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Gartner to Office 365 Partners: Go Vertical and Enhance Teams, Graph, Cortana and Power BI

Microsoft recently posted the full text of a lengthy report on Office 365 by independent analysts at Gartner. In it, Gartner's Craig Roth, Joe Mariano, Michael Woodbridge and Steve Crawford analyze Office 365 for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

The whole report is worth reading for a lot of insights on the technology, market forces and usage trends. Of special note to the Microsoft channel are the lengthy sections on the Office 365 partner and ISV ecosystems. After leveling criticism at Microsoft's previous approaches, including direct sales under the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and the syndication program, Gartner repeatedly lauds Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) approach as a solid strategy and notes that 20,000 partners have signed up as CSPs. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 25, 2017 at 12:25 PM0 comments

Microsoft Launches Partner Program To Protect Utilities

As evidence mounts that attackers are probing critical infrastructure worldwide, Microsoft is spinning up a new partner program for securing utility customers' operations through modernization.

Larry Cochrane, Azure Principal Program Manager, Energy, unveiled the Azure Certified Elite Partner Program for Cyber Analytics in Power and Utilities this month in a Microsoft blog. That post cited a flurry of recent attacks affecting the utilities industry, including devastating take-downs of the power grid in Ukraine, the WannaCry ransomware and a recent targeting of U.S. power firms, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 24, 2017 at 4:58 PM0 comments

Nachtrab Named CEO at eFolder

Five months after joining eFolder as chief strategy officer, LabTech founder Matt Nachtrab is now the MSP-focused company's CEO.

Kevin Hoffman, who has been CEO/CTO of eFolder for 10 years, is changing his title at the Denver-based private company to founder and CTO. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 21, 2017 at 8:58 AM0 comments

Dun & Bradstreet Coming to Dynamics 365

A new partnership will make Dun & Bradstreet's rich business data available in Microsoft Dynamics 365 sometime later this year.

The deal could create the potential for Microsoft partners to offer more actionable business information in Dynamics 365 solutions for customers. It could also present the opportunity for partners to use the data themselves to develop new business. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 20, 2017 at 11:56 AM0 comments

Watson To Run the Microsoft U.S. SMC Business

A big part of the major sales and marketing reorganization at Microsoft earlier this month involved splitting the business into an enterprise operating unit (EOU) and a small medium and corporate (SMC) customers unit.

For years there was an Enterprise & Partner Group (EPG) and a Small and Midsize Solutions & Partners (SMS&P) organization. Broadly speaking, enterprise customers were handled through EPG, while corporate account managed (CAM), corporate territory managed (CTM) and SMB & Distribution (SMB&D) customers went through SMS&P. Now enterprise and CAM accounts are being moved up into the vertically organized EOU, and the rest are heading into SMC. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 19, 2017 at 2:56 PM0 comments

Microsoft Inspire 2017: The Twitter Recap

  • Complete Microsoft Inspire 2017 coverage here.

RCP Editor in Chief Scott Bekker upheld his yearly tradition this week of live-Tweeting his way through Microsoft's annual partner conference. Here are the highlights from this year's keynotes:

Presiding over the kickoff presentation was Ron Huddleston, head of Microsoft's One Commercial Partner business, which was created just this year. Huddleston shared Microsoft's vision for the new unit. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 14, 2017 at 6:29 AM0 comments

Partner-Facing Roles Shuffled in Microsoft Reorg

The leadership of the six-month-old One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization at Microsoft got a minor shuffle when the company's entire sales and marketing organization underwent major upheavals at the beginning of July.

Some of the biggest changes to Microsoft's global partner organization took effect well before the recent reorg. In January of this year, Executive Vice President of the Worldwide Commercial Business Judson Althoff named Ron Huddleston corporate vice president of a new OCP organization that at the time folded in the Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) run by Gavriella Schuster, the Enterprise Partner team led by Victor Morales and the ISV Partner Business Evangelist/Go-To-Market team led by Kim Akers. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 14, 2017 at 2:55 PM0 comments

AgileThought Wins 2017 RCP Rocket Award

AgileThought, a Tampa, Fla.-based custom software solution and development consulting specialist, is the 2017 winner of the RCP Rocket Award.

The RCP Rocket Award is a joint award of Redmond Channel Partner magazine and Revenue Rocket Consulting Group to recognize IT services companies with unique business strategies that are resulting in sustained growth. This is the fifth year for the RCP Rocket Award. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 13, 2017 at 10:43 AM0 comments

Tech Data Makes Play for Old Small Business Server Niche

  • Complete Microsoft Inspire 2017 coverage here.

There are few products remembered as fondly by as many Microsoft partners as Windows Small Business Server (SBS).

A foundational product consisting of Windows Server, Exchange Server and a rotating cast of supporting server products such as SQL Server, SharePoint Server and various specialized components, SBS spurred and supported an entire ecosystem of small partners serving small business customers. The product represents a moment in tech when infrastructure for even the smallest companies was primarily kept on-premises, and when small shops of technically oriented partners found a thriving market for their skills. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 13, 2017 at 10:12 AM0 comments

Layoffs Under Way at Microsoft

The other shoe is dropping in the major sales and marketing reorganization that Microsoft began implementing earlier this week: The company started notifying employees of massive layoffs on Thursday.

Layoffs numbering in the thousands had been rumored and widely reported over the last few weeks, but leaked versions of companywide memos about the restructuring on Monday made no mention of layoffs. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 06, 2017 at 12:20 PM0 comments

DXC Technology Buys Tribridge

DXC Technology, the IT services giant formed by the April merger of CSC with HPE's services arm, bought one of Microsoft's biggest Dynamics partners, Tribridge, on Wednesday in a move to strengthen the DXC Dynamics 365 business.

Terms of Tyson's Corner, Va.-based DXC's first acquisition were not disclosed. The deal included Concerto Cloud Services, a Tribridge-affiliated company that provides advisory and managed services to the mid-market. DXC will rebrand the companies as Tribridge, a DXC Technology Company, and DXC Concerto. More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 05, 2017 at 12:51 PM0 comments

Microsoft's Pre-Inspire Reorg Raises 7 Big Questions for Partners

Many of Microsoft's most committed partners will be mostly stumbling in the dark on the basic facts of the company's massive sales and marketing reorganization as they arrive next week at Inspire, the Microsoft partner conference where they're supposed to get their marching orders and work out concrete business plans for a fiscal year that started July 1.

RCP asked Microsoft for a number of partner-related clarifications about the reorganization, but got only the canned response of the week from a Microsoft spokesperson: "Microsoft is implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners." More

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 05, 2017 at 12:41 PM0 comments