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Marching Orders 2013: Focus on Cloud and Devices

As part of Redmond Channel Partner's annual "Marching Orders" feature, we asked several channel luminaries to give their best advice to help Microsoft partners succeed in the coming year. Here's what Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group, had to offer RCP's readers.

As we head into 2013, I see two huge opportunities for partners in the Microsoft ecosystem. The first, of course, is the cloud.

Partners have heard me talk for the last two years about the cloud opportunity, but in the last year we have really seen the traction and scale take off. In 2013 we're going to start to see the trend of cloud leading on-premises. This will be the year that cloud run-rate of certain workloads will pass on-premises in key segments. Look for this leapfrog in e-mail in small to midsize business (SMB), CRM in midmarket, and others. The cloud momentum will undoubtedly accelerate as we release the next version of Windows Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Intune, and because Office 365 will have a truly symmetric server model.

If you haven't thought strategically about expanding your business into the cloud, the time is now. The current online opportunities for partners are some of the biggest we've ever seen. The various business models we offer partners in the cloud give a clear path to profit that suits your company (think Office 365 Open). The key for partners already in the middle of this transition will be their ability to continue to differentiate their businesses and look for ways to become more of a managed services provider (MSP). To do this will mean adding your own IP to that of core services provided by platform companies such as Microsoft. We're supporting this trend with new managed code capabilities inside SharePoint Online and the fact that you can both customize Office 365 and do sophisticated integration and cross-system customization with Windows Azure.

The second major opportunity I see in 2013 is especially relevant to our OEM and App Dev partners: I believe 2013 will be the year of the touchscreen. Driven by Windows 8, which really shines on a touchscreen, we expect to see touch devices continue to grow in popularity and function this year across enterprise, corporate, SMBs and consumers. Take advantage of the opportunity that the proliferation of touchscreen devices creates. We've evolved our Desktop competency to orient around Devices and Deployment. With this evolution, we're better able to reward partners that help customers select, configure and manage a range of devices.

Together in 2013, we're more ready than ever to bring the new era to life for our customers. Let's go win some business.

Stay tuned for more Marching Orders from channel experts and executives. Or read the full feature from our January 2013 issue here.

Posted on January 04, 2013 at 8:50 AM


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