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Microsoft’s partners could give £9 billion boost to UK economy

Microsoft’s partners could add more than £9 billion to the UK economy this year, in a major boost to the nation as it looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research released in October found that UK companies could provide an extra £48 billion to the economy if they made simple changes to how bosses work with staff and use technology.

New findings announced today in partnership with academics led by Dr Chris Brauer, Goldsmiths, University of London, in a report entitled “A blueprint for Microsoft UK partner competitiveness”, reveal that Microsoft’s Partner Network could drive 13.96% of that total – £6.74 billion. By deploying their skills in technology such as cloud computing, data analytics and remote working solutions as those partners work with customers, that could rise by an additional £2.34 billion.

This huge amount of support for the economy comes despite Microsoft’s partners representing just over 1% of VAT-registered businesses in the UK.

James Chadwick, Interim General Manager of One Commercial Partner at Microsoft UK, said: “The key here is that Microsoft’s partners are a perfect fit for the idealised model for competitiveness – talent, technology capabilities, expertise, digital skills and adaptability. Our partners are hiring new staff with cutting-edge digital skills, they are using cloud-based technology in innovative ways to solve problems for customers and they actively plan for the future to meet changing trends in the marketplace.

“It’s not just the companies and the economy that benefits, our partners’ success with their customers also drives social growth for the UK, tackling important issues such as diversity, regional equality and digital inclusion.”

Two charts from Partner research

The Microsoft Partner Network is a hub of people and resources that help companies create and deliver solutions. Support includes access to products and services, expert advice and outreach to potential customers.

Many industries have been hit hard by the pandemic. The Office for National Statistics said that while the UK economy grew by a record 16% between July and September (the latest period for figures) it was still 8.6% smaller compared with a year earlier and the rise was a sign of recovering lost activity.

The latest research found that Microsoft’s partners are well-positioned to grow this year, despite the economic turmoil. More than half (58%) of those surveyed expect to see an increase in revenues this year, compared to 46% of UK organisations who last year reported a fall in in turnover of at least 5%.

Expecting growth despite significant headwinds is worth noting, particularly as the economic climate topped a list of Microsoft partner concerns. That’s followed by COVID-19, a shortage of skills and talent shortage and Brexit. Most partners recognise that the nature of these challenges is constantly shifting, forcing them to adjust their operating practices with agility, regularity and speed. That flexibility is important to their ongoing success.

Despite concerns, the desire to hire is still there. Nearly three-quarters of partners said they planned to appoint new staff in the next six to 12 months, while 61% said workforce development and responsive leadership are important to their internal business.

James Chadwick at Microsoft added: “The past year has been incredibly challenging for companies of all sizes, and many continue to struggle with disruption and economic uncertainty. As I’ve seen first-hand, the Microsoft Partner Network can play a crucial role in the UK’s recovery and we’re committed to supporting them in this journey.”

Chart from partner research

Crucially, one of the key insights from today’s research is that companies must act now in order to seize opportunities. It suggested six steps that companies can take to improve their operations and unlock new revenue opportunities:

  • Collaborate with other members of the Microsoft Partner Network – companies that work with other members of Microsoft’s Partner Network tend to perform better, according to the new report
  • Invest in agility and change management – focus on agile solutions related to remote working, data analytics and security
  • Focus on diversity and inclusion – avoid the risk of becoming an echo chamber, which can limit creativity and potential
  • Build automation services – use technology to remove repetitive tasks and free up staff to work on more complex issues
  • Develop data analytics capabilities – the intelligent use of data can be the difference between survival and failure for companies
  • Shore up your security offering – given the shift towards remote working, offering security services is a potential area of growth

Kainos, Microsoft’s UK partner of the year in 2018, said a focus on talent development has helped them continue to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brendan Mooney, Chief Executive, said: “Our approach is to attract great people and help them develop the skills that they need to succeed – today and tomorrow. That has been one of the driving ambitions behind our Academy programmes, which supports colleagues to develop skills in a particular system, knowledge area or technical skill, as well as developing professional skills.

“We are also planning to hire around 400 people across the business. As part of this, we will recruit extensively from schools, colleges and universities to ensure that we are attracting the very best new talent.”

Click here to read “A blueprint for Microsoft UK partner competitiveness”.

Click here to find our more about the Microsoft Partner Network or join the programme.

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2020