Microsoft announces a new cloud channel program

Microsoft has added onto its set of cloud based channel partner programs by introducing Cloud Deployment.

This new program is targeted at solution providers who already have a cloud practice and are working with enterprise customers of 250 seats and above.

From Microsoft’s point of view, the cloud is building momentum in the enterprise marketplace as customers adopt Office 365. With that channel partners have asked the software giant for more support in terms of deployment.

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The program will be tied to other Microsoft cloud programs such as Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate and will offer free trials of Office 365, Windows Intune and CRM Online licenses for use to run a partner’s business along with online services/advisor incentives, delegated administration tools, and training.

Julie Benanni, general manager of the Microsoft partner program for the company’s Worldwide Partner Group, told CDN that this new program puts the solution provider and the customer in the right context. “It unlocks the value of the technology for the enterprise customers who in some cases are shifting to the cloud with Office 365. This program makes sure the user experience and integration is seamless and smooth,” she said.Microsoft is looking for more solution provider partners who have a deeper skill set with the cloud. There are currently 17 Canadian partners on-board with Cloud Deployment.

Rob King, director of channel strategy, development and marketing at Microsoft Canada, said the subsidiary is translating this new program for the Canadian market. Microsoft Canada already has a program called JumpStart that offers free trials and develops proof of concepts. The plan for King with Cloud Deployment is to go out to key channel partners and educate them on the program along with making more investments to increase the number of deals in a partner’s pipeline.

Benanni has been pushing partners to lead with cloud services this year and told CDN that the company is interested in offering more incentives for solution providers who do that. She acknowledged that there is a challenge for traditional solution providers in the economics of the cloud over on-premise transactions.

“The model is different economically. How do you incent your sales force and how do you build a re-occurring revenue stream so we have been watching this closely and we have launched some channel incentives in the past 18 months,” she said.

Benanni added that Microsoft has already attracted what she called “born in the cloud” solution providers and it’s been easier to on board those companies. But both bases are important to Microsoft to help them move into the enterprise space and increase cloud adoption.

The Cloud Deployment program also offers planning support, deployment and break fix support, proof of concept guidance and funding, and cloud deployment planning tools. Solution providers must have a minimum of Cloud Accelerate to join the Cloud Deployment program.King said that Canada has 1,500 Cloud Essentials partners and 100 Cloud Accelerate partners.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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