Highlights from Day 1, WPC 2014: Winning together in a Mobile-first, Cloud-first World

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference(WPC) 2014 keynote from Day 1 has wrapped up in Washington D.C. and we have put together the highlights from the event. More than 16,000 attendees gathered on the opening day to hear about opportunities for partners to grow their business and win together with Microsoft in the year ahead.

This year’s conference focused primarily on Microsoft’s Cloud based services including Azure, Office 365 and CRM. Microsoft highlighted how these services are crucial to businesses of any size by demonstrating how the company’s “cloud-first, mobile-first” approach and vision integrates with their partners’ strategies on many levels to help them win together.

Several announcements were made during the Vision Keynote that put partners at the center of customer cloud adoption. These announcements were:

Integration of Cloud into the Microsoft Partner Network

Microsoft is retiring the Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment and Azure Circle programs in favor of three new cloud-focused membership categories or competencies-

Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions: For partners selling Microsoft Office 365 to small and mid-market customers.

Cloud Productivity: For partners deploying Microsoft Office 365 for enterprise customers.

Cloud Platform: For partners who specialize in delivering infrastructure, PaaS and SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Partners who attain the new cloud performance competencies will earn the silver level at no cost and will receive gold level at a reduced price. Partners who qualify will receive a host of benefits that include:

  1. Cloud support
  2. Internal-use rights and development and test environments
  3. Channel incentives and access to special offers
  4. Guaranteed field or tele management at the gold level

Another way Microsoft is helping partners transition to the cloud is by providing the tools and resources to get started on new cloud services. These are as listed below:

Cloud Solution Provider program: The Cloud Solution Provider Program allows partners to engage at every part of the customer lifecycle. Partners will serve as the main point of contact for all customer needs, including billing, provisioning, support and, most importantly, the ability to sell their own tools, products and services with every Office 365 subscription. This new program provides our partners with increased opportunities and ensures our mutual customers can rely on their dedicated strategic partner to get the most out of Office 365, Windows InTune and eventually other Microsoft cloud solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing: The addition of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to Microsoft Open Licensing Programs means that small business and mid-market customers will be able to gain access to the full suite of Microsoft Online Services in a way that fits their current engagement with their partner or service provider. This represents a huge opportunity for Microsoft distributors and resellers who will be able to transact Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to their existing and new customers through the licensing model they are used to. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing will be available later this fiscal year.

Azure in Open Licensing: Microsoft Azure will be available via the Open Licensing program beginning on August 1, 2014, making it easier for partners to build a profitable cloud business. This provides partners with a familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities to grow revenues and deepen customer relationships.

Azure Certified Program: The new Azure Certified logo certification program will empower Microsoft partners to grow their business through new opportunities to promote and sell their applications and services on Azure. The program includes co-marketing assistance, a listing on the Azure website and access to the Azure customer base via placement in the Azure Management Portal.

Azure Machine Learning University: Machine Learning University offers online step-by-step instruction to help partners get started on working with Machine Learning right away. Azure Machine Learning will help partners build advanced analytic cloud services for their customers in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications.

These announcements take steps to make it more valuable, less expensive and easier for partners to do business with Microsoft, also providing them with a unique opportunity to embrace the mobile-first, cloud-first world with a differentiated vision for the future.

Some impressive statistics from the keynote that are indicative of Microsoft’s phenomenal growth are provided below:

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