Microsoft Partner Of The Year 2020: Rags To Riches

Today Cloudreach was announced as Microsoft's UK Partner of the Year for 2020. In this post, Andre Azevedo reflects back on a successful year for Cloudreach's Azure practice and the momentum that is building from our growing partnership with Microsoft.

OK, this isn't exactly a rags to riches story, but I couldn’t find a better analogy (more on that later!)

Those familiar with the public cloud world may have noticed that Cloudreach has won the 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year award in the UK. This doesn't just recognise our expertise on the Azure platform - but our success and innovation within Microsoft's wider partner network. Impressive, I know.

Back in October, I took on the challenge of leading the Cloudreach Azure practice. At the time, I wrote a post stating: “right now I can’t think of a better way of furthering Cloudreach’s business”. This prediction not only materialised but exceeded all my expectations. In a few short months we have grown the practice globally by 300%+ in revenue, 500%+ in influenced Azure consumption, and other things measured in hundreds like certifications, delivery resources, and so on.

In my biased view, our success is even more impressive when you consider Cloudreach's history and where we came from. Growing a business within a business is not always easy, especially when pure inertia will tend to pull a company towards practices that have brought it success in the past. With the Azure practice, we were disadvantaged by starting from a small base  (this is the “rags” part of the story).

How did we get to "riches”?

I’m a big believer in simplicity, focus and leading by example. I don’t mean myself necessarily, but how the team behaves internally and externally. This is how I believe you can grow any business if you have the right ingredients. And an amazing platform like Microsoft Azure, of course.

Firstly, we simplified our offerings into a set of solutions that we were absolute experts on and had the capability to deliver. This allowed us to pass the what-do-you-want-to-be-known-for? test and be very clear about what customers and Microsoft could call upon us for. This is easier said than done because it involves making hard choices - sometimes purposefully ignoring economic opportunities that could draw us away from our strategy.

This approach allowed us to focus on clear priorities. It enabled us to have a crisp message to communicate our strengths to the market. It also ensured we had a clear delivery strategy and set of skills required for success. 

What about leading by example? What I mean here is that you and your team should behave in a way that is an example for others. When we talk to customers or to Microsoft about Cloudreach and our capabilities, the team should inspire both confidence and trust. You have to deliver with enthusiasm and good humour, but with down-to-earth honesty and clarity. You want the people in the room (physical or virtual) to want to work with you because you are seen as an example to follow.

There are of course a lot of other “business” things, like marketing and demand generation, pipeline and metrics, sales forecast, hiring and the rest, but I won’t bore the reader with that.

What next?

I think it’s only going to go one way, and that is “up”. We feel the burden of responsibility the award puts on us to continue to deliver. So we plan to use this momentum as a platform to grow even faster and deliver even better results for our customers. The dream would be to repeat the feat elsewhere or in a specific skill set next year, but we have to wait and see. Will have to come up with another post title though.

For more information on our Microsoft Azure practice, click here.

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