Biz Apps Partner Podcast: Microsoft’s Cecilia Flombaum Defines the Role of Partners in AI Adoption, SMB Modernization

Welcome to the “Biz Apps Partner Podcast,” a weekly video series designed to decentralize intelligence about how partners can scale their Microsoft practice by having short, to the point discussions with Microsoft leaders in product, engineering, marketing, partner management, programs, and more.

In this episode, John Siefert welcomes Cecilia Flombaum, Senior Director, Scale Growth, Microsoft. Cecilia tells John how SMBs can maintain and stay ahead of ecosystem trends, and the two discuss the role of partners in AI adoption.

Register for the Biz Apps Partner Summit, running July 24-25 in Bellevue, Washington, where attendees will make the right connections, gain insights into Microsoft’s FY 2025 priorities, and learn how to scale their Microsoft Business Applications practice at the 24-hour event.  

Key Takeaways

  • Overview: Cecilia has been in this role for almost a year. She works on the engineering team and is focused on growth in the SMB space with the help of partners across the entire product portfolio. Achieving this growth involves providing guidance for programs, piloting new initiatives, and incubating ideas, some of which may come from partners or product teams. The goal is to explore new avenues for growth within the business applications portfolio, particularly in areas that may not be traditionally associated with SMB.
  • Co-create with partners: “One of my favorite things is to co-create with partners,” notes Cecilia. Often, partners are the ones with the ideas, and given Cecilia’s knowledge of Microsoft after 23 years with the company, she understands where these ideas will, or won’t fit.
  • Maintaining ecosystem trends: SMB markets are shifting back to prioritizing growth, particularly as businesses emerge from the pandemic. SMBs are ready to invest again, with technology playing a crucial role in enhancing productivity, expanding customer reach, and increasing brand awareness. The trend also indicates that SMBs are focusing on modernizing their back-office operations. Additionally, technologies that aid in customer engagement and loyalty, such as CRM and ERP systems, are top priority. While AI is a growing trend, there is still a need for clarity on how it can specifically benefit different roles within SMBs. Cecilia describes the demand for understanding and assistance in integrating AI effectively into SMB operations.
  • The role of partners in AI adoption: Partners play a crucial role in helping SMBs understand, incorporate, and adopt artificial intelligence effectively for growth. Partners are essential in making businesses more productive, streamlining processes, and ensuring the adoption of AI is beneficial and Microsoft is recognized as a leader in AI, generating excitement and momentum across its products, especially in Business Central and the Power Platform.
  • How partners can stay ahead of trends: Partners play a key role in facilitating the adoption of artificial intelligence for SMBs, by helping them understand how AI can make them more productive, streamline their operations, and grow effectively. Partners should use and understand Microsoft’s offerings, like Copilot, to effectively support their customers and drive growth in the SMB sector. Finally, partners must rethink their service offerings with AI at the center, providing specific guidance to help customers adopt AI in a tangible way. This includes changing the way technology is delivered, how projects are conducted, and the skills consultants need to work with customers.
  • Connect with Cecilia: Register for the Biz Apps Partner Summit, happening July 24-25 in Bellevue, Washington to meet Cecilia Flombaum and learn how to dazzle customers, get insights into Microsoft’s FY 2025 priorities, and scale your Microsoft Business Applications practice.

Stream the audio version of this episode here:

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