In April 2019, David Craft joined the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. as UK Microsoft Partner Alliance Manager. For more than a year now, he has been responsible for maintaining and improving our partnership with Microsoft in the UK. In addition to supervising the support of our clients on their implementations, David ensures that we are meeting our commitments to Microsoft for success metrics agreed in our strategic partnership. These typically include financial targets, such as revenue growth, but equally as important is driving the success of the client enablement program, such as leveraging customer tools to ensure clients are getting the return on their Microsoft investments.
We asked David a few questions to learn more about him and what led him to join the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd.
Q. What made you decide to work with us?
Initially, it was the reputation that the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. had in the industry that attracted me. Contacts at Microsoft spoke very highly of the company and the level of expertise when it came to Microsoft Teams. This solution was already fast becoming a focus area for clients and partners. So it felt like the timing was right. The fact that NTT is one of the largest global carriers was a winning combination.
Q. What do you find most challenging about your role here? And most rewarding?
Working for the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. is extremely fast-paced, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Anyone considering joining the team needs to be able to work in an agile manner and be a team player with a ‘can-do’ attitude. The most rewarding part of my role is getting feedback from our clients and Microsoft when they have had a great experience working with us.
Q. You said in your video that your role was quite new. What was your first accomplishment as Microsoft Partner Alliance Manager?
One weekend, only a couple of months into working for the company, I took my young daughter to her friend’s birthday party. Amongst the chaos of party games and cake, I got chatting to the host. They turned out to be the Infrastructure Manager at a leading UK media company. And they were looking at Microsoft Teams. This conversation developed over a few drinks. One year down the road we are still engaged in MS Teams opportunities and exploring other areas of the Microsoft portfolio. Who’d have thought a five-year-old’s birthday party would secure you a new business meeting!
Q. You also mention the company’s culture with monthly events and several charity initiatives. What is your favourite memory of these?
We are blessed to have the best Office Manager – also our Event Co-ordinator and somewhat of an all-round entertainer. She ensures there is never a dull moment in the office, or even while we’re working from home. The drinks trolley for new starters is a great way for joiners to meet everyone in the office in a social environment. This has now evolved into ‘virtual happy hour’ most weeks. The summer charity party in 2019 was a treasure hunt around London but I think the best memory for me was attending our annual sales kick-off event in Portugal. It was just my second week of being in the company!
Q. Were you always interested in IT and Cloud Computing?
No, my Degree is in Travel and Tourism! But my first job out of University was working in a sales environment for a large IT Reseller. I just loved the fast-paced buzz of the IT industry. It never stands still. It’s always evolving, and Cloud Computing has only accelerated this. Cloud has forced the IT Channel and Service Providers to re-think their business models and focus on the value they add to the customer.
Q. What advice would you give for someone who wants to be a genuinely-involved Partner Alliance Manager like you?
There can be a perception that Alliances are all ‘Tea & Biscuits’ meetings, but it is quite the opposite. You’ll touch every part of the business you work for and you’ll be held accountable for the success of a Strategic Partnership, which in most cases, will be with a large and very different organization to your own. My advice? Have a strong management system in place, build your relationship map, communicate – this is absolutely key to the role – manage your time effectively, measure and challenge yourself, throw yourself in, ask lots of questions. And always be learning.