Microsoft’s Schuster Touts Azure Growth, AI Opps in ‘State of the Channel’
Whether you’re a traditional Microsoft partner, new or existing ISV, or new customer partner type, a modern partnership with the software giant includes cloud, IP, AI, and co-sell. That’s the message that rose to the top in Tuesday’s Microsoft State of the Channel Modern Partnership briefing.
Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner (OCP) at Microsoft, focused on three things: what partnership means to Microsoft today; how the hundreds of thousands of Microsoft partners connect with customers through the company’s marketplaces — both Azure and AppSource; and how partners are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) through Microsoft technologies to change the world.
“What this is about is driving success for everyone through partnership,” she said, pointing out that the OCP was built to create pathways for success through partnership. Microsoft’s channel chief also said that more than 7,500 partners are joining Microsoft’s partner ecosystem each month.
She noted how Microsoft modernized its approach to partnering, transforming from a transactional model to a partnership model, where partners add value, or build on top of Microsoft products. If traditional Microsoft partners haven’t been paying attention, the vendor’s pool of partners is changing and includes, in addition to traditional partners, startups, ISVs, MSPs, SIs and customers.
Customers are a growing partner type in the industry, and also an evolving piece of Microsoft’s partnerships.
“It’s something we didn’t expect ,but what we’re seeing more and more is our customers becoming partners — and they’re understanding the benefits of building solutions together with us and co-selling with Microsoft,” said Schuster.
Take Kroger, for example, which is reimaging how customers buy groceries and how it manages its facilities.
Kroger has a retail-as-a-service product — cloud enabled shelves with Bluetooth that interacts with a shopping list on a customer’s smartphone to help find items in the store. The solution includes connected sensors beaming real-time shopper and inventory data to the cloud. IoT sensors also track the temperature of refrigerators and freezers and send alerts when problems arise.
Schuster confirmed that 95 percent of the company’s commercial revenue is driven by partners. Citing second-quarter commercial cloud revenue of $32 billion, which represents a 48 percent year-over-year jump, 95 percent is generated through Microsoft partners.
She also noted that partner growth is happening in a big way via the Microsoft co-sell program, launched a year-and-a-half ago. Recent figures show that the program generated more than $8 billion in partner sales revenue since inception. The co-sell approach includes one partner, one field seller and one customer at a time.
For partners, IP co-sell deals close three times faster, projects are six times larger, and Azure consumption is six times higher.
“This year [so far] we’ve seen almost 9,000 wins and 78,000 joint deals in our pipeline,” said Schuster, who contrasted that to one year ago — 11,000 wins and 100,000 deals for the entire 12 months.
Partners transacting through the Cloud Provider Solution (CPS) program grew 31 percent in the last year, serving more than …