Welcome July 2018! The exciting time for Microsoft partners is here. It is for the first time that Microsoft Inspire and Microsoft Ready are being held in the same city Las Vegas and in the same week. This co-location is expected to create more opportunities than ever before for Microsoft partners.
According to Julie Golding, Microsoft Inspire Audience Owner, this year’s Microsoft Inspire will focus on three key elements innovation, partnership, and leadership.
Top 5 exciting announcements for Microsoft partners to strengthen their capabilities and accelerate success
To help partners innovate more, Microsoft announced new ways or tools, giving them the right capabilities to help them meet specific customer business challenges and boost their profitability. Acceleration in co-selling solutions between Microsoft partners and salesperson will be another key focus area of MS Inspire 2018 sessions, that are supposed to begin from July 15th.
Microsoft disclosed that co-selling program, first unveiled in Inspire 2017 conference has crossed $5 billion in partner sales till date, while they have provided Microsoft partners with 1 million + customer leads since Inspire 2017.
In its slide, Microsoft also told proudly of having 72,000 cloud partners worldwide, and reported that Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) revenue has increased to 234 % year over year.
Microsoft on Thursday unveiled a wide range of updates in its products and partner programs, spanning, Microsoft 365, Azure, Dynamics 365 and other business applications. We have rounded up Microsoft’s 5 major announcements ahead of Inspire 2018.
1. New marketplace capabilities and more flexible benefits
To fuel partners growth, Microsoft will make AppSource the first selling point with Microsoft and will develop new marketplace capabilities including integrated partner-to-partner solutions, private offers, and expanded consulting services.
“Each of these new capabilities provides partners new ways to get solutions in front of a bigger base of customers and to provide them with a better buying experience. There is no greater priority for us than connecting partners with customers.”- Gavriella Schuster Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft.
Microsoft announced to provide more flexible benefits and will focus on more such opportunities that will help partners go to market, faster. The company will expand core benefits that will include easy access to services which will help in lead generation, lead velocity improvement and in increasing close rates for app or service offerings.
Partners can choose benefit packages that aligns best with their business goal. Benefits packages includes Modern Workplace, Apps and Infrastructure, Artificial Intelligence, and Business Application.
2. New advanced specializations
Specialization is the cornerstone of Microsoft profitability guidance. With new advanced specializations, partners can create such business profiles which demonstrate their area of business expertise to their customers i.e. customers can easily know about their service or product delivery.
3. Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP)
Azure Expert Managed Service Program is a new initiative of Microsoft which enables support to Azure MSPs to help them drive revenue for themselves and their customers. “This new program will make easy for you to discover and engage highly-capable MSPs for your cloud projects and migrations” said Corey Sanders.
Corey Sanders, corporate vice president of Azure detailed the requirements for MSPs to join and remain in the program in his blog post, “Azure Expert MSPs complete a rigorous audit by an independent third party, and also provide multiple customer references of Azure managed services projects delivered over the last 12 months. Furthermore, to retain the badge, these expert partners need to continue to meet pre-requisites annually and complete a progress audit every year. As Azure evolves, so will the expectations of our Azure Expert MSPs. This framework is built so that you can trust that the MSPs who’ve earned the badge are continuously working to remain true Azure experts”.
4. New Azure innovations
For Azure, Microsoft will roll out several significant previews including Azure Virtual WAN and Azure Firewall. In his blog post, Jason Zander, the executive vice president of Microsoft Azure revealed that “Azure Virtual WAN is a networking service providing optimized and automated branch to branch connectivity that makes it easy to connect to and through Azure”. He wrote for Azure Firewall “Azure Firewall is a cloud native network security service that protects your Azure Virtual Network resources. It is a fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability.”
Other Azure services for preview includes introduction of Azure Data Box Disk which offers customers expanded options to migrate their data to Azure. “The Data Box Disk is an SSD-disk based option to move data, no matter where it resides, into Azure with ease. It’s especially well-suited for data transfer from multiple remote branches or offices. Customers can order up to five 8TB drives, totaling 40TB, for a recurring or one-time data migration” wrote Zander.
The general availability release section includes next-generation version of Azure SQL Data Warehouse which will enable 2x faster query performance from workloads.
5. Microsoft 365 innovations
- Availability of free version of Microsoft Teams which is available in 40 languages with support for up to 300 people. Its robust features include unlimited chat messages, search, built-in audio and video calling for individuals and groups, 10GB of team file storage, an additional personal storage of 2GB per person, and real-time content creation with Office Online apps and integration too, unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps.
- New intelligent capabilities to create AI powered live and on demand events in Microsoft 365.
- A new Workplace Analytics solution to build improved collaboration culture of work life balance and My Analytics powered nudges for delivering habit-changing tips in MS Outlook.
- General availability of Microsoft Whiteboard for Windows 10 which allows real time ideation, iteration, and collaboration both in person and remotely, across multiple devices.
Stay tuned for more updates.