Microsoft puts partners at center of $4.5 trillion transformation opportunity

Yesterday Microsoft kicked off Microsoft Inspire in Washington, D.C.

Microsoft puts partners at center of $4.5 trillion transformation opportunity

The world is on the cusp of major technology disruption bringing major opportunities. Digital transformation is a wave of business innovation fueled by cloud technologies like the Internet of Things, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and data.

“Driving our customers’ businesses forward through digital transformation has opened an estimated $4.5 trillion market opportunity,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president, Worldwide Commercial Business.

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, 86 per cent of companies view digital disruption as an opportunity. Companies across every industry are seeking ways to use digital transformation to empower their employees, better engage with customers, optimise operations, and transform their products. Leaders recognise that successful transformation depends on their employees and culture, which is why both are at the heart of the offerings Microsoft announced yesterday.

Introducing Microsoft 365

Also today, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft 365, a new set of commercial offerings that brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Microsoft 365 is a complete, intelligent, and secure solution to empower all companies and all workers, recognising that people are at the heart of digital transformation. It puts people at the centre, 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 also introduced two Microsoft 365 offerings. Microsoft 365 Enterprise is the evolution of the highly successful Secure Productive Enterprise offering, and includes Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It is designed for large organisations and empowers employees to be creative and work together, securely.

Microsoft 365 Business, available for public preview from August 2, is designed for small- to medium-sized businesses with up to 300 users and integrates Office 365 Business Premium with tailored security and management features from Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It also includes a centralised console for deploying and securing devices and users in one location.

Microsoft 365 represents a fundamental shift in Microsoft’s design, build, and go to market to address the customers’ needs for a modern workplace. It is a more cohesive approach and reflects the shift all 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 is great for partners, too. It represents a significant opportunity to increase deal size, differentiate offerings, and grow their managed services revenue. According to a Forrester Total Economic Impact™ Study (Commissioned Studies conducted by Forrester Consulting), Microsoft 365 Enterprise increases partner revenue opportunity by more than 50 per cent versus selling and deploying Office 365 alone.

Applications and infrastructure

As more and more companies transform, it is important for the partners to think bigger and create faster. To fuel Microsoft partners’ success and help meet the goal of a $20-billion cloud run rate by 2018, Microsoft also announced with new 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 data centres 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 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 of Microsoft’s partners have already begun to capitalise on the power of Azure Stack, including Rackspace, Tieto, and Resello. Partners can learn more about how to build a successful cloud practice through Microsoft’s Practice Development Playbooks or sharpen their Azure skills through their online trainings.

Business applications

“I am excited to announce two new ways Microsoft is helping our partners connect with customers and bring innovative solutions to market. Last year we piloted a new Azure co-sell programme 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,” said Althoff.

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

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

Putting partners first

“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and our partners bring that mission to life every day with our customers. Our partners employ more than 17 million people around the world, and IDC estimates that Microsoft and its partner ecosystem will garner almost a trillion dollars in revenue in 2017, according to IDC Microsoft Footprint Model 2017,” said Althoff.

Together, Microsoft and partners help companies in every industry grow faster and more efficiently than ever before, through business innovation fuelled 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 yesterday. 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, is 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.

“However, the transformation our partners drive with customers is not new. For more than 40 years, we have been a partner-led company, which is proven by the fact that we generate more than 95 per cent of our business through our robust and constantly evolving partner ecosystem. Today, Microsoft has more than 64,000 cloud partners—more than AWS, Googlem and Salesforce combined. Our partners tell us they choose Microsoft because we are more than a technology provider— we are their business partner. Notably, 30 per cent of our partners joined our network in the past year, and we are adding more than 6,000 partners each month. But we can achieve more together,” shared Althoff.

To help partners innovate more, go to market faster, and connect with the right customers at the right time, Microsoft is transforming the ways to engage with the Microsoft partner community by bringing the partner-facing roles into one organisation. “We have aligned all partner-facing roles to three primary functions: Build-With, Go-To-Market, and Sell-With. This will simplify and optimise our engagement, drive increased collaboration, and foster a culture of work that puts our partners first,” Althoff shared.

Microsoft Inspire will gather more than 17,000 people for its most important partner event of the year. More than 145,000 meetings take place during the event, and past exhibitors have experienced a 30 per cent year-over-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 partners are endless.

By Hoang Anh