At its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this week in Houston Microsoft (MSFT) is focusing all attention on its transformation to a devices and services company – emphasizing the underpinning trends of cloud, mobility, big data and enterprise social. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opened the conference talking about this transformation to the more than 16,000 attendees, made up of value-added resellers and channel partners. The event conversation can be followed on Twitter hashtag #WPC2013.
With 3,265 software piracy cases settled around the world in the past year Microsoft gladly embraces the cloud computing advantages that it can benefit its partners. A Microsoft sponsored IDC study revealed that “partners with more than 50 percent of their revenue related to the cloud have been benefiting from higher gross profit, more new customers, increased revenue per employee and faster overall business growth.”
“Cloud alone hasn’t caused these impressive numbers, though that is absolutely part of it; top-performing partners were visionaries that took on cloud technologies before their peers,” said Darren Bibby, program vice president of Channels and Alliances Research, IDC. “We’re at the point in the industry’s overall cloud transition where partners that don’t move some of their business to the cloud likely won’t survive. And some partners that are getting ready to sell their business or retire may be OK with that. Most won’t be.”
Microsoft launched several new programs and services to help partners embrace the challenges and opportunities associated with cloud computing. Cloud OS Accelerate is a new program for key partners Cisco, NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems, HP and Dell, where Microsoft will invest more than $100 million to help put thousands of new private and hybrid cloud solutions into the hands of customers. A new self-service business intelligence (BI) solution, Power BI for Office 365, combines the data analysis and visualization capabilities of Excel with the power of collaboration, scale and trusted cloud environment of Office 365. New Windows Azure Active Directory capabilities will make it possible for ISVs, CSVs and other third parties to leverage Windows Azure’s directory to enable a single sign-on (SSO) experience for their users, at no cost.
Independent Software Vendors
Microsoft announced new partner agreements with four leading global independent software vendors (GISVs). Microsoft’s R&D and worldwide reach help GISVs stay ahead of the curve and achieve new economies of scale. At the conference the Microsoft Dynamics group announced that it would bring aboard four new GISVs, which have signed deals to participate in the exclusive program: distribution and manufacturing provider I.B.I.S. Inc., automotive software maker Incadea, food supply-chain consultancy Anglia Business Solutions, and retail automation vendor Escher Group.
“As technology marches on and business needs evolve, the demand for software with specialized functionality is an ever-growing industry,” said Neil Holloway, corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) Sales and Operations. “We’re here this week to show how Microsoft is investing in its partners, how focused we are on helping deliver the best experiences to enterprise customers, and how the biggest, best opportunities for ISVs still lie ahead.”
Recognizing its top-performing partners at WPC Microsoft awarded four Microsoft Dynamics partners for their innovative use of Microsoft Dynamics to deliver strategic and valuable solutions that meet diverse customer needs. Tribridge was also named the Microsoft Dynamics Outstanding Reseller of the Year.
Organization Structure Changes Coming?
Amid these transformational changes Microsoft is continuously under pressure to adapt and evolve its business strategies. Just last week Microsoft Interactive Entertainment executive Don Mattrick departed to become Zynga’s new CEO. Several sources have noted that Steve Ballmer will unveil plans on Thursday to drastically restructure the $286 billion company.