Careers: Interviews
Future Directions

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with Jahnis Gillan, Marketing Manager, Channel Development, Microsoft Canada.

Q. Jahnis, can you describe your remarkable background in computing and how you got to the position you are currently in? Also, what are your personal goals 1, 3, and 5 years into the future? What are your particular responsibilities?

A. Prior to joining Microsoft I worked at Novell Canada Ltd. and SHL Systemhouse in various management and development positions. There and in earlier roles I developed strengths in the area of management, sales, marketing and recruitment spanning a broad range of industries including IT education, personnel recruitment and industrial control products.

My current role is Marketing Manager, Channel Development for Microsoft Canada, where I am responsible for the planning and execution of strategic training and marketing programs for the Microsoft Certified Partner program and VAR Affiliate Partners.

Q. For those just entering the computing field, what tips would you give them?

A. I think the most important thing I would recommend is to always continue learning. Whether it’s through an internal training course or visiting a training school (like one of our Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centres) it’s critical to continue developing your skills and to stay ahead of the demand. Training ensures that you have the skills to stay competitive. Certification ensures that you are identified as an expert.

(For more information on the type of training Microsoft Canada provides please visit:

Q. What career pointers would you provide to women?

A. I don’t think there are specific pointers for women; there are many opportunities out there for both men and women. Women entering into any field will face challenges, but also the opportunity to have a successful career. There are several organizations out there that women may want to look into - Wired Women, Catalyst, and Women’s Executive Network, as well as great Websites that provide lots of good advice like TechDivas.

Q. For those who have long established careers in computing but wish to change, what areas would you recommend that they should focus on?

A. A recent article in Fortune magazine (March 19, 2001 – 10 tech trends to bet on) said that voice applications will start to be perfected, CRM will continue to be a growing business and need, wireless will continue to grow as more infrastructure is put in place, and SANs or storage is going to become more important as we continue to have a need to store electronic files longer term. It was an interesting article that I would recommend you look at if you are looking for trends.

Q. In your particular area, where do you see your company heading in the next one, two, and five years? What changes are you implementing in the short term and long term?

A. Currently we are very focused on the Microsoft .NET strategy and getting Microsoft partners in Canada up-to-speed on how to take advantage of it. Microsoft .NET is Microsoft's strategy for delivering software as a service. As such, it is important that they understand the importance of the .NET Platform, and specifically Enterprise servers, how to deploy them and how they can benefit their customers. For our ISV partners, it will be important for them to get involved with Web services. Microsoft’s .NET strategy will change the way they develop applications by allowing them to hook into Web Services.

Q. What tips would you give to your channel partners?

A. We have always recommended that our channel look to providing services and solutions to make their business more well rounded and provide them with additional revenue streams beyond products.

We would also recommend that channel organizations look to become a Microsoft Certified Partner. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, a company can offer their customers a greater range of choices and the ability to easily identify experts in specific areas of technology such as e-commerce, enterprise systems, and hosted solutions. Microsoft Certified Partners are provided with Microsoft Product licenses for internal and marketing use, extensive technical training and support, access to pre-release product information and program codes, sales and marketing resources, and direct communications with Microsoft staff. They also receive customer referrals and participate in joint marketing opportunities.

Q. What technologies should IT professionals, businesses, and your channel partners be watching for in the next two years?

A. Simply put, they should pay close attention to XML Web services.

The biggest part of Microsoft’s .NET strategy is XML. The .NET platform enables the creation and use of XML-based applications, processes, and web sites as services that share and combine information and functionality with each other by design, on any platform or smart device, to provide tailored solutions for organizations and individual people.

The .NET platform includes a comprehensive family of products, built on industry XML and Internet standards, that provide for each aspect of developing (tools), managing (servers), using (building block services and smart clients) and experiencing (rich user experiences) XML Web services. .NET will become part of the Microsoft applications, tools, and servers you already use today - as well as new products that extend XML Web service capabilities to any and all business needs.

Q. What changes do you see for the future of computing, conducting business, and the use of the Internet?

A. We see Microsoft .NET as the initiative that will allow the Internet to be the basis of a new operating system. It will free users from the constraints of hardware by making user data available from the Internet. .NET is important to users because it will make their information accessible across all devices.

If you would like more information on .NET you should visit

Q. What changes are you planning to make in your channel model in the next year, two years, and five years?

A. Microsoft has been and will continue to be very supportive of our channel. In the last year we have launched a number of training, and incentive programs for our channel and we will continue to expand on those moving forward. I recommend that our channel partners visit for information on some of our recent initiatives.

Q. Consider this a blank slate for you to make additional free ranging commentary about the IT field?

A. Microsoft Canada will continue its ongoing commitment to support a wider group of channel companies and to strengthen and broaden these relationships through the development of new initiatives aimed at helping to improve their business, such as VARAccess, MAD programs. I would suggest that anyone interested in the various programs Microsoft Canada offers to the channel visit: where they’ll find a wealth of information on programs, training, contests and incentive to help grow their business.


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