Anniversaries, birthdays, and new years (including fiscal years) are all example milestones or events on the calendar that give us reason to pause and reflect. July 1 represented a new fiscal year for Microsoft, and thus a new set of priorities, objectives, and opportunities for the broader Microsoft partner community. This milestone won’t be marked with a large celebration or networking event as in past years. Instead, Microsoft’s Inspire event will be a global digital event July 21-22 intended to bring Microsoft and partners together to connect, share, and align around plans for the coming year.
In preparation for the annual goal setting process, we once again find ourselves reflecting on what was accomplished over the past twelve months. Even with the challenges brought on by COVID-19, it has been a successful year for Apex and our Microsoft business. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership and expertise in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2021, which, in turn, benefits our customers and our ability to empower you to achieve more.
Focus on Teamwork
Microsoft Teams was a huge focus area for fiscal year 2020. While this was true pre-COVID-19, it was especially critical the last quarter in support of the shift to remote work. As a Microsoft Teams partner, one of the success measures is our impact on Teams Monthly Active Users across our customer base. In the past twelve months we were able to influence over 200% Teams usage growth within our joint customer base. We executed on a multi-pronged approach to increase Teams usage within existing and new customers: expand our services catalog including Teams Meetings and Adoption and Change Management (ACM) offers; execute a comprehensive Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategy leveraging Microsoft programs, tools, and resources; and establish new partnerships to expand our portfolio and reach.
Our customers rely on us to be the experts, and part of delivering on that responsibility is staying ahead of technology trends including new products, programs, and offers from our partners. We invest in certifications, sandbox environments, and relationships to ensure we are prepared when opportunity arises. As a result, we are invited to participate in early adopter programs, providing input that ultimately will benefit our customers.
In November, we were given the opportunity to validate a new offering through the Microsoft 365 Partner Accelerator program for a Microsoft funded Teams Meetings Workshop. Within three weeks of invitation, we turned around feedback on the content, assisted in drafting the workshop agendas, and nominated the first customer to pilot the offer prior to general availability. The first ever Teams Meetings Workshop was co-delivered by Apex and Microsoft a week before the offer launched globally to partners. Since the Meetings Workshop, we have been able to scale the offer and learnings to our customers to improve their overall meetings experience with Microsoft Teams, including those adopting Teams live events for the first time as a result of COVID-19.
Working in Tandem
Our relationship with Microsoft and focus on Teamwork in fiscal year 2020 also led to being one of four partners in the Great Lakes region invited to participate in a new program called Project Tandem. The initiative focused on driving Teams adoption in accounts with at least 1,000 licensed users not currently active with Teams. In partnership with Microsoft, Apex successfully supported six customers representing nearly 30,000 users with the adoption of Microsoft Teams between February and June. We assisted our customers in overcoming hurdles as they transitioned to Teams including Skype to Teams Voice migrations, security and governance recommendations, change management best practices, and customized user training.
We made our digital marketing strategy a priority this past year by increasing our presence across all digital platforms including web, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We produced significantly more content in the form of blogs, webinars, emails, and videos than previous years. The response has been positive, so you can expect a lot more curated and original content from our team related to market trends, solution tips and tricks, offer overviews, and more! Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (@apexempowers) and check our website (apexdigital.com) to stay informed! You can also send in suggestions or inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our world of work has changed significantly in recent months, and a new normal is likely here to stay. The investments we’ve made in our skillset and offer catalog, alignment with Microsoft on key initiatives and programs, expansion of Teams devices and ISV partnerships, and passion for empowering our customers to make a positive difference in the lives of others will carry us into this new fiscal year with strong momentum. Our focus on driving Teamwork will continue in the coming months along with improved process and automation with the Power Platform and increased security and compliance with Microsoft 365 Security. Thank you to our customers for being a part of our growth and journey, we can’t wait to share more experiences with you!