Microsoft senior exec Phil Sorgen has announced new cloud services at the company's 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington.
The corporate VP of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Group revealed that Microsoft is integrating the cloud into the Microsoft Partner Network, with three new cloud-focused offerings based on performance for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.
These include Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions for partners selling Microsoft Office 365 to small and medium sized businesses, Cloud Productivity for partners deploying Microsoft Office 365 to enterprise customers, and Cloud Platform for its partners who specialise in delivering infrastructure, PaaS and SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft will retire the Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment and Azure Circle programs and allow partners to migrate to the new cloud offerings. Azure Machine Learning University has been set up to help Microsoft partners get to grips with its cloud services.
It says it's making changes to 'make it easier for partners to invest more in their business'. For example, it is waiving the first-year fee for Silver cloud competencies, and enhancing internal use rights for Office 365 and Azure. See more details in this Microsoft blog.
Additionally, a new Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider program will allow partners "to own 100 per cent of the customer lifecycle", with partners serving as the only contact for all customer needs, including billing, provisioning, support and the ability to sell their own tools, products and services.
The program starts with Office 365 and Windows Intune, and will eventually cover all Microsoft cloud services.
Furthermore, to help partners transact Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to their existing and new customers through the licensing model they are used to, Microsoft will bring Dynamics CRM Online to Open later this fiscal year. This, Microsoft says, will make it easier to sell to SMBs.
The news comes after Microsoft announced it will offer Azure in Open in August. It says an average of more than 1,000 customers are signing up to Azure every day.
Microsoft also announced the Azure Certified program - a new 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 company also promised to make it easier for its partners to target SMBs with a new marketing initiative called ModernBiz, and is making it easier for firms to license and manage Microsoft products and online services through the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA).
"Today's announcements take steps to make it more valuable, less expensive and easier for partners to do business with Microsoft and together we have a unique opportunity to help customers embrace the mobile-first, cloud first world with a differentiated vision for the future," said Microsoft in a statement.
Visit www.digitalwpc.com to watch today's keynote.