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Marching Orders 2016: Look Above Infrastructure for Opportunity

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. This entry comes from someone at the center of the changes and challenges in the hosting world -- Aziz Benmalek, vice president, Worldwide Hosting and Cloud Services, Microsoft Corp.

We're in an exciting period of change and opportunity for cloud and hosting service providers. These partners represent one of the fastest-growing channels for IT delivery with new providers being created and growing every year.

A study released by 451 Research during last year's Microsoft Cloud and Hosting Summit revealed that nearly 70 percent of the opportunity for cloud service providers now sits above infrastructure. The increasing demand in areas such as managed services, application hosting and security services represents an opportunity for partners to drive net-new business and address a broader set of customer needs. Customers are turning to partners not only for services like disaster recovery and application development, but for management of their cloud migrations and operations, as well.

Microsoft is focused on offering resources and support that enable partners to take advantage of this new era as customers become more mature in the cloud and move up the stack.

The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is an opportunity for service providers to capitalize on this trend, allowing partners to complement existing offerings and value-added services with Microsoft first-party cloud services and solutions. While the program itself is relatively young, we are adding over 100 partners each month and have more than 4 million Office 365 seats deployed through our service providers and have expanded the program to include solutions such as Azure, CRM Online and Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). Combined with the unique ability to deliver hybrid cloud solutions that seamlessly bridge the gap between customer datacenters and hosted cloud environments, it provides an opportunity for partners to differentiate and deliver the additional value-added services that customers are demanding.

With the Microsoft Cloud Platform, CSP and Azure Hybrid Services, our partners can deliver an unparalleled amount of flexibility and choice -- tailoring solutions for specific customer needs. There is a huge opportunity to seize this moment and stand by your clients as they make their cloud decisions. The future is bright for service providers, and I look forward to sharing more about how we'll continue to drive growth together.

More Marching Orders 2016:

Posted on January 25, 2016


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