The 2014 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington DC exhibited a much more partner-friendly tone than last year as it seemed to be more about what Microsoft can “do” for partners rather than what partners can “do” for Microsoft.
Here are three big takeaways all Microsoft partners should be aware of as they plan for the next Microsoft fiscal year and how Onit can help:
1. Microsoft Cloud Services Provider Program
Microsoft announced the Microsoft Cloud Services Provider Program this year, which allows partners to control the complete customer lifecycle in cloud product sales and service by allowing partners to control and manage the provisioning of Microsoft cloud services.
This is great news for Microsoft resellers because it provides more touch-points and higher visibility with your customers allowing you to get even more strategic about your customers’ overall cloud deployment portfolio.
Today, Onit is working with one major North American Microsoft LAR on end-to-end cloud services solutions that allow them to control the business process workflow from quoting the customer to provisioning their cloud software to managing the subscriptions over time.
By controlling the workflow of cloud services provisioning and management with Onit Apps, this reseller will be able to do more with less resources, reduce risk of error in provisioning, and increase customer satisfaction throughout the lifecycle of service.
2. Three New Reseller Programs
Microsoft also announced three new programs for resellers:
- Small and Mid-Market Cloud Solutions Program
This program focuses on cloud software provisioning and deployment for customers with less than 100 users of Office 365, and includes optimized entitlements for other productivity solutions such as Visual Studio.
This market is ripe for opportunity with more than 9 million prospects in the United States alone.
However, in order to get this most out of this program, your team will need to be efficient with quoting, provisioning, and managing across the a vast long-tail of customers in the SMB market. Having an efficient workflow in place to address this market is critical to success.
- Cloud Productivity Program
This program is designed to help partners sell enterprise deployments of Office 365 with support for demos, mobile, and eligibility to participate in Microsoft marketing campaigns.
- Cloud Platform Program
The Cloud Platform Program is intended for resellers selling Infrastructure-as-a-Service, PaaS, or SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure. This is a renewed push to compete with Rackspace.com and Amazon.com.
For each of these programs, Onit can build custom workflow solutions to help you efficiently capture a healthy share of the addressable market and further refine your process over time to take advantage of your companies unique resources and core competencies.
3. Business Process Apps are the Next Big Thing
Evident in this year’s Microsoft WPC was a major switch in business strategy for Microsoft from the ‘devices and services’ mantra of Steve Ballmer to a more ‘productivity and platform’ company approach with Satya Nadella.
This means that the way things get done means a lot more than it used to. We are evolving beyond a time when the version of Microsoft Excel and the laptop you ran it on mattered – today Excel is in the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 and you can access your spreadsheet from a tablet, laptop, or workstation anytime you like.
What matters is who you are collaborating with on that spreadsheet, what happens after you finish your piece of collaboration, and what effect that has on the rest of your organization.
Project Siena is Microsoft’s big push into the world of Business Apps. At WPC, they announced a partnership with Fujitsu to work together on building Apps for their new 8-inch tablet.
Project Siena allows business-level users to create Apps using PowerPoint and Excel skills, all without the assistance of IT or developers.
At Onit, we are exploring ways to integrate with Project Siena in order for it to be the front-end user experience to our rapidly adaptable business process workflow technology on the backend.