Microsoft's BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) team is bolstering its SaaS training options for channel partners. The effort includes learning tools, delivery support and technical support options for VARs and managed services providers. Here's a look.
First, a little background: BPOS essentially is Microsoft's SaaS (software as a service) application suite. It features Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Office Communications Online, among other offerings.
Some solutions providers see BPOS as a quick way into the recurring revenue market, while other partners think BPOS could potentially threaten their customer engagements.
Key StepsPartners that want to embrace BPOS have several key support and training options. According to the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team blog, there are three packages of recommended training for BPOS with a technical focus. They are:
- BPOS Standard Suite Technical Training
- BPOS Migration and Onboarding Deep Dive
- BPOS Administration and Deployment
Choose Your PathNo doubt, some partners worry about Microsoft's dual SaaS strategy -- which involves selling online applications directly and indirectly to customers.
Frankly, I don't think Microsoft has a choice in the matter. Fast-growing SaaS providers such as Salesforce.com and NetSuite have proven that direct SaaS engagements can be popular with customers. Our our SaaS 20 Stock Index, which tracks vendors that mostly sell directly to customers, was up 65 percent in 2009.
Meanwhile, Microsoft must increasingly compete with Google Apps, the Zoho-ManageEngine combo, hosted Exchange providers like Intermedia, and other SaaS application providers that are lining up channel partners. All of that competition prompted Microsoft to cut SaaS pricing in November 2009.
Fast forward to the present, and Microsoft is reminding channel partners that the software giant continues to deliver new education programs to accelerate SaaS sales.