Vendor programs of the past were designed to make it easier for channel partners to sell a set of solutions as one "package." While the intent of Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program shares that goal, this time partners have to complete the package on their own. The CSP requires a new mindset, where partners must clearly define the role they want to play in their customers' future.
For those partners used to a transactional rather than strategic relationship with their customers, the CSP program represents a transformational business model change. Microsoft's intent with the CSP program is to drive long-term consumption, which means promoting user adoption and expanding workload footprint. Those partners wishing to gain the attention of Microsoft need to develop their CSP offerings with those objectives in mind. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on November 11, 2015 at 10:45 AM0 comments
As the floodgates open and massive amounts of data move to Office 365, the nature of e-mail migrations has changed forever. Instead of being the primary force of migration projects, e-mail has become just a small piece of the migration opportunity. The cloud, and specifically Office 365, is driving a fundamental shift from data-centric to user-centric migrations.
Historically, e-mail archive projects involved migrating one on-premises legacy archive to a more efficient, space-saving archive solution. In the early 2000s, growth of archiving took off as compliance requirements meant that more data had to be retained along with the e-mail. The high cost of storage created a strong market for efficient archiving. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 30, 2015 at 1:46 PM0 comments
For technology providers, the cloud is changing the nature of service delivery. Office 365 removes the application and infrastructure limitations, allowing customers and partners to focus on business outcomes instead of technology features.
To deliver services in the cloud era, partners are taking a user-centered approach to business analysis supported by a commitment to continuous learning. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on August 27, 2015 at 8:25 AM0 comments
Taking an important step beyond anecdotal evidence, Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) has created several cloud profitability tools based on substantive partner research. An overdue investment in empirical research, the Microsoft Cloud Profitability Scenarios and Financial Models provide insight into the real world of partner experiences with cloud business models.
The Microsoft Cloud Profitability Scenarios project is an outgrowth of partner interest in the Microsoft-sponsored IDC research released last year in the "Successful Cloud Partners 2.0" e-book. Jen Sieger, senior business strategy analyst for WPG, said, "Last year's IDC e-book had a lot of good insights on the business models but partners wanted to know how they could pursue those models with Microsoft." More
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 30, 2015 at 10:42 AM0 comments
The cloud is removing barriers and allowing ISVs across the globe to enter new markets. But success in unfamiliar markets requires much more than just access. Careful planning from the beginning and consistent execution can save you from cultural missteps and costly mistakes.
With the cloud as an international platform, ISVs should consider internationalization from the start, recommends Bart van der Horst, partner and managing director for iChannel, a strategy consulting firm that helps technology companies expand into new markets. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 08, 2015 at 1:35 PM0 comments
With a new brand presence, Skype for Business simplifies the unified communications message for partners. Promising much more than just a name change, Microsoft's Skype for Business team wants the Office 365 suite to be at the center of all business conversations -- written, audio and video.
For some advice on how partners can take advantage of the growing opportunity led by Skype for Business, we looked to Enabling Technologies, Microsoft's 2015 (and 2009, 2010, 2012) Communications Partner of the Year. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on June 24, 2015 at 4:57 PM0 comments
There is no doubt that data analytics is coming of age, turning the wealth of data that we are collecting into meaningful input that guides the direction of business. Though it's still early for mainstream data analytics adoption, this is the time to understand and build on the opportunity.
The low cost and high availability of computing power have brought machine learning to the masses. Microsoft Azure Machine Learning opens the door for any business and every partner to experiment and test without a big investment. Combine that with the increasing availability of public domain and commercial datasets, and you have the ingredients to support predictive analytics projects. The challenge so far, though, has been how to convince clients to take on those projects when the end game is unclear. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 20, 2015 at 9:48 AM0 comments
When you leave a Microsoft event like Ignite, Convergence or the Worldwide Partner Conference, the flame is definitely lit. You feel invigorated and ready to take your business to new heights.
You may also feel a teensy bit guilty. Yes, it's four days of intense learning -- sessions, the Expo, meetings with Microsoft, more sessions -- but it's also a ton of fun. With a little planning before you leave, you can share the wealth of knowledge and maybe even ignite some fun for your own team. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 07, 2015 at 7:33 AM0 comments
As Microsoft continues to encourage partners to widen the suite of applications that they support, Dynamics CRM, as part of Office 365, is an obvious choice.
Last week, we followed the journey of Microsoft national solution provider RBA as it added Dynamics CRM services to its portfolio in response to changing spending habits of customers. A critical adjustment that took RBA multiple years to complete was aligning the right roles and people, in both sales and delivery, to achieve the full potential of the practice. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on April 22, 2015 at 4:10 PM0 comments
Changes in IT spending, cloud technology and the growing importance of digital customer engagement are all factors prompting system integrators (SIs) to add customer relationship management (CRM) to their service portfolios. For many partners, the obvious choice is Microsoft Dynamics CRM, with its easy availability through Office 365.
What does it take to build a CRM practice? One partner shares its journey, three years in, as Dynamics CRM takes its place in the company's next generation of services. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on April 16, 2015 at 11:35 AM0 comments
In January, the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) inducted a new board of directors that is putting plans in place to take the organization to a new level.
With 80 regional chapters around the world and a rapidly growing number of Women in Technology (WIT) communities, the IAMCP already has an established presence in the channel. The current board has committed to providing relevant education and enablement initiatives that support all Microsoft partners, with special emphasis on representing and adding value to the unmanaged partner community. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on March 11, 2015 at 11:24 AM0 comments
Businesses are coming to the realization that they have to put data to work to stay ahead of the game. Whether that means improving product performance, expanding services with preventive maintenance or predicting what products consumers are likely to purchase, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning (ML) turn data into action. Microsoft and others are making a convincing case that partners of all sizes and competencies are in the right place and the right time to build on the market potential.
There are a growing number of resources that bring the concepts of IoT and ML down a notch, into the practical, real-world business situations that most partners help clients manage. The center of the resource universe is Microsoft's Azure Machine Learning site that provides easy-to-use tools that allow non-developers to build powerful predictive analytics models. Documentation is approachable and the free trial makes it testable without a big investment. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on February 25, 2015 at 1:45 PM0 comments