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It Doesn't Take Many Deals To Play with the Big Kids in BPOS -- For Now

Partners that are slow out of the gate on selling the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services can take heart from a recently leaked set of Microsoft data.

Joe Panettieri of Talkin' Cloud published what he described as a Microsoft-generated list of the top 10 U.S. channel partners by BPOS deals deployed. He said the list came from sources close to Microsoft.

The number of deals is relatively low for a product that's been out since 2009, although Joe mentions that some of the deals involve tens of thousands of seats. Still, it indicates that while the hype around cloud is high, the number of deals among even the most aggressive partners shows that the market isn't anywhere near saturated.

According to Talkin' Cloud, the top partners are CDW LLC with 390 customers, LiveOffice with 125, StrategicSaaS LLC with 95, MessageOps with 85, Cloud Strategies LLC with 75, Software House International with 70, SoftChoice with 70, Vorsite Corp. with 70, Dell with 65 and Champion Solutions Group with 65. Microsoft declined to comment.

The list makes sense in terms of companies represented. CDW as a direct-market reseller is one of the biggest U.S. sellers by volume across the Microsoft product portfolio. LiveOffice, Strategic SaaS and Cloud Strategies are all companies Microsoft pointed RCP to in July in an article we ran about cloud pioneers. Software House International, SoftChoice and Dell are all large account resellers for Microsoft.

It's also in line with requirements in Microsoft's U.S. Cloud Champions Club, a U.S. program to provide incentives and benefits for selling BPOS. There's a minimum number of deals that partners have to close for each of the three tiers in the program. The lowest tier is three BPOS deals, the second tier is eight deals and the top tier is 20 deals.

One other data point: We recently completed our annual RCP Reader Survey (keep an eye out for the April issue for details). As we do every year, we asked how many partners were actively reselling Microsoft's cloud offerings. The number remains relatively low at about 18 percent, consistent with our previous survey.

While there's some comfort in all the numbers above, partners thinking about building online practices shouldn't get too complacent. We contacted one partner on the list above, and he said the numbers seemed consistent with results at the end of calendar 2010. Deal velocity is increasing, he said: "The race is this year."

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 22, 2011


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