Microsoft Strengthens Partner Bonds

Microsoft Strengthens Partner Bonds 620 360 C-Suite Network

Microsoft on Monday announced several new offerings aimed at strengthening its position in the cloud marketplace, including Microsoft 365 Enterprise and 365 Business, at its Inspire partner conference in Washington, D.C.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is designed to empower employees of large organizations to be creative and work together securely.

Microsoft 365 Business, which targets small and medium businesses with up to 300 employees, includes a console for deploying and securing devices and users in one location.

“Traditionally, SMBs were stuck buying tailored small biz solutions that often didn’t fit terribly well,” observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Microsoft 365 should provide them better options and more seamless ways of buying and paying for those solutions,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Stacking Opportunities for Partners

Microsoft also announced the availability of Azure Stack, a hybrid cloud platform.

“Azure Stack is an extension of Azure that brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments and enables entirely new hybrid cloud scenarios,” noted Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s executive vice president for worldwide commercial business.

Microsoft has decided to invest US$250 million in the company’s co-sell program, which encourages its sales representatives to work with partners building solutions for Azure, and the new Channel Manager program dedicated to supporting partners’ go-to-market efforts.

“For channel partners that offer integration services, Azure Stack provides a solid foundation for building hybrid cloud environments and solutions,” Pund-IT’s King said. “If it works as advertised, Azure Stack should lead to significant new business opportunities for Microsoft partners.”

Azure Stack has minimal appeal as a direct sell to SMBs, but it can be valuable to partners selling into that market, suggested Jack Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates.

“For partners layering their services on top of Azure and white labeling it in the background, it could be a very big deal,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

In addition to being advantageous to partners, it could be a good move for Microsoft.

“The cost for Microsoft…