive joint solution to Microsoft customers.

Combining all of this information collected from multiple sources is how Microsoft gains the best possible perspective for which investments and partners they choose to work with on a joint solution offering to bring to market.

Taking Advantage of the Future of Work

The new normal is here to stay. The last year has shown that even large companies such as Microsoft can achieve productivity without a centralized working space. Moving forward, technology companies will have to navigate a world where decentralized working is the new normal. Additionally, the increasing mix of full time, part-time and temp labor is also becoming more prevalent. The challenge that technology companies face will be how to ensure continuity, unity and engagement with these different labor types as they continue to scale. 

In the same way organizations have become decentralized in their internal communication, so have interactions with customers. In this new reality, it’s critical for companies to create a multi-experience or channel-less engagement to make sure the context of customer interactions remain present irrespective of modality.  

This is a huge opportunity for Microsoft and partners working together to build new capabilities that fill this need in the market.  Solutions like Microsoft Teams and Dynamics are built for these new working environments and partners can play a critical part in delivering the right overall solution to customers.

The Paths to Microsoft Partnership

There isn’t just one cookbook answer to start partnering with Microsoft. For larger organizations, look into Microsoft Partner Network. This is an incredible resource that provides opportunities to build business with Microsoft, work up the stack, and learn where there could be key verticals where your capabilities are needed in the market.  For startups who are still in the process of building, and even for individuals who have new innovative ideas, Microsoft for Startups is a program where the company has pledged 500 million dollars to assist startup initiatives. 

A new area that Microsoft is seeing a lot of traction with partners is hyper-verticalization. While Microsoft has created offerings for a variety of industries, partners often have unique capabilities that address the needs of very specific verticals and can provide last-mile solutions that bring great value to our joint customers. Companies that already have a lot of insight or experience working in specific industries can help Microsoft go deeper into their verticals and generate solutions for specific use cases and sub industries.

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by:


Twitter: @chiprodgers