Microsoft Office 365 for Government: Where Are Partners?

Microsoft Office 365 for Government: Where Are Partners?

When Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today introduced Microsoft Office 365 for Government, the software giant missed a huge opportunity to promote cloud partners, cloud integrators and channel partners in the government market. Instead, Microsoft told potential Office 365 for Government customers to "contact their Microsoft representative for details." Oops.

Here's the irony: Each time Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) introduces a Google Apps enhancement, the search giant specifically tells customers to contact Google Apps Authorized Resellers. Smart.

In contrast, here's where Microsoft dropped the ball. In a Microsoft blog post, Kirk Koenigbauer, corporate VP, Microsoft Office Division wrote:

"Office 365 for Government is a new multi-tenant service that stores US government data in a segregated community cloud. Like other Office 365 offerings, it includes productivity and collaboration services including Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online, and Office Professional Plus.  Customers can contact their Microsoft representative for details and to explore the service."

Time to Coordinate Messages

Memo to Koenigbauer: Microsoft Channel Chief Jon Roskill has been working overtime to assure channel partners there are plenty of Office 365 consulting and migration opportunities ahead. And in recent months, I've heard from Microsoft channel partners that are succeeding with Office 365 cloud projects.

Too bad the Office 365 for Government announcement overlooked those partner efforts. A simple link from the Office 365 for Government announcement to the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace (where partners are listed) would have done the job.

Google Gets It Right

Meanwhile, Google is doing a very good job promoting Google Apps Authorized Resellers every step of the way. When Google announced Drive, the cloud storage platform, partner opportunities were specifically mentioned. And each time Google announces a Google Apps government win, Google puts a specific channel partner directly in the spotlight.

Google Apps Authorized Resellers and cloud consulting firms like Daston, Onix Networking and Tempus Nova (among others) are becoming mainstream names in the government market. Those companies deserve credit for their government cloud wins. But they get additional publicity directly from Google, which constantly brags about channel partner success in the cloud government market.

It's time for Microsoft to brag about its Office 365 partners as well, especially in vertical markets.
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