The cloud sets the road map for Microsoft investments in its channel partner community.

Lynn Haber

July 11, 2019

5 Min Read
Cloud computing

Just ahead of Microsoft Inspire, the vendor’s big annual global partner conference, Microsoft on Thursday announced new investments in technologies – such as Teams, Dynamics 365 and Azure – and programs – such as the Azure Mitigation program – as well as new advanced specializations and new marketplace enablement to help its community of partners grow their businesses. 

The rollout of new investments comes at a unique financial time for Microsoft, since its market capitalization shot past the $1 trillion mark, surpassing both Apple and Amazon. It also comes at a time when the traditional engagement with customers has changed because of the profound impact the cloud has had on everything. 


Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster

“The cloud collapses the traditional supply chain. The initial engagement with a customer doesn’t start with a transaction; it starts with a trial or building on something [the customer] already has — and you’ve got to be persistent and engaged in everything that they’re doing,” Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner Organization, said in a media briefing. “So, in the lines of what we’re delivering is really blurry – what is the platform, what are the different solutions, what’s the managed service on top of that – and we all play in that space together and deliver that together.” 

As partners figure out their value proposition in this transitioning market, Microsoft makes investments in its partners based on their requests and the company’s vision

As a benchmark for how Microsoft direct and indirect sales teams are growing business together, the vendor’s co-sell program, introduced 2 years ago, has generated $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue, Schuster said. Additionally, IP co-sell deals are six times bigger, are closing about three times faster, and Azure consumption is eight times higher. And, Microsoft’s Modern Workplace saw a 30-to-40-point uplift on products when partners are engaged. Seventy percent of all Microsoft opportunity-attach is partner-driven and 95% of Microsoft revenue is through partners. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of Microsoft’s new product and program announcements and how it’s investing the billions of dollars it spends annually on partners.

  • The company’s investment in Microsoft Teams extensions includes new partner integrations that include support for contact centers, compliance recording and cloud solution providers.

  • Microsoft announced the next version of the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator and two new integrations for Dynamics 365 that address the automotive and financial services industries.

  • Microsoft’s Business Applications ISV Connect program now is generally available, and offers new development tools and guidance, marketplace resources, joint field engagement processes and go-to-market support. The new  program is launching to speed time to market for ISVs and simplify publishing their solutions to both AppSource and Azure Marketplace. Microsoft is offering ISVs new pre-packaged elements such as APIs, business logic, entities and workflows for Dynamics 365, and PowerApps so they can connect line-of-business applications to core business data and not have to build new integration points. 

  • Microsoft also introduced Azure Lighthouse, which gives service provider partners a single control plane to view and manage Azure at scale across all their Azure customers. Azure Lighthouse capabilities allow for cross-tenant management of customer estates with greater visibility and control. This creates an opportunity for partners to service more customers, larger workloads and many mission critical applications with precision. Azure Lighthouse works consistently across Azure services and licensing models to help streamline managed service operations and protect management IP. 

  • Also new is the Azure Migration Program (AMP), designed to help customers accelerate their migration to Azure. The program offers proactive advice and tools that are designed to mitigate risks and address common issues associated with migrating workloads to the cloud. 

With the success of Microsoft’s co-sell program, the company is making a number of investments to …

… power that opportunity. 

  • The new Microsoft security competency for partners aims to deliver security-related services on Azure and Microsoft 365. Expect to see Microsoft introduce a number of advanced specializations – including Teams – in the near future.

  • Microsoft is rolling out five advanced specializations: Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Azure; Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Azure; Data Warehouse Migration to Azure; Modernization of Web Applications in Azure; and Kubernetes on Azure.

  • The advancements in Microsoft marketplace are: additional pricing models, including monthly and annual SaaS billing; flexible, custom metered billing options; standard contracts; and free SaaS trials that convert to paid engagements. A rewards program and new route to market are rolling out in July for companies that publish transactable SaaS software and services built on one or more of Microsoft’s clouds – Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 Power Platform and Azure – through the vendor’s expanded commercial marketplace. These partners will have access to new tools and a single onboarding process to help them publish transactable offers into Microsoft Appsource and Azure Marketplace.  

Microsoft also announced that the Microsoft Edge Dev Channel is ready for enterprises to trial and pilot. For companies considering Microsoft Edge, currently in pre-release, they can now begin to validate within the enterprise and evaluate Microsoft Edge features.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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