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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 91

January 30, 2020

#91 Cecilia Flombaum: Growth: It’s Everyone’s Problem

Cecilia Flombaum, who is the Worldwide Lead for Business Application Partners at Microsoft, joins Chip Rodgers on this Ecosystem Aces episode.

Every company wants to grow.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom and pop store, or a multi-billion dollar international organization.

At some point, every company wants to grow and get bigger. To serve more people. To bring in more revenue, hire more staff, and make a bigger impact on the world.

But for companies that have a large partner ecosystem, growth can present some unique challenges. A special set of headaches that, if you’re not careful, can drastically slow you down.

On a recent episode of the Ecosystem Aces podcast, we sat down with Cecilia Flombaum, who is the Worldwide Lead for Business Application Partners at Microsoft. We talked all about growing a partnership ecosystem at scale, how partners are helping grow the business, and so much more.

One of the key takeaways was the challenges that a company the size of Microsoft, who does business in virtually every country on earth, faces when it comes to scaling a partner ecosystem.

It Starts with Scale

As you can imagine, a company like Microsoft operates differently than some of their other counterparts in the marketplace.

With 145,000+ employees and a revenue of over 125B last year, it’s a full-time job just managing the scale of growth associated with a program of this size.

Different things are going to work differently in different parts of the world. Cultural sensitivity is huge when it comes to implementing a program that functions for everyone. Because every partner and solution is different.

Just because it works in Canada doesn’t mean it’s going to work in Norway.

Capacity / Capability

Far and away, the biggest challenge facing a company like Microsoft right now is their capacity & capability.

Unfortunately, increased capacity is the nature of the business when you grow as quickly and explosively as Microsoft has grown. There’s no way around it. The key is figuring out how to appropriately manage and anticipate growth and capacity concerns.

Microsoft has added over 1,000 partners a year for the past several years. It’s an exciting growth pain that they’ve got to go through together with their partners. It’s not a bad problem to have, but it is one that requires a specific set of solutions and parameters to ensure smooth operation.

Learning Isn’t What it Used to Be

Specifically for folks like solution architects, developers, and technical engineers, learning and development looks drastically different than it used to.

Microsoft ships updates to technology monthly and implement major updates every six months. There is always something new to learn, and that learning is constant and can be overwhelming when you’re just trying to keep your business up to date with the latest technology.

The Main Thing

At the end of the day, the most important thing for a company like Microsoft, or any company for that matter, is accelerating the growth of the business.

What keeps them up at night is making sure partners have the capacity they need and the ability to keep up with the constant new applications of technology.

Thankfully, they’re on the right path to making sure that their ecosystem of partners are well equipped to do what they need to do to succeed.

Listen to the podcast here.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Ecosystem Aces Podcast, or visit our dedicated Ecosystem Aces page.

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