Microsoft's latest SaaS and cloud move involves targeted promotions into influential channel organizations. One prime example: Microsoft is promoting BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) -- including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online -- into HTG Peer Groups, which includes dozens of MSPs and VARs. Here are the details.
According to an April 2 e-newsletter from HTG Founder Arlin Sorensen (pictured) to HTG Peer Group members:
"We have worked closely with Microsoft to create some opportunities for HTG partners around their cloud computing platform -- BPOS. With that in mind, they are offering a pilot program to a few lucky HTG members. This two-pronged pilot, focusing on testing messaging pillars thru webcasts and email campaign, allows Microsoft to make a significant investment in BPOS via thru-partner marketing with the intention of increasing end-user uptake in H2 FY10."But this isn't purely about Microsoft winning business. Microsoft also hopes to "gain valuable insight into why customers are choosing either BPOS, another Microsoft solution, or an alternate solution, and work towards realizing what it will take to gain U.S. market share," Sorensen wrote.
Keeping ScoreNo doubt, BPOS has been a lightning rod of sorts for Microsoft's channel partners. On the one hand, some channel partners see BPOS -- which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Office Communications Online -- as an easy doorway into SaaS and cloud services, and recurring revenue. Plus, Microsoft has been enhancing its sales support efforts to BPOS partners.
But on the other hand, some partners see BPOS as a low-cost, commodity platform that will further squeeze partner margins and also threaten customer account control.
Eager to mitigate such concerns and accelerate Microsoft's "All In" cloud strategy, Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson in March 2010 called on more VARs and MSPs to give BPOS a try. HTG Peer Group members seem ready to answer that call.
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