In addition, Microsoft announced the Azure Machine Learning University, which offers online step-by-step instruction to help partners get started on working with Machine Learning. Azure Machine Learning will help partners build advanced analytic cloud services for their customers in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications. Other news announced today includes Office 365 for customer onboarding and Signature Cloud Support.
“One of the things that makes Azure unique is the breadth of the partners who are now integrating with it, and it's great to see both a lot of our longstanding partners on this slide, as well as partners you might not expect in the past, such as Oracle, Salesforce and Linux distributions,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, during the kickoff keynote at WPC. “The cloud provides an even bigger opportunity for all of us to partner together and deliver more value to our collective customers.”
To better help partners serve our mutual customers in the cloud, Microsoft announced it is integrating the cloud into the Microsoft Partner Network, with three new cloud-focused competencies based on performance for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, said Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, in a blog post.
The new competencies are: Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions, for partners selling Microsoft Office 365 to small and mid-market customers; Cloud Productivity, for partners deploying Microsoft Office 365 for enterprise customers; and Cloud Platform, for partners who specialize in delivering infrastructure, PaaS and SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure. Meanwhile, Microsoft will retire the Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment and Azure Circle programs and provide a path for partners to migrate to the new cloud competencies.
Also, to help partners transact Dynamics CRM Online will be coming to Open licensing later this fiscal year. Together with the evolution of the Dynamics partner program to emphasize readiness and training, the addition of Dynamics CRM Online to Open will make it easier to sell to SMBs – a huge market opportunity for our partners, Sorgen said.
“This comes on the heels of our announcement to offer Azure in Open, coming in August,” he said. “By offering all of our commercial cloud solutions in Open partners have a consistent and familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities to grow revenues and deepen customer relationships.”
In addition, Microsoft will help partners better reach and target small and midsized business prospects with a new marketing initiative called ModernBiz. With the goal to help partners more easily drive awareness and demand in the US and worldwide, ModernBiz focuses on business issues and cross-product solution scenarios tailored to the specific needs of SMBs.