A blog series for US partners by Jenni Flinders, Microsoft US Vice President, Partner Strategy and Programs.

Jenni%20Flinders%202010%2001_jpgIn your career, you’ve probably recognized that the events you’ve received the greatest benefit from are those you actively prepared for and participated in. No one has the time to attend an event that just “happens,” and if ever there was an event worth strategizing for, it’s the 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston.

In just a couple of days, WPC 2013 will kick off the largest annual gathering for the Microsoft partner community, and it’s like no other event in the industry. This is our annual opportunity to give you a preview of our plans so that you are primed to take full advantage of them and lay the foundation for your most successful year yet. Bringing you, our partners, into the fold as we kick off our market strategy focused around devices and services for the new Microsoft fiscal year (FY14).

For the benefit of your business, it’s as important to know what WPC has planned for you, as it is that you have a plan for it. Toward this end, I’d like to share with you the many ways Microsoft has built value into this year’s conference, as well as help you organize your plans for maximum WPC results:

Our plan for WPC is to:

  • Inform you. We will share our strategies to implement a blended devices and services approach for customers, including how to address big data and social enterprise. To enhance your own knowledge in these areas, you’ll be able to select from sessions covering critical these topics.
  • Connect you. Located in The Commons, the US Lounge will offer unique opportunities to connect with Microsoft employees and veteran partner mentors. This year’s US Celebration will be held Tuesday night at the distinctive Houston Museum of Natural Science and bring 2,500 partners and the US Partner Team, including business groups and segments, under one roof to celebrate you as a Microsoft partner. Throughout the week, WPC offers an unparalleled chance to network with Microsoft executives during 1:1 and 1:many events and roundtables. Microsoft and its partners are one together, and WPC helps build that deeper bond as we prepare to address FY14 plans together.
  • Inspire you. Our US Partner of the Year Award winners received an exclusive invitation to experience the Vision Keynotes on Monday and Wednesday in the US Award Winner Suite at the Toyota Center. This opportunity recognizes and celebrates our winning partners among their esteemed peers and Microsoft leadership. Celebrating in our accomplishments helps us all better understand the steps each and every one of us can take to propel our business forward, and perhaps be an award winner next year.

Your plan for WPC should include:

  • Gathering insights. For a definitive source on all things WPC 2013, I’d encourage you to review the US Partner’s Guide to a Great WPC 2013, which features recommendations from across the US team about how to make the most of every moment you spend at WPC 2013.
  • Pre-networking. WPC Connect is a platform for introducing yourself virtually to strategic channel contacts now, with the goal of fostering a business dialogue in person at WPC. Be sure your business name appears in the WPC Connect community!
  • Listening and learning. It’s important to first get a big picture view of all the conference sessions available to you and attend those with the most direct relevance to your business objectives. We are positively energized by the group of esteemed thought leaders who are scheduled to share their experiences and expertise with us about a wide, but targeted, range of pivotal industry opportunities, trends and challenges.

Don’t sit back and passively let WPC happen to you. Instead, seize it as a moment in time to accumulate mission-critical knowledge, unearth new and profitable relationships and shine a brighter light on your business than ever before. I urge you to approach your time at WPC with a disciplined eye, identifying what your success metrics will be for the event, far in advance of that exciting week in July.

Whether you’re a WPC newcomer or a WPC veteran, I want to hear your plans for deriving the greatest value from this year’s WPC…share them with me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders.