Microsoft WPC this year was held in Orlando, Florida, the home of Disney World. As with all WPCs, it was hot!
The key takeaway from the keynotes and the conference in general was that consumption and active usage of the cloud is a key metric for microsoft.
In the past Microsoft has focused on winning cloud business. Office 365 & Azure consumption was a secondary measure, but now it is a number one priority for Microsoft. But the question is what does consumption and active usage really mean for Microsoft partners and what is the upside for partners who support Office 365? These questions require more understanding of how Microsoft are going to measure consumption (see interesting link ‘Microsoft Expanding In-House Cloud Deployments’).
First up, life is now about more than just email. Exchange online from my point of view has been the most successful workload to move to Office 365. It just works and people don’t really have to do a lot of things differently, therefore the barrier to entry has been pretty low. It has been more about companies deciding to move.
A lot of Microsoft partners have skilled up on email migrations, and that’s great, but now to be successful in the eyes of Microsoft (from a consumption standpoint) partners need to light up other solutions in Office 365 like SharePoint, Skype for Business, Yammer, Office Pro Plus & or One Drive for Business.
But…. Here comes the problem, SharePoint Online as an example seems to have been slow for companies to adopt and I don’t feel this is an Office 365 problem but more of a SharePoint problem. Simply put SharePoint is not easy for your average mortal to get their head around and in a lot of companies SharePoint is a bad word – certainly in SMB where there are a lot of Office 365 customers. And that is part of the reason The Full Suite exists and is winning new customers everyday.
My take on how Microsoft will drive this change is that they will use money and structured programmes. For example, POR (partner of record) payments may well be linked to individual workloads and their respective usage. If you only get a customer using Exchange online as part of the customers E3 licence, your POR payment will be limited to the exchange portion. This may motivate partners to push customers to use SharePoint online or things like Yammer. Microsoft is also rolling out the new CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) programme more broadly. CSP is very well suited to adding value to office 365 as it allows partners to bundle solutions into a single monthly bill. So a customer could purchase Office 365 E3 + SuiteFiles + EMS(Enterprise Mobility Suite) and get one bill per month per seat. This approach allows partners to decide what is the best solution for their respective customers. Also as an FYI mail migration could be free for some office 365 customers.
Cortana Analytics is interesting in that it demonstrates that as Microsoft builds out Azure as a cloud platform, Microsoft is leveraging its own cloud power house to deliver new offerings. Cortana Analytics is all about big data processing and getting insights out of it. Without the scale of the cloud this would be pretty hard and expensive. It feels like Microsoft are getting a lot better at commercializing their technology by-product and I think this is great! The Azure service fabric feels like another technology by-product.
- Consumption is King and partners can be a key part of this transformation.
- The CSP programme is going to become a key way for MS Partners to sell and support Office 365.
- Microsoft are innovating in the cloud first.
In a nutsell, get out there and get people to use what they are already paying for!
What do you think?
Tell us your personal highlights from WPC 2015 in the comments below.
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