Microsoft is offering promotional end-user pricing and deals on its software suites, to ward off the threat of competition from cloud rivals such as Salesforce and Google.
“We are not alone [in the cloud]. Companies such as Salesforce have been selling cloud services for many years and they are talking to your customers about getting rid of Exchange,” the vendor’s partner technical specialist Nick Bowyer told the audience at the vendor’s recent Auckland Office 2010 Roadshow.
“If you think you would rather sell people an Exchange server and give them one option, Google can come along and sell them [cloud services] on a cost basis of per user per month and you have lost that opportunity.”
To counter competitive offerings, the vendor is offering deals such as pricing of $3.50 per user per month for Exchange Online, and a 40 percent saving for customers who buy the combined suite of SharePoint 2010, Exchange 2010 and Online Services.
In addition, Bowyer pushed the benefits of annuity revenue from Microsoft’s cloud services.
“Partners receive 6 percent annuity revenue and with the net add fee you get another 12 percent in the first year. This is not a management fee, but recognition to you as a reseller for selling our service.”
He adds resellers can make extra money by customising Microsoft’s Online Services and offering end-user support.
“Customers want the ability to free up the [IT] people who usually work on the back end and have them work on more strategic IT projects. Rather than working on what you have to have and seeing IT as a cost centre, customers want to use IT to grow the business and generate revenue.
“You can say to a customer, ‘Now that you’ve got Exchange in the cloud you can afford to upgrade your notebooks and buy Office 2010’.”
Bowyer warned resellers other cloud providers will take their business if they are not addressing customers’ questions about the technology.
“You, as a reseller, are coming up against more and more questions from your customers around the cloud and whether they should choose it as a solution.”