HomeTechnologyMicrosoft Channel Chief Rodney Clark departs

Microsoft Channel Chief Rodney Clark departs

A number of Microsoft’s reseller companions have been none too pleased with program changes as of late. Today, May 16, the head of Channel sales at Microsoft announced publicly that he is leaving.

Rodney Clark, Corporate Vice President of Global Channel Sales and Channel Chief at Microsoft is taking a new position outdoors the company. According to a Microsoft blog post acknowledging Clark’s departure, Clark will become an “Executive Officer at a publicly traded company that is a worthy partner to Microsoft,” with more details due to be announced in the coming weeks. Microsoft officials said a search is on for his replacement and Microsoft is planning to have a new Channel Chief in place by the start of its new fiscal year on July 1.

Clark has held a variety of roles at Microsoft for nearly 25 years. He has been Channel Chief since March 2021. For the past several months, he has been 1 of the main professionals at Microsoft defending changes in its partner program that have not been wellliked with a number of the company’s companions. 

The company’s New Commerce Experience (NCE) — which is meant to streamline how companions license and clients purchase products — is in the midst of being implemented across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Windows 365, and the Power Platform. Many Microsoft companions have expressed their displeasure publicly and privately with the terms of operation of the NCE. In mid-March, Microsoft made a small concession about 1 of the NCE provisions, but that change hasn’t done a lot to quell partner concerns over NCE.

Also in mid-March, Microsoft announced some substantial changes to its partner program that caught a number of Microsoft companions by surprise, and not in a fine way. 

Under the new program, there will no longer be a baseline “member” status plus Silver and Gold competencies and “advanced specializations.” Competencies will be phased out and changed by 2 new qualifying levels past baseline: Solutions Partner and Specialist/Expert. And Microsoft will move to a new partner capability score and drop its current Partner Contribution Indicator score. A number of companions said they felt the new requirements weren’t defined well and that they didn’t have enough time to meet the new qualifications.

Microsoft’s partner community, which includes roughly 400,000 companies, is key to the way the company sells, as its own direct salesforce is not huge. Microsoft’s annual partner conference, Inspire, is slated to happen virtually again this year from July 19 to 20.

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