Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Woman-owned business finds diverse talent for Microsoft partners

What happens when a former Microsoft employee who has a passion for hiring diverse candidates joins forces with an IT development manager who has a talent for coaching? You get 365 Talent Portal, a woman-owned business that’s a resourcing, training, and career hub for Dynamics consultants and partners. When she worked at Microsoft, Elena Baeva witnessed the frustration of partners who sought to make the most of the tremendous growth opportunity in Dynamics 365 but couldn’t find enough skilled talent. With so many companies entering the Dynamics space, she knew the time was right to build a hiring and recruiting company to help partners bridge the gap between the tight supply of consultants and finding talent to deliver first-class Dynamics services. She tapped Polina Yordanova—with her years of experience managing development teams—to be her partner and to build and run the IT platform.


The founders quickly realized that, with the demand for Dynamics skills exploding, a hiring and recruitment company would not be enough to accelerate partner growth. They needed to think creatively to enlarge the pool of qualified candidates. They repositioned the company to also focus on training people on Dynamics skills—whether they were young people just coming into the tech world or people with experience and industry skills that could transfer to Dynamics. The success of this approach hinged on two activities: many more consultants needed to be cross-trained, and partners needed to be educated on the value of hiring this cross-trained talent.


This solution would open partner access to a much larger and more diverse talent pool. In Dynamics, there are opportunities for women and men who never realized that a tech career might also include skills in marketing, sales, business development, supply chain management, and many other areas. Although 365 Talent Portal continues to work with developers and functional consultants, it also has trainers who work with people who have backgrounds in the retail, finance, accounting, or commerce industries (to name a few). Elena observes, “Cross-training is so much easier for people with industry backgrounds. It’s easier to train in the technology if you understand the business processes behind it.”


Building the Dynamics consultant pool with cross-training

Using coaching techniques developed by Polina, 365 Talent Portal Director of Training Services Sandra Koutzenko and her team give extra guidance to people seeking Dynamics 365 cross-training to help them target a role and technology, choose training based on their budget, and make a plan.


In addition to using the wealth of free Microsoft Learn training resources, the company, which is a Microsoft Learning Partner, offers custom courses. For example, it has a free course on Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals in November 2021, where people can get a taste of working with Microsoft Power Platform and start to build skills. The company also offers customized end-to-end skilling for interested candidates.


Nurturing and training Dynamics partners

In addition to nurturing consultants, the company nurtures partners, which are encouraged to hire strong candidates who are prepared to cross-train. The challenge is that partners have high expectations. They often require industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications to help them attain and maintain silver and gold status and to furnish the best skills to their customers. So when the team at 365 Talent Portal has a highly qualified industry candidate, it works with the partner to put together a training plan to help ensure a quick path to certification. Partners learn that upskilling new candidates in a market where supply is tight can help them achieve their hiring and certification goals.


Bringing more women into IT

One upshot of this strategy is that women are moving into the Dynamics 365 hiring channel. Elena is getting ready to kick-start a new initiative to attract women to technology with a free event, Find your new career in 2022. She points out, “There’s massive demand, and women are needed in our industry. We need to find women in this pivotal moment and show them the opportunity now.”


Elena and Polina strongly encourage women who want to start their own IT businesses. The senior leadership in the partner channel is about 20 percent women right now, Elena notes. “I would encourage more women to follow their guts and just try. Because unless you try, you can’t succeed. I wouldn’t even think about the glass ceiling. It’s only in our minds.”


Get started now on Microsoft Learn

Successful women see challenges as opportunities. And, as Elena and Polina have shown, there are many opportunities across Dynamics 365 for those who are ready to skill up and meet today’s challenges. We invite you to use Microsoft Learn to take the next steps on your career journey. Certification—when paired with your drive and abilities—can help open career doors for you. Use certification to highlight your skills, differentiate your organization, and let customers know just how capable you are.



Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 resources


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