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Microsoft WPC: The cloud delivers new markets, customers and responsibilities

Microsoft WPC: The cloud delivers new markets, customers and responsibilities

Microsoft partners from across the globe share pointers on how they succeeded in the transition to the cloud. One CEO says they have changed their brand into a cloud provider. They developed an inside sales force, changed the sales model to capture all cloud based opportunities and have references that were able to win larger customers.

Another company has a dedicated team of pre-sales engineers and targeted a list of 100 customers. They have since won over five BPOS deals, one of which has 6000 seats, a church. One company CEO said they have changed their brand into a cloud provider, we developed an inside sales force, changed sales model to capture all cloud based opportunities building market muscle built a virtual sales and delivery model, and were able to win larger customers with their reference companies.

Tiffani Bova, vice president, Research Indirect Channel Programs and Sales Strategies, at analyst firm Gartner, says the worldwide market for cloud services was worth 58.6 billion in 2009. She predicts this figure to rise to $148 billion in 2014.

She points out SMBs are now more willing to consider cloud services than they were 18 months ago. Small businesses with legacy or consumer based IT will use cloud to upgrade their infrastructure, she says.

She suggests some steps where channel partners can focus their time and energy.

For now, she says, they need to experiment with the cloud and discover where it fits into their current offerings. She suggests getting a focus group of customers and asking them what their intentions are in the cloud, and their concerns. In the next 90 days, she recommends figuring out how the company is “gonna play in that sandbox”. She asks, as you build your portfolio, do you have the right sales people and engineers?

In the next 12 months, she says, channel partners need to develop a strategy on how to build a dynamic and flexible organisation.

Microsoft says this year’s event is the biggest worldwide partner conference so far, with 95090 partners and 3000 Microsoft employees from 130 countries attending. There are around 74 delegates from New Zealand, the largest so far.

Two New Zealand companies, meanwhile, are honoured at the conference - Express Data as Distributor of the Year awardee and Intergen as inaugural Country Partner of the Year for New Zealand. Express Data sales and marketing manager Paul Plester unfurled a New Zealand flag as he went up the stage to receive the prize.

Muglia, meanwhile, compares the development of the cloud to what was happening in the early 1990s, when industry standard computers and internet were emerging. “There is so much change, so much opportunity.”

At the same time, he minimises concern over multinational corporations elbowing out the smaller providers in the cloud. “I can see the opposite,” he says, where small companies can reach markets because of the cloud. If you are a small company building apps and want to reach America, the cost of building infrastructure is prohibitive, he says. At the same time, it is a good opportunity for local providers to take their strengths they have and leverage that to reach other places.

Muglia recalls a discussion he had with a group of top CIOs in the US who were holding their annual conference. It was a “good conversation”, he says, until one of the CIOs told him. “Bob, you don’t get it.”

“We never want another upgrade from Microsoft again. We want the features and functions but [you] put all of the burden on us... We want this as a service.”

That is what cloud computing is all about, he says, “transformation of the industry to work together to deliver IT as a service, to enable them to focus on their business, to not focus on running the infrastructure, and deliver IT as a service”.

Muglia says some of the Microsoft partners need to transform as they and their customers move to the cloud. “I firmly believe that customer demand for solutions far exceeds industry capacity to deliver on it. Cloud is an opportunity with IT as a service to deliver to customers”.

Tami Reller, corporate vice president and CFO, Windows and Windows Live, says Windows has become a global ubiquitous brand. She says this provides tremendous partner opportunities with Windows 7.

It is estimated 4 to 5 percent of IT budgets will grow in 2011, and there will be an appetite within the business to prioritise their IT projects.

IDC has predicted 370 plus million PCs will be shipped in 2011. Meanwhile, PCs are running on decades old operating systems. The average age of PCs is 4.4 years.

Reller cites a “compelling list” for CEOs and CIOs to move to Windows 7. These include lower TCO of costs in overall PC management, security concerns and virtualisation.

John Roskill, the new head of Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft, unveils strategies for partners to transition to the cloud, and how they can evolve and grow their business. These include the new Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack, Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Program and new solution incentives for partners. “Start with windows 7 because you need access to the cloud,” says Roskill. “We want you to run on our latest software.”

Microsoft partners from across the globe share pointers on how they succeeded in the transition to the cloud. One CEO says they have changed their brand into a cloud provider. They developed an inside sales force, changed the sales model to capture all cloud based opportunities and have references that were able to win larger customers.

Another company has a dedicated team of pre-sales engineers and targeted a list of 100 customers. They have since won over five BPOS deals, one of which has 6000 seats, a church. One company CEO said they have changed their brand into a cloud provider, we developed an inside sales force, changed sales model to capture all cloud based opportunities building market muscle built a virtual sales and delivery model, and were able to win larger customers with their reference companies.

Tiffani Bova, vice president, Research Indirect Channel Programs and Sales Strategies, at analyst firm Gartner, says the worldwide market for cloud services was worth 58.6 billion in 2009. She predicts this figure to rise to $148 billion in 2014.

She points out SMBs are now more willing to consider cloud services than they were 18 months ago. Small businesses with legacy or consumer based IT will use cloud to upgrade their infrastructure, she says.

She suggests some steps where channel partners can focus their time and energy.

For now, she says, they need to experiment with the cloud and discover where it fits into their current offerings. She suggests getting a focus group of customers and asking them what their intentions are in the cloud, and their concerns. In the next 90 days, she recommends figuring out how the company is “gonna play in that sandbox”. She asks, as you build your portfolio, do you have the right sales people and engineers?

In the next 12 months, she says, channel partners need to develop a strategy on how to build a dynamic and flexible organisation.

Microsoft says this year’s event is the biggest worldwide partner conference so far, with 95090 partners and 3000 Microsoft employees from 130 countries attending. There are around 74 delegates from New Zealand, the largest so far.

Two New Zealand companies, meanwhile, are honoured at the conference - Express Data as Distributor of the Year awardee and Intergen as inaugural Country Partner of the Year for New Zealand. Express Data sales and marketing manager Paul Plester unfurled a New Zealand flag as he went up the stage to receive the prize.


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