Microsoft Windows Intune Partner Push Accelerates

Microsoft Windows Intune Partner Push Accelerates

When Microsoft Windows Intune receives a major cloud refresh on October 17, Microsoft will back the PC management service with a major partner push. To wit, Microsoft has been evangelizing a Windows Intune partner onboarding and sales reference guide in recent weeks. But will managed services providers plug in?

On the one hand, the guide isn't new -- it's been around since March 2011. But on the other hand, Microsoft has been dusting off the guide as Windows Intune nears its October 17 refresh, partners say. The guide positions Windows Intune, a cloud-based service, for seven potential use cases:

  1. Protect PCs from malware
  2. Manage updates
  3. Proactively manage PCs, particularly in small businesses with 250 or fewer PCs
  4. Provide remote assistance
  5. Inventory hardware and software
  6. Set security policies
  7. Enable a mobile workforce, allowing users and IT partners to work anywhere
Two big caveats: Windows Intune costs $11 per user per month, and it only manages Windows devices.

Partner Opportunities

But what are the potential partner and MSP models for Windows Intune? Microsoft's reference guide covers three areas:
  1. Grow Revenue: Through setup and deployment services, managed services, partner of record revenues, greaters sales opportunities, and upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Reality check from MSPmentor: The partner of record capability does not allow partners to control end-user billing and pricing.
  2. Expand Reach: By removing geographic barriers, leveraging a monthly subscription, and managing customers with existing resources. Reality Check From MSPmentor: At $11 per user per month, some partners think Intune is expensive. Prices drop to $9.68 per user if MSPs push beyond 15,000 managed PCs, according to Microsoft's documentation.
  3. Accelerate Sales: Because Windows Intune has no up-front costs and no infrastructure requirements.

Getting Started

To get started with Windows Intune, Microsoft's reference guide says resellers should follow six steps:
  1. Watching a partner online services training course.
  2. Signing the Microsoft Online Services Partner Agreement (MOSPA).
  3. Taking the Microsoft Online Services Partner Assessment.
  4. Submit Partner Documentation based on regional requirements.
  5. Extend your capabilities and offerings via Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate
  6. Advertise your services ob the Microsoft Partner Network

Limited Buzz?

The new Windows Intune debuts in less than two weeks. I've heard from a few MSPs that have been beta testing the service. But for the most part, buzz about Windows Intune remains fairly subdued, perhaps because (A) most MSPs already have a cross-platform management tool in place and (B) Windows Intune's monthly subscription fee might be a bit high even for Windows-centric MSPs and resellers.

MSPmentor will be watching to see if Microsoft updates the Windows Intune reference guide in time for the October 17 launch.
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