Originally published on Thrive, a Lexmark blog for finance professionals. 

Lexmark’s Director of Alliances Bob Monio recently caught up with Larry Orecklin, Vice President and Chief Evangelist for the Microsoft Developer Experience organization, who shared many insights into the Cloud-first, Mobile-first world. Here is the first of two posts from Bob reporting what Larry had to say.

Lexmark is hard at work focusing on developing our next generation of products, such as ReadSoft Reach, using cloud and mobile technologies.  The reasons for this focus are simple, through the cloud we provide complete scalability and cost performance for our customers and by delivering our application on the widest range of mobile technologies we are able to engage everyone who needs to contribute to the business processes we support.

We work with the best partners, such as Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle ,who provide this technology to us  and who have committed to delivering in today’s ‘Cloud-first, Mobile-first’ world.

Meet Larry Orecklin, Chief Evangelist: In order to help our readers understand the driving factors behind these companies and their initiatives, we took the time to speak with Larry Orecklin, Vice President and Chief Evangelist for Microsoft’s US Developer Experience (DX) organization.  The organization, “DX” as it is often referred to, helps partners and customers understand the emerging landscape behind a ‘Cloud-first, Mobile-first’ world while also investing in their development and success.   Larry was kind enough to answer some our key questions about the Cloud, Mobile Technologies, and the future of solutions development.

Larry has been with Microsoft for over eight years, starting initially in the Product group leading the Server business and Systems Management teams.  Larry was also instrumental in some of the early product planning around Azure and helped to build out GTM teams in its early days.  Today Larry is the Chief Evangelist responsible for helping Partners understand and leverage Microsoft’s vast set of tools (like Visual Studio) to build rich client-side apps, cloud services, and process-based solutions that can be delivered on phones, tablets, windows machines, and even XBOX.  Larry is ultimately responsible for building the ecosystem that will result in the richest set of process experiences that customers require.

Microsoft began talking cloud with former CEO Steve Ballmer’s ‘All-In’ initiative, and it continues now with current CEO Satya Nadella’s ‘Cloud-first, Mobile-first’ effort.  What does this journey mean for the company’s partners and customers?

New Economics Require New Ingredients for Partner Success

Larry shared that it is an “Interesting time currently – one that is driving an inflection point for the computing industry due to the immense numbers of new mobile technologies that are now available to the consumer marketplace.  Translating into billions and billions of devices, all requiring ubiquitous points of access that only a cloud infrastructure can address.  It has been journey for firms to learn how to build tools and capabilities that will help this evolving ‘Internet of Things’ become a reality.”

Partners and customers today require an enterprise partner who can help them understand and provide them with the tools and infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of this growing economic reality,” he said.   Larry shared that today only Microsoft has the right investment in tools, infrastructure, and partner investment necessary.  A lesson we know very well at Lexmark as well.

Every Org Needs “ISV Chops”

But Larry didn’t just focus on partners as the recipients of this changing market, he further answered our question by noting that even customers now are needing the services that Microsoft traditionally provided to partners.

“In today’s ‘cloud-first, mobile-first’ world, even customers are becoming software houses as enterprises engage app building to take advantage of the changing models – thereby operating as their own Independent Software Vendor (ISV).  A title that in the past only an organization’s partners would operate as,” Larry shared.

Therefore, Larry pointed out, it is crucial he and his team provide the evangelism and support to insure these companies receive what they need to be successful.

Larry shared an example of how today’s healthcare companies are adding mobile services and selling mobile devices so that they may provide a richer set of services to their customers.  It is this kind of activity, and not just limited to the healthcare industry, that requires Larry’s team and Microsoft to elevate their game to engage this new breed of non-traditional partner.

New Partner Resources and Ways to Measure Success

All of this leads to a very different Microsoft from what partners and customers are used to engaging.  It also means that partner involvement with Microsoft will be measured and incentivized in ways that didn’t exist before.

“Microsoft will be delivering programs combined with tools, investments, and people resources that will help unlock these new opportunities.  Partner involvement with Microsoft – a measurement that will help drive investment in those Partners who adopt the devices, tools, and use the services provided through the ‘Cloud-First, Mobile-First’ Microsoft effort – will be how Partners will be measured going into the future.” 

In summary, Larry confirms that Partners and Customers who build their solutions using Microsoft’s cross-platform technologies will get the most support and enablement from Microsoft.

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