Successfully Partnering with Microsoft


MicrosoftI believe that one of the foundations of our success as an MSP has been focusing on successful relationships. Successful relationships with our staff, with our clients, and with our vendors. We look upon our relationship with vendors as a partnership, understanding what our vendors look for in a successful relationship, and then seeking out opportunities that will help with mutual growth.

The biggest vendor Partner

Our biggest vendor partner is by far and away Microsoft. That’s probably the case for the majority of IT providers who read this blog too.

Therefore we’ve been delighted to have been acknowledged by Microsoft as one of their top UK partners on three separate occasions this year.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced Netlink IT as their first Small Business Specialist Champions.

Then, in June, I was appointed as Microsoft Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead for the UK, alongside Steve Wright of BMS, and Guy Gregory. I was delighted to be offered the PAL role, as three of the men who had taken on this role before me, Gareth Brown of Sytec, Vijay Riyait of Ardentisys, and Andy Trish of NCI are all individuals who I’ve looked up to since becoming involved in the SBSC Community, and all three who have taken time and effort to offer me advice and guidance as I’ve grown my own business.

Being given the opportunity to work alongside Steve Wright, another individual I look up to and who I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside before, and Guy, who alongside Andy Parkes has absolutely transformed the role of AMITPRO group lead, is an exciting prospect!

PAL’s across the countries

Each country treats the PAL role differently, and Steve, Guy and myself are still exploring how we’re going to make the best of the role with Microsoft’s UK SBSC Lead Dell Quinn – but going forwards there are two things I’d like to bring to the role personally.

The first – like Gareth, Vijay, Andy and Steve before me, I want to help other SBSC’s and Small Biz IT owners to engage with Microsoft better. With the PAL role I hope I can make this happen, and help show those who still think Microsoft is too big to engage with, exactly how to go about making that relationship a success.

Understanding Business

The second thing I’ll be aiming to do has been the goal of this blog and much of my activity within the SBSC Community for a while now. It is a burning passion of mine. My own growth, both personally and professionally, really started to accelerate when I realised that the key to being successful within business is less about having all the technical skills under the sun, and more about understanding business. I went from being a “one man band” IT guy, in reality just owning a job, to changing my outlook and truly owning a business, ultimately leading to the merger between Netlink IT and last year. I still see a lot of SBSC’s struggling to make that transition from IT guy to business owner,, many times because they lack the techniques to do so. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but having been there myself, I’m hopefully in a position where I can share my experiences with those that want to try stepping up.

Getting in touch

If I can help you with any queries over your companies relationship with Microsoft as an SBSC, or help with any challenges you’re facing as an SBSC – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Speaking at WPC

The final piece of good news for us as a Microsoft Partner is that I’m honoured to have been asked to be a speaker at this years Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, DC from 12th-15th July! I’ll be joining Andrea Russell, Microsoft SBSC Global Lead, Arlin Sorenson, Founder of HTG Peer Groups, Dean Calvert from Australia and Jerod Powell to talk about “Confessions of a Successful VAR” on Tuesday 13th July. I understand from Andrea that our session is already the most heavily subscribed of the entire SMB track at WPC and is therefore likely to be very well attended – so no pressure then eh? 🙂

I’ll be heading out for WPC in Washington, DC on Friday 9th July, with an absolute packed agenda ahead of me that I’m looking forwards to getting stuck in to! I’ll be reporting back as often as time allows via this blog and my Twitter feed at As this is my 3rd WPC (having attended Houston, TX in 2007 and New Orleans in 2008) and my 2nd as a speaker (I presented on Windows 7 and “The Community within IT” at last years WPC) – I thought I’d begin those WPC-focused blogs by sharing my experiences of “Making the most of WPC” – therefore I hope you’ll check back for that next blog post!


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    [...] IT as the first Small Business Champions, and in July, I was named as one of the three UK SBSC Partner Area Leads (PALS). Later in the year, I accepted an invitation to join the Microsoft UK “Ask The Experts” [...]

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