Microsoft Taps Channel for Digital Business

 
 
By Michael Vizard  |  Posted 2017-08-08 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Microsoft Taps Channel for Digital Business
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    Microsoft Taps Channel for Digital Business

    Microsoft is trying to better position its channel partners to take advantage of what it describes as a $4.5 trillion market driven by digital transformation.
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    One Commercial Partner
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    One Commercial Partner

    All Microsoft's sales, marketing and technical support resources will be aligned with a specific vertical industry. Channel partners targeting enterprise accounts will be assigned to a partner account manager, who will align the partners' sales efforts with Microsoft salespeople who will engage with customers to drive revenue to partners.
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    Microsoft 356 Platform Push
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    Microsoft 356 Platform Push

    Microsoft is bundling Office 365, Windows 10 and its portfolio of security technologies to make it simpler for customers to acquire an integrated platform. Microsoft has forecast that partners stand to make nearly $1,500 in revenue per user and more than $700 in margin per user over three years based on a 5,000-seat deployment.
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    ISV Cloud Embed
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    ISV Cloud Embed

    Partners that add intellectual property on top of a Microsoft Dynamics cloud service are now eligible for discounts ranging as high as 50 percent on Microsoft business applications via a new ISV Cloud Embed program. Microsoft has also pledged to make applications developed via this program available on its online store.
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    Azure Stack Arrives
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    Azure Stack Arrives

    Via OEM partners, Microsoft is offering a local instance of the operating environment it employs on the Azure cloud. Initially available on systems from Dell EMC, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lenovo, the release of Azure Stack is expected to drive significant hybrid cloud opportunities for partners of those vendors. Cisco and Huawei are also expected to participate.
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    Mixed-Reality Partner Program
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    Mixed-Reality Partner Program

    As part of its effort to drive adoption of augmented and virtual reality solutions based on HoloLens, Microsoft is offering a multi-week readiness program that consists of in-depth technical training on mixed-reality solutions, as well as sales and marketing readiness. Upon completion of the program and a proof of concept , partners can qualify for a range of benefits.
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    Windows 10 as a Virtual Service
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    Windows 10 as a Virtual Service

    Windows 10 E3 and E5 customers now have the option to add virtualization use rights to Windows subscriptions via partners participating in the Microsoft Cloud Service Provider program starting in September. The goal is to enable partners to more easily deliver desktop-as-a-service solutions.
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    GDPR Becomes a Priority
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    GDPR Becomes a Priority

    As the European Union prepares to implement a General Data Protection Rule in May 2018, Microsoft is offering partners playbooks, assessment tools, product demo kits and an online portal for discovering best GDPR practices. Microsoft has pledged that all its products and technologies will be GDPR-compliant by 2018.
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    Boosting Surface Tablet Sales
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    Boosting Surface Tablet Sales

    This fall, a new Microsoft Surface Reseller Alliance program will give its tablet partners easy access to product information, training, marketing support materials, end-customer assistance, and help with and direct deal registration for Distributor Managed Partners. It will include a revamped online portal with training modules, live webinars for newly launched Surface products, and will provide incentives for partner sellers to complete the training curriculum.
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    Investments in Lead Generation
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    Investments in Lead Generation

    Microsoft is also ramping up its marketing support by making investments in lead generation, providing assets, guidelines and assistance to help its partners.
 

Microsoft is trying to better position itself and its channel partners to take advantage of what it describes as a $4.5 trillion market opportunity being driven by digital transformation. To achieve that goal, Microsoft is attempting to reorient itself around six core vertical industries: education, financial services, government, healthcare, manufacturing and retail. At the recent Microsoft Inspire 2017 conference, the company outlined a series of initiatives it is putting in place to help partners make that transition. The degree to which each channel partner opts to participate in those programs will depend heavily on both its size and the size of the organizations it targets. Microsoft has pledged to spend more than $250 million to connect partners to customers using a combination of lead-generation tactics and dramatically increasing the size of its inside sales teams. In addition, the company has changed the way it compensates its internal sales staff to make it more lucrative for them to drive deals via channel partners. In a digital economy, Microsoft is clearly determined to stay relevant, as customers begin to focus on the business outcomes enabled by IT solutions, rather than on the products and services that make up those solutions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Mike Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWeek, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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