Microsoft Brings Partners Further Into Its Cloud Fold

Microsoft announced a series of new and enhanced cloud programs and solutions for partners at it Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

Cloud off ramp

WASHINGTON – Microsoft kicked off its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2014 with an invitation to partners to leverage the new cloud solutions and programs that Microsoft continues to turn out as it transitions into a mobile-first, cloud-first company.

With more than 16,000 in attendance at the event here, Microsoft announced it is making significant new investments in its channel ecosystem, including a new Cloud Solution Provider program as well as other cloud-related offerings.

The Cloud Solution Provider Program enables partners to engage at every part of the customer lifecycle. Indeed, Microsoft said partners will serve as the main point of contact for all customer needs, including billing, provisioning, support and the ability to sell their own tools, products and services with every Office 365 subscription. This new program provides partners with increased opportunities and ensures that customers can rely on their dedicated strategic partner to get the most out of Office 365, Windows InTune and eventually other Microsoft cloud solutions.

Microsoft also announced that it has added Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to its Microsoft Open Licensing Programs. This means that small business and mid-market customers will be able to gain access to the full suite of Microsoft Online Services in a way that fits their current engagement with their partner or service provider. This represents a major opportunity for Microsoft distributors and resellers who will be able to transact Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to their existing and new customers through the licensing model they are used to. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing will be available later this fiscal year, the company said.

Moreover, Microsoft Azure will be available via the Open Licensing program beginning on August 1, making it easier for partners to build a profitable cloud business. This provides partners with a familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities to grow revenues and deepen customer relationships.

Microsoft also announced a new Azure Certified logo certification program that will empower Microsoft partners to grow their business through new opportunities to promote and sell their applications and services on Azure. The program includes co-marketing assistance, a listing on the Azure website and access to the Azure customer base via placement in the Azure Management Portal.

The program begins as Microsoft Azure Certified for Virtual Machines, with partner applications offered in virtual machines that are deployable from the Azure Management Portal. Early program members include Azul Systems, Barracuda, Bitrock, Oracle, Riverbed Technologies and SAP.