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Partner Success with Microsoft Cloud for Retail
Sunil Mistry Solution Director | June 23, 2021
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The businesses that survived and even prospered during the pandemic embraced digital transformation. This is especially true of retail establishments. Microsoft Cloud for Retail provides the foundation for the digital transformation of retailers, and partners bridge between the core cloud components and the unique needs of customers. Microsoft encourages partners to use their knowledge and experience to work directly with customers to solve their unique needs and provide customized services and products. This is because partners have a deep understanding of their customers, including their workflows, data models, and other unique characteristics.

Partners help customers by answering questions about how to deal with legacy applications, databases, and workflows. They help with cloud migration projects, eliminate siloed data, interface with 3rd parties, and ensure security and privacy standards are met. Microsoft can’t do everything and depends on the expertise of partners. It’s important for partners to build a strategy that builds upon their unique offerings and knowledge of their customers. Their goals must align with Microsoft as well as fulfill customer needs. The resultant business model must be based on a profile of a partner’s ideal customer and an understanding of the market. Microsoft is supporting a robust partner ecosystem to bridge the gaps between Microsoft core cloud retail offerings and customer expectations.

Some customer concerns to consider are:

  • Dealing with legacy applications, databases, and workflows
  • Moving data to the cloud
  • Where possible, eliminating siloed data
  • Customizing to meet customer requirements
  • Interfacing with third parties such as vendors
  • Workflow timing
  • Disaster recovery and high availability
  • Privacy requirements
  • Security requirements

Help your customers by answering these questions with concerns through the digital transformation process by being their trusted guide from beginning to end. Provide the support they need to ensure the digital transformation is successful and meet their objectives.

Each customer has unique workflows, processes, and data flows. The Microsoft platform provides the basic architectures common to the retail industry. The primary mission of partners is to help customers migrate existing data and applications to the retail cloud, customize solutions, and support digital transformation initiatives to meet the specific needs of customers. The Microsoft ecosystem cannot do everything; they rely on the expertise of partners to build bridges in the core components and to meet unique customer needs.

Understand customer requirements and match those to the functionality of the retail cloud. During this process, the areas where you can add value will become obvious; continue to iterate to build a plan of everything that needs to be done to fulfil your customer’s requirements. Add branding and other options to further personalize your solution.

To be a partner, you must examine the strengths of your business and offerings, then use those to define your unique value proposition.

To be a partner, you must examine the strengths of your business and offerings. Then use those to define your unique value proposition. The goal is to build upon the solutions provided by the Microsoft ecosystem to provide exceptional value to your customers. You must align your solution to both Microsoft and your customers. Building a business that conflicts with either is not in your best interest.

Look at the solutions that you are offering today, then consider what you can add by using Microsoft Cloud for Retail. What opportunities does the Microsoft platform give that you didn’t have before? By surveying your customers, their needs, and comparing them to the Microsoft solutions, you can determine how you can exactly leverage Microsoft Cloud for Retail to help you deliver the right solutions for your client’s needs.

The business model that you develop as a partner must add value to Microsoft Cloud for Retail. Additionally, begin with Microsoft cloud capabilities as your foundation and use APIs and deep integration to extend your capabilities. Finally, offer your customers opportunities to use your services for tasks such as deploying, integrating, and connecting the Microsoft Retail Cloud with their other systems.

Follow the four different parts of the retail cloud journey, which include helping customers with:

  • Deployment and customization – Onboard the customer in the retail cloud
  • Integrating partner offerings into the solution – Deeply integrate your offerings into Microsoft Cloud for Retail
  • Implement the interoperability between the partner solution and the retail cloud
  • Evangelize the value of the partnership to senior leaders at the customer

Retail organizations can take advantage of Microsoft Cloud for Retail to transform their business digitally, quickly, and efficiently. This gives your customers fantastic opportunities to succeed and get ahead of their competition. As a partner, your mission is to bridge the gap between the core Microsoft cloud for retail offering and customer requirements.

Microsoft Cloud for Retail offers many opportunities for partners to enhance the value of Microsoft products and services for your customers. These include:

  • Migrating to the cloud
  • Connecting to legacy systems
  • Adding new functionality
  • Personalizing by adding branding and features
  • Managing inventory to help build a resilient supply chain
  • Taking advantage of Microsoft advertising and digital ads
  • Demand generation

Examine your current offerings combined with your competencies and align these to your customer’s needs and requirements. By doing this, you can help your customers succeed in their digital transformation.