Microsoft puts partners at centre of $4.5 trillion transformation opportunity

By Pippa Sanderson   18 July, 2017
Microsoft puts partners at centre of $4.5 trillion transformation opportunity

At Microsoft Inspire in Washington DC recently, the company introduced two Microsoft 365 offerings: Microsoft 365 Enterprise is the evolution of the company’s Secure Productive Enterprise offering, and includes Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It provides customers with the latest and most advanced technology for empowering employees. Microsoft 365 Business, available in public preview starting on 2 August, is designed to give small-to-medium sized businesses a complete productivity and security solution, while streamlining IT management. It includes Office 365 Business Premium, security and management features for Office apps and Windows 10 devices, all managed in a centralised console for deploying and securing devices and users in one location.

Microsoft 365 represents a new and more cohesive approach to how Microsoft goes to market with commercial offerings, and reflects the shift partners and mutual customers are making, from viewing productivity, security and device management as individual workloads, to seeking a comprehensive approach to secure productivity. Microsoft 365 represents a significant opportunity for partners to increase deal size, differentiate offerings and grow managed services revenue. According to Forrester Consulting, Microsoft 365 Enterprise increases partner revenue opportunity by more than 50 per cent v selling and deploying Office 365 alone.

To fuel Microsoft partners’ success and help meet the company’s goal of a $20 billion cloud run rate by 2018, Microsoft announced with launch hardware partners, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo, that Microsoft Azure Stack is now available to order. Azure Stack is an extension of Azure that brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments and enables entirely new hybrid cloud scenarios.

Azure Stack offers a truly consistent hybrid cloud platform, providing an ideal fit for customers who want flexibility without having to build applications in a different way. From Azure datacentres to the edge of the cloud — whether miles underground in a mine shaft, away at sea on a ship, or on a factory floor dependent on continuous real-time operation — Azure Stack enables modern cloud applications that meet all business and regulatory requirements. A truly consistent hybrid cloud helps customers execute their cloud strategy faster and in a way that makes the most sense for their business.

Azure Stack extends the Azure ecosystem opportunity by helping partners grow their Azure business and reach a larger addressable market through hybrid cloud scenarios. Many Microsoft partners have already begun to capitalise on the power of Azure Stack including Rackspace, Tieto and Resello. Partners can learn more about how to build a successful cloud practice through Practice Development Playbooks or sharpen their Azure skills through online training here.

Microsoft also announced two new ways it is helping partners connect with customers and bring innovative solutions to market. Last year, Microsoft piloted a new Azure co-sell programme to provide comprehensive sales and marketing support for partners building solutions with Azure. In its first six months in market, this programme helped close more than $1 billion in annual contract value for Azure partners, created $6 billion in Azure partner pipeline opportunity and generated more than 4,500 partner deals.

Azure is the only public cloud providing partners with this benefit through which Microsoft sales reps are paid up to 10 per cent of the partner’s annual contract value when they co-sell qualified Azure-based partner solutions. This means Microsoft is uniquely incentivising its sales reps to work hand-in-hand with Azure partners to drive new business together and enabling partners to leverage the Microsoft salesforce to grow their business globally.

To build on this incredible momentum, Microsoft is making additional investments to accelerate Azure co-sell over the next 12 months. Microsoft is also creating a new dedicated Channel Manager role in Microsoft that will be 100 per cent focused on supporting partners’ go-to-market efforts, helping ensure their solutions reach new customers and integrating with Microsoft’s co-sell motion. Together, these represent a quarter of a billion dollar investment that materially increases Microsoft’ partner-dedicated personnel and adds to Azure co-sell incentives.

Microsoft is also making it easier for partners to modernise existing business applications, and build new ones, with a new programme called ISV Cloud Embed. Through this new programme, partners can purchase core Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps and Microsoft Flow capabilities as embeddable ‘building blocks’ at discounts of up to 50 per cent. In the same way that partners today build their apps on Microsoft Azure, they can now also use Microsoft’s business applications platform to easily add sales automation, service line and operational backend functionality to their own apps. This helps lower development overheads and costs by putting Microsoft’s engineering resources to work for them. Partners receive tiered go-to-market support and an opportunity to reach Office 365’s 100 million active monthly users and a growing community of Dynamics 365 customers through Microsoft AppSource.

Together, Microsoft is helping companies in every industry grow faster and more efficiently than ever before, through business innovation fuelled by cloud technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, data and through opportunities like the integration of LinkedIn Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365, and the expanded global Mixed Reality Partner Program announced recently.

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