Microsoft’s Monique Hayward on Partners Ecosystems, AI and Microsoft Copilot, Meeting Customer Demands

Microsoft Copilot

Chief Content Officer and Microsoft MVP Aaron Back is on-site at Directions NA 2023, and had the chance to interview Monique Hayward, Senior Director, Business Applications Ecosystem Marketing, Microsoft.

In this interview, the two discuss Microsoft’s co-creation with its partners ecosystem, the rise of AI and Microsoft Copilot, Microsoft’s investment in cloud technologies, and how the company works to deliver continuous improvements for its customers. 


00:52 — Monique Hayward leads the team at Microsoft that is responsible for partner marketing for the business applications group. Her team does three things:

  • Driving the marketing strategy and execution for the partners ecosystem
  • Promote the success of Microsoft’s partners ecosystem
  • Collaborate across Microsoft, with various stakeholders, to deliver on promises to partners

01:43 — Aaron notes how the notion of co-creation can really help the broader ecosystem. Hayward agrees, especially as “the landscape is getting so complex…no one company can do it on its own.” This is something her team has tried to emphasize throughout the years how critical collaboration is within the ecosystem.

03:31 Shifting to discussions around artificial intelligence (AI), Monique shares a few feelings “coming from the ground” at Directions NA:

  • The excitement around AI
  • High interest in low-code/no-code and Power Platform
  • Momentum coming from SMBs, a segment that is continuing to grow

Aaron suggests that SMBs that are tapping into the power of the cloud are now having the same experiences as their “enterprise counterparts.”

05:21 — As it relates to the cloud, this is a technology that Microsoft is heavily invested in. Wherever customers are in their cloud journey, Microsoft wants to be there to support users.

07:44 — Aaron points out how a phrase that was used throughout the day’s sessions was “the art of the potential.” “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good,” says Hayward. Get some stuff out there, experiment, learn from the experiments, and get feedback. In high technology, where the expectation is to be perfect, playing with potential is critical.

08:42 — How can we take the people on that technology journey? “I think that’s where partners are coming in to be a valuable asset in that journey,” notes Aaron. “There’s a reason why you, as a customer, have a partner who helps you with the implementation,” notes Hayward.

09:55 — Keeping partners in a central part of the customer journey somewhat future-proofs the business, alleviating risks along the way. “Have an open and honest conversation about what the risks are,” concludes Hayward.

Stay tuned for more on location coverage while Aaron is attending Directions NA this week!

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