👋🏻 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:

💭 Some thoughts on working smarter, not harder and a bit of a plug for something I made.
📝 A summary of the latest Azure updates.
📰 Interesting articles I’ve seen around the web.

Some Thoughts

A friend once gave me some invaluable advice: “Work smarter, not harder”. Similarly, a past boss advised me, “If you repeat something more than a few times, you probably need to automate it.” These insights have occupied my thoughts for years, and they’ve never felt more relevant than now.

That mentality, of optimising my time, working smarter, and wanting to learn new things led me to create the Cloud Target Calculator. This free tool, hosted on Azure and developed on GitHub, assists sales and marketing leaders in partners to:

  • Determine the number of customers they should add.
  • Estimate the number of marketing and sales-qualified leads they might need.
  • Identify what proportion of existing customers should increase their spend.

Now, this isn’t meant to be an ‘advertorial’ post. Although, the smartest people in the channel use the tool - and you look like a smart person to me. 😉

Always Learning

I understood that people either made (or ignored) these types of calculations all the time. I believed there had to be a simpler method; one that would show clearly the link between marketing and sales targets. I invested some learning time, and some coaching from ChatGPT, to figure out how to use Azure App Service for web hosting, how to use Visual Studio Code to write my code and store it on GitHub, and how to turn a business challenge into a solution an algorithm could quickly and reliably address. The benefits are twofold: I learned a bunch of useful things, and I created something that saves both my time and, potentially, yours.

What’s stopping you from having a go at learning and creating?

Using the Cloud Target Calculator, you can test various scenarios and quickly discern the steps needed to meet your targets.

If you’re focusing on Azure success, the calculator also highlights how much Azure consumption correlates with the number of new customers you aim to acquire vs growing your existing customers.

In conclusion…

A solid Azure practice should do two things: acquire new customers, and enhance the success of existing ones. Solely focusing on one aspect makes hitting your targets exceptionally challenging.

Grasping the nuances of performance required at each sales cycle stage, from demand generation to lifetime value management, can seem daunting.

The Cloud Target Calculator offers a streamlined approach to understanding these nuances.

What tips have you got for working smarter, not harder? Let me know in the comments! 👇🏻

Azure Updates

As ever, there’s always something new to know, so here’s a selection of updates you might find interesting:

Interesting Stuff from Others

Large Language Models

I’m naturally curious. I like understanding things in a little more detail as I think it helps them make sense. When I saw this post shared onto my timeline by Sarah Critchley, I jumped right in! LLMs are everywhere at the moment, and they’re not going away. Check out this primer to get a deeper understanding of what’s happening behind the scenes…

AI Cost Management

I was having a catch up with a couple of colleagues the other day, when the topic of copilots came up (it’s happening a lot these days!). I was particularly interested in the copilot for Microsoft Cost Management. Managing costs in Azure is something I know partners and customers think about all the time, so wouldn’t it be great to get more insight? Check out this overview video to learn more.

Until next time…

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