Do you need technical help at your small business? Seven questions to Alyssa Fitzpatrick

Today’s technology is rapidly changing and it is almost impossible for small business owners. But we have no choice. Technology is smarter, more productive, efficient and more competitive.

One of the easiest ways to keep up to date is to cooperate with people who make use of technology. Microsoft partner Alyssa Fitzpatrick (Global Channel Sales) learned more about Microsoft partners and learned how to receive the technical support needed for small and medium enterprises to grow.

Rieva Lesonsky: What are the technology trends you are looking at now?

Alyssa Fitzpatrick: It is clear that technology is rapidly evolving. High-tech functions such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) are getting more and more important. For our [part] partners, especially customers, it may be difficult to keep track of all the changes. As a result, Microsoft is committed to providing training, certification and resources to partners through tools such as Microsoft’s learning path and on-demand course. The industry is competitive today, but it is also a very exciting time for growth and development opportunities. Partners who can provide additional services are of great value to customers who need guides with this changing landscape.

Lesonsky: What are you looking for when you partner with Microsoft? Do I need to meet certain criteria?

Fitzpatrick: We are looking for partners who truly know their customers and have basic skills to meet their needs. We ask each potential partner to complete the partner profile, provide evidence and customer reference material, conduct business related skill assessment, provide technical information, or to undergo a technical assessment exam is. For more information on requirements to become a Microsoft partner, see the Microsoft Partner Network Membership Page.

Lesonsky: Can SMEs be Microsoft partners?

Fitzpatrick: Of course! Many of our partners are also SMEs and there is a Microsoft Partner Center focused on resources for US small and medium business partners. Microsoft provides partner incentives, customer service, personal and online training, and other tools for small and medium enterprises. In addition, it has an internal community, an active partner of SMEs, and offers the latest news, webinars and meetings to SMEs that promote P2P productivity and collaboration.

Lesonsky: How are you involved with Microsoft partners? Is the communication method the best?

Fitzpatrick: The Microsoft Partner Center is the center of all partner’s news and activities. I am grateful for the facing elements from the event. A face-to-face conference allows partners to keep in touch with Microsoft and colleagues. There are so many channels and methods to interact with partners, such as social media, online communities, local events and conferences. We recently launched the Microsoft Community Community Web site to promote collaboration between P2P and Microsoft and partner (M2P). Microsoft is a global company and has partners around the world. It is therefore important to provide partners with means to communicate easily and globally.

Lesonsky: Does entrepreneurs attend meetings and trade fairs? Is it difficult to put you there?

Fitzpatrick: Business owners will attend meetings and trade fairs. Direct involvement with colleagues, potential customers, competitors, suppliers is very valuable. Companies know it. Around 16,000 attendees gathered at last year’s global sold-out meeting, most of which were business owners and decision-makers, as you can see from this partner survey at WPC 2016.

Lesonsky: What do you think about virtual shows and conferences? Is it difficult to engage when you are not confronted?

Fitzpatrick: We encourage Microsoft partners to participate in trade shows and conferences like Microsoft inspiration as much as possible, but virtual meetups are a great way for partners to contact you! One of the biggest benefits of these virtual meetings is to provide opportunities for partners to learn and interact with partners around the world who can never work elsewhere.

Social media is the best way to build online communities with other small businesses and business partners. Microsoft has hosted many webinars and tweets to link these communities and share precious information. You can benefit from everything you can offer as long as the partner actually or personally achieves this type of event, learns it and plans clearly what he wishes to achieve.

Lesonsky: What are the advantages of small businesses that work with Microsoft partners?

Fitzpatrick: A good thing about partners is that we need a lot of unnecessary work and worries and you can concentrate on what is really important for you and your small business. These partners are highly skilled and can optimize difficult processes for internal teams. Even if securing human resources to manage technology, employees can achieve company growth goals by approving partner companies to carry out these tasks.

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