Microsoft’s new Global Partner Solutions group shares the state of the ecosystem.

Jeffrey Schwartz

February 11, 2021

4 Min Read
Report Binder

Microsoft partners are taking in more than $18.5 billion in annual recurring revenue from the company’s co-sell program. That focus on co-selling will increase, among this year’s priorities outlined Wednesday by Microsoft’s new Global Partner Solutions (GPS) organization.

In its state of the Microsoft ecosystem report, the GPS group’s top executives provided program updates and outlined key opportunities. Besides co-sell, Microsoft emphasized its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, commercial marketplaces for ISVs and increased demand for hardware.

Microsoft formed GPS last year, bringing its commercial partners, ISVs, systems integrators, services and devices partners under one organization. Corporate VP Nick Parker leads GPS.


Microsoft’s Nick Parker

“We give our partners unique tech opportunities across the whole tech stack,” Parker said during a media briefing on Wednesday.

The Co-Sell with Microsoft program, in which the company and Microsoft partners offer solutions together, launched in 2017. In the last six months of 2020, Microsoft said that partners engaged in 166,000 co-sell opportunities.


Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster

“When it comes to the commercial marketplace and our co-sell initiatives, we’ve seen tremendous momentum,” said corporate VP for Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner program Gavriella Schuster, speaking on a conference call with media.

Microsoft is expanding co-sell program marketing for partners focused on SMB customers, according to Schuster.

“This is a huge growth opportunity for our partners,” she said.

Expanding Routes to Market

Schuster also noted that Microsoft is supporting its ISV partners with more digital marketing. Commercial partners have gained added exposure through Microsoft’s online marketplace efforts. There are now nearly 4 million active users each month in Microsoft’s AppSource and Azure Marketplace.

“We’ve shared more than 3 million leads with partners through the Marketplace so far in the last six months,” Schuster added.

The company has also rolled out its new commerce platform.

“This is our way to modernize the way partners and customers transact and contract with Microsoft,” she said. “We want to create a consistent and simplified purchase experience. It gives customers greater flexibility in how and where they buy.”

Ninety thousand Microsoft partners are using CSP to connect customers to the cloud with their own offerings, Schuster said. Last year, Microsoft added the Azure plan to CSP, which has simplified Azure purchasing and aligned features, she noted. The most recent addition to CSP came last month, with support for selling perpetual software licenses.

Microsoft is on pace to finalize the rollout of Partner Center this spring. Under development for several years, Partner Center is Microsoft’s effort to provide consolidated access to the company’s different partner services. It will include co-sell, CSP, commercial marketplaces, referral and Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) benefits.

Alyssa Fitzpatrick, GM of Microsoft’s worldwide partner co-sell program, shared an update on Partner Center with Channel Futures in December. Microsoft has also added two advanced specializations. One is the SMB Management advanced specialization and the other is Low Code Application Development.

“This means we now have advanced specializations across all five commercial solution areas — modern workplace, business applications, Azure (apps and infrastructure, and data and AI), security,” according to a post by Parker. “Advanced specializations provide an opportunity for partners to demonstrate their experience in specific technical scenarios and enable customers to identify the partners that best fit their needs.”

Schuster said one of the best opportunities for partners to expand their portfolios is to add managed services.

“Adding managed services, whether it’s around security, data management analytics or more, would be a great strategy for our partners in the month in the years ahead,” she said.

Among some other milestones outlined in Microsoft ecosystem report:

  • The growth of Microsoft Teams has created an ecosystem of more than 800 ISVs, 17 device partners and 1,000 systems integrators delivering Teams hardware and custom solutions.

  • Azure Stack HCI, along with new Azure Stack HCI integrated systems from Dell Technologies, HPE, Fujitsu, Lenovo and DataON, became available in December. ISVs including Altaro software, Commvault, Datadog, Veeam and Veritas now support Azure Stack HCI.

  • Microsoft continued to see growth in its most recently concluded quarter. Notably, Microsoft Commercial cloud revenue grew 34% year-over-year.

The first Microsoft industry clouds rolled out with the release of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Microsoft Cloud for Retail.

“We have seen an incredible new platform for ISVs to build on top of these two cloud offerings,” said Casey McGee, Microsoft’s VP for ISV solutions. “Both these and our services partners who recognize that the industry specialization, and industry priority scenarios represent a huge opportunity for growth.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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