Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson: Cloud Moves for VARs

Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson, in a FastChat Video with The VAR Guy, explains how VARs and managed services providers can potentially profit from Microsoft's cloud offerings. But that's not all...

The VAR Guy

March 10, 2010

Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson

Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson

Microsoft Channel Chief Allison Watson, in a FastChat Video with The VAR Guy, explains how VARs and managed services providers can potentially profit from Microsoft’s cloud offerings. But that’s not all…

…The video conversation with Watson covers a range of topics — including competition with Google, potential opportunities involving Windows Azure, Business Productivity Online Suite and Office 2010, and potential SaaS pricing concerns among VARs.

Understanding the Basics

In part I, Watson provides a general overview of cloud opportunities for channel partners, plus the competitive landscape vs. Google and other SaaS players:

The video above includes:

  • 0:00: Introduction

  • 0:15: Microsoft’s transformation from Software+Services to Cloud and On-premises

  • 0:59: What are the cloud opportunities for Microsoft’s partners?

  • 1:05: Early BPOS and Azure momentum

  • 1:30: An example of partner success – how a partner blended on premises and cloud solutions

  • 2:15: Customer testing and momentum on BPOS

  • 2:30: Competing against Google and others on SaaS

  • 3:20: A rundown of Microsoft’s cloud moves

  • 3:53: Where to find more information

  • 4:19: Conclusion

Getting Started — And Pricing Considerations

In part II, Watson zeroes in on how VARs can get started with Microsoft’s cloud platforms. Plus, Watson answers questions about SaaS pricing, and the potential implications for channel partners:

The video above includes:

  • 0:00: Introduction

  • 0:05: How VARs should plan their first cloud moves

  • 0:27: Where BPOS fits in

  • 0:40: Where Office 2010 fits in

  • 0:55: First steps with Windows Azure

  • 1:30: Aggressive SaaS pricing: Can VARs profit?

  • 3:37: Where to find more information

  • 4:03: Conclusion

Remaining Questions

Watson’s cloud statements, and her webcast to partners earlier today, arrive less than a week after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the company had an “all in” cloud strategy.

The VAR Guy sees multiple opportunities — and challenges — for Microsoft and its partners in the cloud.

On the upside, Windows Azure seems like a natural platform for existing Windows Server ISVs. Already, scores of closed source and open source partners have ported their applications over to Azure. And The VAR Guy will be watching for more news about live customer deployments.

The story with Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) is somewhat different. No doubt, enterprise customers are interested in BPOS. But are channel partners really interested in BPOS? That depends on whom you ask. Microsoft says more than 7,000 partners have signed on to resell BPOS. Some, like Dyntek, see opportunities ahead. But The VAR Guy hears from plenty of partners who are concerned about…

  1. BPOS Pricing: Is there really enough margin for VARs and MSPs, especially amid Microsoft’s own BPOS price cuts from November 2009.

  2. Invoicing and Branding: Some VARs don’t want to hand over customer invoicing responsibilities to Microsoft’s BPOS team.

  3. Timeliness: Ironically, some of Microsoft’s hosting partners continue to beat Microsoft to market with key products. A key example: Intermedia introduced hosted Exchange 2010 in November 2009, around the time that Microsoft introduced on-premises Exchange 2010. As of this writing, The VAR Guy believes Microsoft is still working to introduce Exchange 2010 as part of the company’s own BPOS platform.

The VAR Guy will be attending Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July 2010, seeking more views on the issues above.

Follow The VAR Guy via his Newsletter; Webcasts and Resource Center; and via RSS; Facebook;; Twitter and VARtweet.

Read more about:

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like