In his first direct address to partners since taking on the top role in February, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Satya Nadella outlined his new vision for productivity at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference(WPC) 2014, pledging to make the Microsoft ecosystem as pervasive as possible.
“We are the company and the ecosystem that will build productivity experiences and platforms for the mobile-first, cloud first-world,” he said at the WPC in Washington, D.C. “We will reinvent productivity for the new generation. We will empower every individual and organization to achieve more. That is our singular mission.”
Microsoft is in a unique position because it can harmonize the needs of organizations, individuals and developers through its services and software. Microsoft will continue to refine its software and services, but look for ways they can be combined to offer more value and used across multiple devices, whatever their operating system, he said.
“We are going to have our experiences on all platforms. On every home screen out there, our aim is to have one or more Microsoft icons. Anyone can enter from any device into our ecosystem,” Nadella added.
After announcements on Day 1 of WPC 2014 about how Microsoft is committed to investing in partner success in the cloud, the focus of Day 2 has been on how partners are taking advantage of these investments in Microsoft solutions.
Partners agree with and believe in the clear and differentiated vision Microsoft has outlined for the future, so they are making the investments to bet big on Microsoft. The huge opportunity for partners to address customer needs in the cloud continues to drive innovative solutions and apps based on Microsoft technology.
Committing to the Hybrid Cloud
With many customers indicating that hybrid cloud solutions are the right answer for their needs, Microsoft partners are rushing to capitalize on that demand. NetApp, a Microsoft partner revealed NetApp Private Storage (NPS), which enables customers to extend their existing IT infrastructure to Microsoft Azure with Azure ExpressRoute. This creates a seamless hybrid cloud environment that bridges on-premises and cloud resources with an agile infrastructure.
Microsoft’s collaboration with EMC and Equinix also uses Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to offer next-generation hybrid cloud solutions with faster speeds, more reliability and higher security than conventional Internet-based public cloud connectivity.
As customers’ transformation to the mobile-first, cloud-first world continues, Microsoft is continuing to partner to accelerate their journey. A three-year, go-to-market agreement with Cisco was annoounced that will help enterprises and service providers modernize their datacenters and turn them into private clouds.
Additionally, Intel revealed that it has joined the Microsoft Cloud OS Partner Matching program to help with the transformation of datacenters through incentives across software, server, storage, networking and service partners.
Accelerating Cloud Productivity for Cloud Profitability
To solidify the financial and productivity benefits of using Microsoft Lync, Dimension Data and Microsoft kicked off an ambitious initiative to sell one million new Microsoft Lync Voice seats both on premise and on public and private clouds by 2017.
Driving Additional Partner Investment in Microsoft Solutions
Between the one-year anniversary of Microsoft’s CityNext program, the momentum of Windows partners and customers, Microsoft’s Best for Business Mobility Program in partnership with HP and Intel, and the end of support for Windows Server 2003, partners are betting big on the opportunity Microsoft solutions provide.
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:
Internal-use rights and development and test environments
Channel incentives and access to special offers
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: