Microsoft partner conference reveals bright future for Cloud VARs

mswpcMicrosoft’s annual worldwide partner conference (WPC) in Orlando, Florida in July opened up many insights into the company’s strategy around the role partners will play in an increasingly Cloud-centric IT architecture. More than 15,000 attendees – myself among them – were given the opportunity to network and discover how working with Microsoft will include as much value-adding to its Cloud portfolio as performing on-premises integration work.

Exciting developments include Project GigJam, the Cortana Analytics Suite for improved business intelligence and HoloLens for visualisation. For partners, Microsoft is expanding its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program to help partners engage with solution providers to build Cloud businesses without investing in infrastructure themselves and take advantage of services offered by other Microsoft partners.

Following the event Phil Sorgen, Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group VP, wrote a blog about the opportunities partners have to work with other partners’ Cloud products and solutions, in addition to those offered by Microsoft.

The future looks bright for partners looking to expand their service portfolio within the Microsoft ecosystem.

Solution providers in the Cloud value chain

At WPC I enjoyed speaking with people from all the big names in the tech industry, including Dell, Cisco and Intel, and it was great to meet with many different US and EMEA-based solution providers which present us with a huge expansion opportunity.

I attended the Hoster and MSP roundtable with Microsoft executives, including Kurt Delbene, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Planning, and also the FY2016 Channel Incentives for Hosting and Syndication Partners roundtable. These invitation-only sessions delivered real insight into the opportunity the Cloud provides.

In my role I’m always speaking with resellers, VARs and system integrators who have built long-standing, successful businesses out of project delivery and consulting work. The question that invariably comes up when the discussion turns to Cloud is: “Is there any money in it and how do I exploit that?” That question is shortly followed by: “Where do solution providers fit in?” The good news is adopting a Cloud-based revenue stream is not as daunting as it might seem and on-demand providers have a keen interest in ensuring their services are being applied to a plethora of customer business requirements.

Implementation partners can add value to Cloud services in seemingly limitless ways – from data and application integration to security, DR and design and user experience consulting.

During her keynote, Michele Bailey from 451 Research spoke about how the shift of customers and markets is driving the transformation from “Cloud 1.0”, which was built on technical specs, to “Cloud 2.0”, which builds on business value.

According to 451 Research, most of the market expects to have more than 40 percent of applications in the Cloud up from approximately 20 percent today. During this transition, the voice of the customer is becoming very important and providers must focus on customers and what they are trying to achieve. The Cloud can help customers innovate without additional risk.

Bailey sees Cloud value added services as a growing revenue opportunity, with trust and partnership as important success factors. I like this message because it summarises perfectly the role of VARs in the Cloud.

cloud_USP_controlAt Leaseweb we’ve developed a global infrastructure for world-class IaaS solutions to maximize the performance of application workloads. We’ve worked hard to develop one automated, high-speed platform to help your business achieve maximum efficiency. We do the “heavy lifting” enabling partners to get to market faster and focus on the competencies that add business value. After all, running your own data center and equipment is expensive and crunches margins.

Next steps, upward

Still not convinced the Cloud is on your side? I’m interested in hearing from you and demonstrating the opportunities our partner program can bring to your business.

The Leaseweb Partner Network (LPN) with its three channel programs is designed to provide solution providers with everything they need to begin offering business outcomes to their clients without the need for infrastructure investments. We’ve developed a whole foundational layer that allows you to be worry free so you can stick to your core business.

There are great opportunities for transitioning customers from colocation facilities and their own data centers to the Leaseweb’s global hosted infrastructure and Cloud computing solutions. In addition to the high capital costs, managing your own infrastructure requires technology and skills management to stay competitive and keep operational, and that comes at a cost too.

Our platform is built on three pillars of world-class data centers, an unbeatable network and the leading automation and control tools at your availability; our APIs give solution providers a high level of flexibility to scale and manage their services as required; and we’re always making sure the technology and services from partners integrates in the best possible way for customers.

Start your journey towards becoming a modern business enabler by partnering with a Cloud provider that understands and supports solution providers and turn Cloud uncertainty into your next big opportunity.

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