Microsoft Puts Partners at the Center of $4.5 Trillion Transformation Opportunity

Microsoft Corp. on Monday kicked off Microsoft Inspire in Washington, D.C. where the company unveiled Microsoft 365, a new set of commercial offerings that draws from the best of the company’s commercial products across Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Microsoft 365 is designed to empower all companies and all workers, recognizing that people are at the heart of digital transformation. It puts people at the center, giving them flexibility to work where and how they want, and giving them new ways to collaborate with others — all while protecting company data.

Microsoft introduced two Microsoft 365 offerings today. Microsoft 365 Enterprise is the evolution of the company’s Secure Productive Enterprise offering, and includes Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It provides customers with the latest and most advanced technology for empowering employees. Microsoft 365 Business, available in public preview starting Aug. 2, is designed to give small-to-medium sized businesses a complete productivity and security solution, while streamlining IT management. It includes Office 365 Business Premium, security and management features for Office apps and Windows 10 devices, all managed in a centralized console for deploying and securing devices and users in one location.

Microsoft 365 represents a new and more cohesive approach to how Microsoft goes to market with commercial offerings, and reflects the shift partners and mutual customers are making — from viewing productivity, security and device management as individual workloads, to seeking a comprehensive approach to secure productivity. Microsoft 365 represents a significant opportunity for partners to increase deal size, differentiate offerings, and grow managed services revenue. According to Forrester Consulting, Microsoft 365 Enterprise increases partner revenue opportunity by more than 50 percent vs. selling and deploying Office 365 alone.

To fuel Microsoft partners’ success and help meet the company’s goal of a $20 billion cloud run rate by 2018, Microsoft announced with launch hardware partners, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo, that Microsoft Azure Stack is now available to order. Azure Stack is an extension of Azure that brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments and enables entirely new hybrid cloud scenarios.

Azure Stack offers a truly consistent hybrid cloud platform, providing an ideal fit for customers who want flexibility without having to build applications in a different way.  From Azure datacenters to the edge of the cloud — whether miles underground in a mine shaft, away at sea on a ship, or on a factory floor dependent on continuous real-time operation — Azure Stack enables modern cloud applications that meet all business and regulatory requirements.  A truly consistent hybrid cloud helps customers execute on their cloud strategy faster, and in a way that makes the most sense for their business.

Azure Stack extends the Azure ecosystem opportunity by helping partners grow their Azure business and reach a larger addressable market through hybrid cloud scenarios.  Many Microsoft partners have already begun to capitalize on the power of Azure Stack including Rackspace, Tieto, and Resello.  Partners can learn more about how to build a successful cloud practice through Practice Development Playbooks or sharpen their Azure skills through online trainings here. 

Microsoft also announced two new ways it is helping partners connect with customers and bring innovative solutions to market. Last year, Microsoft piloted a new Azure co-sell program to provide comprehensive sales and marketing support for partners building solutions with Azure.  In its first six months in market, this program helped close more than $1 billion in annual contract value for Azure partners, created $6 billion in Azure partner pipeline opportunity and generated more than 4,500 partner deals.

Azure is the only public cloud providing partners with this incredible benefit through which Microsoft sales reps are paid up to 10 percent of the partner’s annual contract value when they co-sell qualified Azure-based partner solutions. This means Microsoft is uniquely incenting its sales reps to work hand-in-hand with Azure partners to drive new business together and enabling partners to leverage the Microsoft salesforce to grow their business globally.

To build on this incredible momentum, Microsoft is making additional investments to accelerate Azure co-sell over the next 12 months.  Microsoft is also creating a new dedicated Channel Manager role in Microsoft that will be 100 percent focused on supporting partners go to market efforts, helping ensure their solutions reach new customers and integrating with Microsoft’s co-sell motion. Together, these represent a quarter of a billion dollar investment that materially increases Microsoft’ partner-dedicated personnel, and adds to Azure co-sell incentives.

Microsoft is also making it easier for partners to modernize existing business applications, and build new ones, with a new program called ISV Cloud Embed. Through this new program partners can purchase core Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps and Microsoft Flow capabilities as embeddable “building blocks” at discounts of up to 50 percent. In the same way that partners today build their apps on Microsoft Azure, they can now also use Microsoft’s business applications platform to easily add sales automation, service line and operational backend functionality to their own apps.  This helps lower development overhead and costs by putting Microsoft’s engineering resources to work for them.  Partners receive tiered go to market support and an opportunity to reach Office 365’s 100 million active monthly users, and a growing community of Dynamics 365 customers through Microsoft AppSource.

From building on Azure, to industry leading co-sell support and new embeddable business application services no other vendor provides a more comprehensive approach to helping partners accelerate their transformation and their business.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and partners bring that mission to life every day with customers. Microsoft partners employ more than 17 million people around the world, and IDC estimates that Microsoft and its partner ecosystem will generating almost a trillion dollars in revenue in 2017. 

Together, Microsoft is helping companies in every industry grow faster and more efficiently than ever before, through business innovation fueled by cloud technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, data, and through opportunities like the integration of LinkedIn Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365, and the expanded global Mixed Reality Partner Program announced today. At Microsoft Inspire, executives from KPMG, Schneider Electric, Sephora, Adobe, Track’em, and more, will demonstrate how they are driving digital transformation in their respective industries. KPMG, for example, today announced they are working with Microsoft to create the KPMG Digital Solutions Hub and, with KPMG “Clara” on Azure, will be the first of the “Big 4” professional services firms to bring its auditing platform to the public cloud.

For more than 40 years, Microsoft has been a partner-led company, which reflects the fact that it generates more than 95% of business through the company’s robust and constantly evolving partner ecosystem. Today, Microsoft has more than 64,000 cloud partners — more than AWS, Google and Salesforce combined.  Partners tell Microsoft they chose the company because it is more than a technology provider; Microsoft is also their business partner. Notably, 30 percent of partners joined the Microsoft partner network in the past year, and Microsoft is adding more than 6,000 partners each month.  And together, Microsoft and its partners can achieve more. 

To help partners innovate more, go to market faster and connect with the right customers at the right time, Microsoft is transforming how the company engages with its partner community by bringing its partner facing roles into one organization.  Microsoft has aligned all partner-facing roles to three primary functions: Build-with, Go-To-Market, and Sell-with. This will help simplify and optimize engagement, drive increased collaboration, and foster a culture of work that puts partners first.

Microsoft Inspire will gather more than 17,000 people for Microsoft’s most important partner event of the year. More than 145,000 meetings take place during the event, and past exhibitors have experienced a 30 percent year on year sales increase. Tune into the live stream keynotes to hear what the buzz is all about.  In a world where transformation is inevitable, the opportunities for Microsoft partners are endless.