Microsoft FastTrack is one of the most misunderstood services that Microsoft provides to their end-user customers, so in this episode of Insentra Insights, Ronnie (CEO), and Steve (Director of Sales) unpack and demystify the FastTrack Service.
Ronnie Altit: Hi, again, and welcome back to Insentra Insights. Today, what we’re going to do is demystify the Microsoft FastTrack service. Microsoft is one of the most misunderstood services that Microsoft provide to their end user customers.
What I thought I’d do, is I’d grab Steve Boi. Steve is the director in our business, co-founder with me of Insentra. He’s been responsible for fast tracking our organization for about four years now since we started in the program. Steve, mate, welcome to The Insights.
Steve Boi: Terrific, Ronnie.
Ronnie: Let’s just start with four years ago where, thereabouts, Microsoft were the only people who were delivering FastTrack. Before we get into how we got engaged, let’s start with what the hell is FastTrack?
Steve: I love the way you use the word, demystify. It doesn’t matter how many customers I go and see, how many partners I go and see, talk about FastTrack, everyone has a different perception of the service. Great opportunity to demystify it.
FastTrack, it’s a global program that Microsoft introduced a number of years ago, and as you said, we’ve been delivering it for nearly four years. It is a fully-funded entitlement that many of Microsoft customers have, which enables them to take advantage of the service to take them on a journey to the Cloud.
Ronnie: Where we’re focused is on the Microsoft 365 space. When you say many customers, my understanding is it’s like 150 seats and above, there are a couple of exclusions in there in terms of not-for-profits or some other things, so there are some exclusions. But, generally, 150 seats and above, if you’ve bought Microsoft 365 or Office 365, you’re entitled to the FastTrack services?
Steve: With the exception of those exclusions, that’s absolutely the case. It’s a fully-funded entitlement that customers have. Many of them are not even aware that they’re entitled to it.
Ronnie: There’s two sides to it, right? There’s the onboarding component, and then there’s the Velocity Migration component. Microsoft continued to do the Velocity Migration component for those customers with 500 seats and above, where they can potentially migrate mails straight to the Cloud as a free of charge service to customers, but the onboarding service is where we play.
Steve: Absolutely, and that’s an advisory service. It’s very much a service where we have our team specialist working with the relevant stakeholders in the end user organizations, and really supporting and coaching them, and advising them, giving them tools to actually take them on their journey so that they get the adoption of the Office 365 workloads.
Ronnie: All right, so what does the onboarding service actually deliver?
Steve: Really, the onboarding service starts with one of our consultants engaging with the particular customer and really understanding where they’re at in their journey. Have they adopted, what are their plans, what are their timelines, whose workloads do they want to use.
Really, when we get a firm understanding of what the landscape looks like, we then particularly engage with them to take them on that particular path by providing white papers to them, by providing practical advice, for which our team have gathered over the years of learning. We send them collateral that’s relevant to them, that may system with that particular workload that they might be wanting to adopt.
It really goes from there. It’s very much a remote service. At any point in time, we’re dealing with dozens of clients globally, companies that have offices in many different countries or they may be particularly located in one region.
The benefit is an enduring benefit. The customers entitled will also have the licenses. They are entitled to the benefit for, really, the existence of those licenses. For every workload that they choose to adopt, that service is available to them.
Ronnie: Right, okay. The first thing is that a FastTrack person gets assigned to a client.
Steve: That’s right.
Ronnie: And then they’ll work with a client, create a success plan about what is the client trying to do over what timeframe. First stage, might be active directory, and it might be migrating mail, it might be using SharePoint, OneDrive Teams, whatever it might be.
Steve: The security layer.
Ronnie: The security, and then work with them to help them plug the gaps of what they know. It’s kind of like found a friend from Microsoft.
Steve: Absolutely, and we’ve got some great examples where we have been engaged for, literally, three years with the same client. They’d successfully adopt one workload, they didn’t want to move on to Teams, as an example, and then want to move on to the next one. That journey, we feel like we’re part of that family with that client. It’s a terrific experience.
Ronnie: If you’re the client then, it’s effectively risk-free, right? You can bring up, use it if you want to use it, don’t use it if you don’t want to use it.
Steve: Not only risk-free, it’s cost-free. Microsoft has invested to deliver this service through– I seen this particular case, and the customer just gets to enjoy the benefits from it.
Ronnie: Customers gets these benefits, what happens in the scenario where a customer says, “You know, this is great but I actually need some help on site. I need someone to come and do more than what you’re delivering remotely. I’ve got these problems.”
Steve: Absolutely, and we get presented with that opportunity to support clients regularly. The typical scenario is the client gets engaged, we’re delivering the entitled service to them, and out of that comes an opportunity for the client who want to engage us for more services.
Because of our unique business model, where we transact entirely through the partner community, when we keep presented with that opportunity and we’ve supported the client in understanding what their requirements are, we will, with the partner or so with the customer, engage their preferred reseller to understand if that reseller or that partner wishes to deliver the services themselves.
In many cases, the partner does not. Either they’re not skilled or they don’t have the capacity at that particular point in time. They trust Insentra and they ask us to actually deliver it on their behalf. Sometimes I choose to take it on themselves. Very much, that’s our model when we support the partners, whichever decision they make.
Ronnie: Okay, let me just sort of bring some clarity with that then. If you’re a client and you have additional services that need to be done that’s beyond the scope of FastTrack, then, they can be provided to you. Those ones come at a cost, and because of our model, what we’ll do is work with a partner.
If you’re a partner working with Insentra and we’re working in your FastTrack clients, you don’t need to worry that we’re going to go and take the client and do a bunch of work direct, because we don’t go direct anywhere. Then partner gets the option, if they want to deliver the services, they can. If they want us to deliver it, then we will transact through that chosen partner of the client. Everyone’s happy, and the partner gets kept up to speed with what’s going in in their client.
Steve: Spot on.
Ronnie: Okay, cool. That’s great. Now, we’ve been doing this for a while. We were one of the first six who were like the test case to see. Microsoft saw success, they then appointed a bunch of other partners, globally. Still a handful only in Australia.
Steve: I think, six in Australia.
Ronnie: I think it’s about six in Australia. That number can change, but I think it’s 220, globally, as we are now in 2019. Now, that Microsoft’s seen the success of this, then now, as I understand from one November, starting to move a lot of the customers that Microsoft, otherwise, delivered into that group of 220 partners.
What happens if you’re a partner who’s not a FastTrack partner, yet you want your clients to access the services. How do you actually get your client those FastTrack services in a way that’s not going to go some way that you don’t really want it to go if MS’s not delivering it?
Steve: That’s a very good question. I mean, at the end of the day, as a partner, if you’re not a FastTrack ready partner and you do nothing, there’s a very strong chance that that customer of yours will be assigned to one of the FastTrack ready partners. Potentially, not Insentra, we are one of six.
Partners do, however, have the option to assign their customers to Insentra as a safe pair of hands, as a partner only provider of services, to ensure that we can deliver those FastTrack benefits on behalf of their partner.
Ronnie: Okay, so if you’re a client and you want to make sure you’re leveraging FastTrack, and you’d like to use Insentra, you can talk to your partner and say, “Hey, I really would like to use Insentra,” or you could do it yourself and request Insentra as the FastTrack partner.
If you’re a partner who’s not FastTrack ready, you can work with us to work with your clients and have your clients assigned to us, rather than the potential of having them be assigned to someone else who you don’t necessarily know.
Steve: Not knowing where they’re going to win.
Ronnie: Okay, cool. I think what’s important, as well, for the end user clients who are listening to this particular video or watching this video, is to understand as well that we’re not about trying to sell more services, we’re not about trying to sell more licenses. Particularly, at Insentra, we don’t take any of the license revenue, full stop. We’re not about trying to drive additional stuff.
What we’re really trying to do, what Microsoft want us to do is get customers to get the maximum benefit out of the spend they’ve already done on their licenses.
Steve: I, particularly, like– There was a statement made by a senior person at Microsoft about a year ago, it’s been published about really the feedback on Insentra delivering these FastTrack services. I think, what struck me about that was the quality of the service we deliver and the fact that we absolutely stay true to the game in delivering that entitlement on behalf of Microsoft.
That’s what customers want. They want the outcomes.
Ronnie: I think, for you as a client, if you’re watching this, now hopefully, what you’ll do is get an understanding- and I have demystified it a little bit for you- it’s a free-of-charge service that’s available to you with Microsoft certified consultants who can help you get the most value out of the spend you’ve already done in 365.
If you know you’re about to implement Teams, or you know that you want to implement SP, or even if you’re very early on in your journey and you don’t know which way to start, that’s where you can leverage FastTrack.
It’s not to take away from your partner who works with you and anything they may deliver for you on site, this is available to you to make a phone call and say, “Hey, we need some help. Can you provide us some information, can you point us that way we need to go to get training? Can you point us at some adoption and change management related materials so that we know how to roll this out, and things we need to watch out for, and gotchas.”
All those types of things are available at a phone call away once you get assigned to a FastTrack ready partner. That’s why we’re really excited about it because we can see that there’s a lot of value that we will deliver to the end user.
Also for our partners, it means for our partners that they know they’ve got a company that doesn’t compete with them. Who isn’t going to sell more licenses, who’s not going to go and try and sell their client into a whole stack of stuff they might not need, who’s not going to transact directly, but is ultimately there to help their client get the best use out of it.
Ronnie: That’s why we love FastTrack. We look forward to doing a lot more in FastTrack over the years to come, perhaps, helping you. Who knows? Steve, thanks very much for joining me today on The Insight, mate.
Steve: It’s been fun.