Allison Watson, Microsoft corporate vice president for the Worldwide Partner
Group, sent Microsoft Partner Program members a letter via e-mail this morning
about the economy and the Azure Services Platform, two topics that are top of
mind for the Microsoft channel right now. The text of Watson's letter is below:
A Letter to Partners from Corporate VP Allison Watson
Help Customers Prosper in Today's Economy
I wanted to reach out during these turbulent economic times for two important
reasons. First, I would like to emphasize that it is more important than ever
for Microsoft and its Partners to remain aligned in supporting our mutual
customers. The economic downturn is putting many segments under increasing
pressure, making it critical to find new ways to reduce costs and inefficiencies.
Second, at our Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles in
October, we announced new technology previews of our Software plus Services
I have heard from many of you in the last few weeks and am truly inspired
by your stories of passion for and dedication to customers -- Thank You! Through
our collective knowledge, expertise, resources and partnership, we are uniquely
positioned to help customers across the globe drive down costs and continue
While no one can predict the future, Microsoft is continuing to invest
in the research and development of technologies and products that will ignite
business innovation moving forward. Together, we can offer Low-Cost yet High-Performance
solutions that enable customers to gain competitive advantages in a tough
Economy and Reducing Customer Cost
We need to begin each customer conversation with how we can help them save
money. I encourage you to take every opportunity to demonstrate the significant
savings and value customers can realize when they work with a Microsoft Partner.
I want you to focus on how you go to market and talk to your customers about
solutions. We want you to reach out to Technical Decision Makers and explain
the costs and performance benefits of Core Infrastructure Optimization, Application
Platform Infrastructure Optimization and Business Productivity Infrastructure
Optimization. We know that you are talking to Business Decision Makers (BDMs),
and they want to know how they can save money and be more productive in Sales,
Marketing and Finance. Last, how can you reach out and drive Information Worker
productivity so your customers can focus on making their core business as
productive as possible?
To help foster this, we have assembled a list of the ways you can save
customers money today by helping to guide and leverage their IT investments.
First, how can you help your customers' Technical Decision Makers become
organizational heroes by reducing costs through Core Infrastructure Optimization?
- They can lower desktop deployment and management costs using the Microsoft
Desktop Optimization Pack.
- Ensure you and your customers are using Windows Vista to run their
businesses in an operating environment that lowers deployment, energy and
maintenance costs. A tremendous side benefit is the increased productivity
of their workforce.
- Microsoft System Center delivers a significant cost reduction for
server ownership by improving datacenter operations management.
- Infrastructure Optimization tools offer Technical Decision Makers
models and scenarios to identify ways to drive down costs.
- Reduce your customers' IT complexity, lower total cost of ownership
and improve efficiency. Microsoft virtualization solutions and the Integrated
Virtualization ROI tool.
- Use Deployment Solution Accelerators to deploy the solutions customers
already own to get the maximum value from their IT investments.
Second, how can you help customers achieve higher productivity and increased
efficiency through Application Platform Infrastructure Optimization?
- SQL Server 2008 is here, and together with the NEW Microsoft Application
Platform Agreement, there is an opportunity to broadly standardize our customers
across all of their database needs and drive transaction volume projects
up with no additional license investment.
- Windows Server 2008 operating system, with its built-in Web and virtualization
technologies, enables you to help customers consolidate more applications
on fewer Servers, optimize their hardware spend and require less physical
space. In-built middleware and interoperability creates opportunity to have
conversations about how more applications than ever before run on this platform,
reducing support and maintenance of dual platforms.
Third, reduce costs and increase performance using Business Productivity
- Microsoft Online Services relieves Technical and Business Decision
Makers from the burden of managing and maintaining business systems, freeing
IT departments to focus on initiatives that can deliver true competitive
- Reduce travel, meeting, real estate and facilities, and communications
costs, while leveraging a platform that fosters increased productivity through
collaboration with Microsoft Unified Communications Solutions.
Fourth, how do we drive competitive advantage and take out costs for BDMs?
With Microsoft Dynamics, which helps customers drive Sales, Marketing, Finance
and other core business activities at lower costs and higher productivity.
- From streamlining administrative procedures like invoicing to producing
needed financial reporting, or freeing up capital through better inventory
management, Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions automate and bring together
business-critical operations to produce maximum efficiency and productivity
and reduce costs.
- Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step offers rapid implementation projects
that can help streamline implementations and deliver a quick return on investment.
- Tight integration between Microsoft Dynamics and other familiar Microsoft
tools, such as Microsoft Office, drives seamless interactions with existing
applications and helps customers avoid significant ongoing costs.
- Now, more than ever, your customers need to recruit new and retain
existing customers with an incredible focus on satisfaction as well as real
precision with marketing automation. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides this
along with better methods to precisely track revenue to deliver top line
Last, here are two offerings to directly contribute to the bottom line
now and help drive customer decisions.
- Help qualified customers use Microsoft Financing in 15 markets to
finance 100 percent of their IT purchases, so they can refocus tight budgets
to grow their businesses. With credit markets tight, this is an especially
- Microsoft Software Assurance for Volume Licensing and the Forrester
ROI tool enable your customers to leverage maintenance benefits to get the
most from their software investments.
As you can see, this list, while detailed, represents only a fraction
of the ways that Microsoft can save your customers money in a time when every
dollar of the budget is critical and at the same time can help them drive
profitability by maximizing every business opportunity.
Professional Developers Conference Announcements
At PDC, we announced the availability of an early preview release of a new
technology called Windows Azure. Windows Azure will enable developers to build
applications that extend from the cloud to the enterprise datacenter and span
the PC, the Web and the mobile phone.
For the first time, we shared pre-beta code for Windows 7 and for Windows
Server 2008 R2. Windows 7, which is the next version of the Windows desktop
operating system, will take advantage of software and hardware advances to
help eliminate the boundaries between information, people and devices. We
also previewed Office Web applications, which are lightweight versions of
Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that are designed to be accessed through
a browser. Office Web applications will be part of the next version of Office
and will enable people to view, edit and share information and collaborate
on documents on the desktop, the phone and in a Web browser in a way that
is consistent and familiar.
Windows Azure is part of the Azure Services Platform, a comprehensive
set of storage, computing and networking infrastructure services that reside
in Microsoft's network of datacenters. Using the Azure Services Platform,
developers will be able to build applications that run in the cloud and extend
existing applications to take advantage of cloud-based capabilities. The Azure
Services Platform provides the foundation for business and consumer applications
that deliver a consistent way for people to store and share information easily
and securely in the cloud, and access it on any device from any location.
Windows Azure is not software that companies will run on their own servers.
It's something new: a service that runs in Microsoft's growing network of
datacenters and provides the platform that helps companies respond to the
realities of today's business environment, and tomorrow's. Windows Azure technologies
are already finding their way into products such as Windows Server 2008 and
System Center Virtual Machine Manager, enabling organizations and Microsoft
partners to create their own cloud infrastructure.
Windows Azure will enable organizations to respond to realities such as
the need to use the Web to provide customers with comprehensive information
and to interact with an audience that has the potential to expand exponentially
overnight; to integrate operations with partners -- and sometimes even competitors
-- to meet customer needs; to add new capabilities quickly to respond to new
opportunities; and to enable employees to work efficiently and effectively
no matter where they are. These realities apply not just to businesses, but
also to organizations of all kinds: schools, governments, community groups
What Can You Do to prepare to Take Advantage of the Azure Opportunity?
- Learn Azure Platform Services. To learn more visit the Microsoft Partner
Program Azure Services Platform site.
- Register for the Azure Services Platform Community Technology Preview.
- Download the Azure Services Platform SDKs.
- Learn more through tools such as Azure Services Platform Case Studies
and Azure Services Platform White Papers.
- Participate in the Azure Services Platform Community through methods
- Engagement in the Azure Services Platform Forums and
- Attendance of Azure Services Platform Events and Webcasts.
With Business Productivity Online Services available live in the U.S.
on Nov. 17 and rolled out internationally in the second half of the year,
What Can You Do to help your customers take advantage of the full range of
Software plus Services offerings?
- Continue to learn about Microsoft Online Services.
- Learn more by signing up at QuickStart for Microsoft Online Services.
- Sign up for the Business Productivity Online Services Beta at https://mocp.microsoftonline.com.
- Understand and Embrace the Software plus Services Transformation.
- Visit the Software plus Services 100-level training and learn more
about Software plus Services.
- Learn more with the Partner Evolution Guide. The tools and resources
available there, such as the Profitability Modeler will help you evolve
your business with services.
I think you will agree with me that we have the right products, at the
right value, with the right message to help serve customer needs in this time
of economic instability. Go out, have those conversations about cost and productivity,
and show how Microsoft Partners can give them the advantage. Learn about and
embrace the Software plus Services transformation, and pass the vision on
to your customers!
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Please send me an e-mail,
and let me know how you are helping customers save money and how Microsoft
can support your success. Together, we will continue to help our customers
reach their true potential.
Allison L. Watson
Corporate Vice President
Worldwide Partner Group