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Refresh the Road Ahead, the guide to understanding and partnering with Microsoft

Michiel Van Vliet who has worked in the Microsoft ecosystem since 1995, writes “Refresh the Road Ahead”. Van Vliet declares that“the idea to write this book originated during Microsoft´s Inspire event in July 2017, formerly called the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Microsoft just announced a new organizational structure and I decided to write an article on LinkedIn analyzing the reorganization and what it would mean for partners. In less than two weeks’ time, I had over 20.000 views and more than 5.000 of those came directly from Microsoft employees, so I figured there was a need for a book on the topic”. 

Originally the subtitle of the book was a ´practical´ guide to successful business partnering with Microsoft but Van Vliet figured that what was needed for this book to be useful was to create something that would not be completely out of date in one fiscal year. Therefore, the book is shying away from short term and very timebound tips and tricks as much as possible and takes the long view. 

“Microsoft wants you to transform as a partner and they explain the why and sometimes the what, however they come short on the how. Transformation is hard, painful, and costly. You will see several examples in the book. Some partners had to reduce their staff by over 50 percent to transform, others built completely new businesses.”

To Michiel Van Vliet, “this is not just a book for alliance or channel managers.If you want to be successful in a partnership, you cannot abdicate the strategy and the management of that partnership to the alliance person. It needs to be a top down and bottom up approach. This book is for CEO´s, CMO´s, Practice managers, CTO´s and partner roles. Everybody in your organization that has something to do with Microsoft can benefit from reading this book.”. He develops a framework based on 40 in depth interviews with award winning partners from 19 countries. 

Van Vliet says “I wanted to write a book for partners without it being a marketing outlet for Microsoft. I hope that because I am personally living and driving the transformation at Kabel, the company I work at as a CEO. This might give some additional credibility compared to what you can get from other sources.

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