Cloud. Cloud. Oh, and a bit more Cloud.
In keeping with Microsoft’s bid to drive a “Cloud first, mobile first” approach across its channel, CEO Satya Nadella spearheaded a range of new Cloud focused offerings to partners this morning, revealed during the opening address of Worldwide Partner Conference 2015.
Addressing over 15,000 attendees gathered in Orlando, Florida, including Reseller News, Nadella reenforced Redmond’s focus around empowering its partners to drive Cloud and mobility solutions to customers, creating new opportunities across Microsoft’s core focuses.
“Many technologies have come and gone, customer expectations have changed, but what has remained consistent is our commitment to partners,” Nadella told a packed audience, featuring a strong Kiwi contingent of over 70 partners.
“We talk about our mission and strategy, but anchoring us is our ambition, our ambition to create a Cloud first, mobile first world.”
Cloud Solution Providers
Backed on stage by Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Channel, plus a host of executives, Microsoft expanded the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, a program which was launched in New Zealand in May, with Exeed, Dicker Data and Ingram Micro selected as the first two-tier New Zealand distributors.
Now expanding CSP to additional markets, bringing the total number of markets in which CSP is available to 131, additionally, Azure and CRM Online will join Office 365, Windows Intune and Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) as available services in the CSP.
“The changing landscape of business applications in the cloud delivers even more compelling opportunities for Microsoft partners,” adds Neil Holloway, corporate vice president, sales and partners, Microsoft Business Solutions.
“Cloud-enabled intelligent business applications are helping organisations do more and achieve more.
“Workplace productivity is being reinvented around business processes that are simpler, more agile and connected.
“Dynamics-centred business solutions are leading the way in helping organisations of all sizes better engage with their customers and intelligently run their operations.”
For Holloway, the CSP program enables partners to sell integrated offers and solutions across all Microsoft Cloud services, while taking greater control of the end-to-end customer lifecycle with direct provisioning, management, and support.
Furthermore, the Redmond hierarchy believe CSP, now operating in New Zealand for two months, will allow partners to “own and control the billing relationship” as well as adding partner services and IP to deliver a complete end-to-end solution.
“CSP is a great fit for Dynamics partners as it enables the provisioning and management of subscriptions for multiple cloud services and a smoother buying process for customers, allowing partners to become trusted advisors and one-stop source for selling ‘Business Solutions from Microsoft’,” Holloway adds.
“CSP provides partners control, ownership, and more tools to service the complete customer lifecycle, including customer billing and technical support.”
Across the Office 365 spectrum, John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office, says the company is also introducing a new Partner Centre for “streamlined on-boarding and customer management experience”, as well as releasing new commerce APIs for partners to automate transactions and integrate into their own systems.
In addition, in reaction to the growing interest from partners and customers over the past two years, Microsoft also revealed more opportunities for more partners to sell Surface, taking the number of resellers from a few hundred to a few thousand globally in the coming months.
“Surface is an integral part of our Windows strategy, and the expansion of this program coinciding with the upcoming launch of Windows 10 creates exciting opportunities for partners,” Sorgen says.
According to Sorgen, Microsoft is targeting resellers or systems integrator with strong hardware capabilities, with interested partners advised to visit the Microsoft Partner Network Device Partner Portal and contact an Authorised Device Distributor to learn how to become a partner.
“This expansion of our partnerships is directly related to our optimism for much broader success that will come with the release of Windows 10,” Sorgen adds.
As explained by Sorgen, Microsoft is also investing in helping partners unlock customer mobility opportunities with new competencies for Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) that will enable them to differentiate their expertise and grow their business.
“We are introducing a new premium Office 365 enterprise suite called E5 before the end of this year,” he adds.
“E5 will encompass the core value of Office 365 productivity and collaboration capabilities, as well as significant new innovations.
“These include the new Skype for Business services such as Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast; Power BI & analytics features, like Power BI Pro and Delve Organisational Analytics; and new advanced security features, such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, and Advanced Threat Protection.”
Going forward, Sorgen believes the E5 suite will provide a “significant new opportunity” for partners to build new service offerings around real-time communication and analytics, and to reach new customers with new security features.
“Microsoft’s partners have always been and will always be a driving force in business transformation, and our collective innovation has never been stronger for our mutual customers,” Sorgen adds.
“That’s because they’re depending on us. In this mobile-first, Cloud-first world, those businesses that embrace technology to reinvent themselves and their industries will thrive, and those who embrace status quo risk extinction.
“Its Microsoft’s hundreds of thousands of global partners that will bring about this transformation, help our mutual customers through this change and forge the next industrial revolution.”