👋🏻 Hello and welcome to this edition of Interesting Stuff, your fortnightly dose of things I think you’ll find interesting if you’re in the world of Azure, partners, small business, and Microsoft. I’m James Marshall, SMB Azure Partner Success Lead for the UK at Microsoft, and if you find this content useful please remember to subscribe and share this with your network. Thank you! 😎 In this edition, you’ll find:

💭 A deeper look into Azure success.
📝 A summary of the latest Azure updates.
📰 Interesting articles I’ve seen around the web.

Defining Azure Success, continued…

Last time, we cracked open the playbook on Azure’s success metrics, from customer satisfaction to lifetime value. Today? We’re diving deeper, looking into the nuances that set winning Azure partners apart. Let’s get started… Think of your Azure business as a multi-faceted gem. On the surface, high Azure Consumed Revenue (ACR) might gleam success, but seasoned partners know that the real treasure lies beneath, in the metrics that don’t always get the spotlight.

Unleash the power of data!

Azure isn’t just a platform or collection of services; it’s a goldmine of data. To build a thriving Azure business you need to have the right insights; here are the KPIs to have on your radar:

  1. Customer adds. Are you growing your reach and market share?
  2. Cumulative ACR. Track your overall revenue.
  3. Monthly Average ACR per customer (ACPC). Understand customer value over time.

While the mean ACPC offers a valuable snapshot, it’s crucial to remain vigilant. The mean can be skewed upwards by relying too heavily on a few high-consuming customers. It’s a risky strategy. Diversify and balance to ensure stability; compare the mean to the median to see if you have the right mix. Churn and share-shift happen every day, but reducing reliance on a small number of customers can help offset the impact if they leave.

Aim to align both mean and median ACPC. If there’s a significant disparity, it’s time for a strategic shift. Harness customer engagement to secure a consistent and diversified revenue stream.

A straightforward way to achieve alignment is to create repeatable solutions that can be deployed simply and quickly over and over. They’re easier to sell (because they’re more like a product), cost less to support (because you’ve standardised, reducing complexity and deviation from the norm), and are easier to forecast in terms of revenue impact (because you’re following a standard template). Sure, some customers will need the bespoke treatment, but having some off-the-shelf solutions is a good practice.

What’s the real challenge for you?

After adding a few customers, it’s easy to stall growth because you don’t know what’s really holding you back, and for some partners it means changing practices that have been in place for years. The fastest growing Azure partners embrace change, acknowledging that sometimes we need to rip up the conventional rule book in order to realise the opportunity for success.

Taking a leaf out of Michael Bungay Stanier’s groundbreaking The Coaching Habit, one question resounds: “What’s the real challenge for you?” Identifying your specific hurdles is the game-changer. Whether it’s enhancing skills, revamping compensation models (a very common scenario), or plotting the next strategic focus, every challenge conceals an opportunity.

Closing the gap

Narrowing the mean-median ACPC gap isn’t just a metric goal — it’s a vision. By spurring existing customers to increase their Azure engagement, you amplify revenues and lay the groundwork for a sustainable recurring revenue model. Attracting new customers? Always important. But growing your relationship with existing customers? That’s where you strike gold. Solidify those ties and watch as your customers transform into your biggest champions.

In conclusion

Delivering success with Azure is a data-driven practice. Having the right measures, up to date, and accessible to the right people in your business will help supercharge their ability to delight customers and grow revenues. We’ll continue to explore this topic and others in future editions of Interesting Stuff.

How do you approach customer success in your business? Let me know in the comments! 👇🏻

Azure Updates

There’s always something new to share, so here are a few highlights I think you should know about.

Interesting Stuff from Others

The marketing team were hard at work recently, renaming Azure AD to Entra ID. If you want a great summary, check out this video from MVP Andy Malone where he unpacks the changes, enhancements, and everything you need to know! 👇🏻

I’m a big fan of streaming, and I’ve enjoyed seeing Azure MVP ☁️ Gregor Suttie - Azure MVP talking to some brilliant people on his streams over the last few weeks. Recently, he was in conversation with April Edwards on all things GitHub Copilot - you should check it out. 👇🏻

Until next time…

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