From July 14th to July 17th our nation’s capital is playing host to Microsoft and its Worldwide Partner Conference. And, yes, #WPC14 is trending on Twitter. Though truly, it isn’t that surprising considering over 16,000 people attended the first day of the conference. So what is important about the 2014 conference?
For one, Microsoft is continuing its evolution from a provider of on-premises software to a provider of cloud computing services and hardware devices. The uncertainty of a smooth transformation will potentially lead to fear in Microsoft’s partners. So how does Microsoft continue its transformation, while keeping all of the partners happy?
The perfect place to figure this out may be the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which runs through Thursday in Washington, D.C. The event focuses on five areas — cloud computing, big data, mobility and devices, enterprise social software, and sales and marketing — all unified by Microsoft’s new mantra: “mobile-first, cloud-first.”
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s last stab at “mobile-first, cloud-first” was Windows 8. Which did not end so well. So this year, Microsoft plans to take all of its partners by storm, under the leadership of new CEO Satya Nadella. The plan is to refine its partner programs to be more aligned with its “cloud first, mobile first” philosophy.
On Monday, the Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider program was announced. A little background: Microsft blogger John Case, explains that after Microsoft announced its Office 365 Open program last year, the number of partners selling Office on Open grew 16 times year over year. But, “we also heard feedback that partners want to engage at every part of the customer lifecycle – from sales to renewal, from billing and provisioning, to support of their customers,“ Case wrote.
In simpler terms, partners wanted to be able to control the whole process. So this year, Microsoft is letting its partners do just that. This move is one step in the right direction towards keeping their partners happy while changing the company.
Step two? The company will also unveil three new programs aimed at Office 365 and Azure resellers. And according to PC World, Microsoft is also taking steps to motivate partners to resell Azure and Office 365, by waiving the first year fee to register as a Silver-tier provider and by increasing between 25 percent and 200 percent the number of internal-use rights (IUR) licenses available to them.
Will all of the changes and upgrades and announcements please Microsoft’s partners? That is hard to say. Microsoft caters to hundreds of thousands of heterogenous opinions. So, will they all like it? No one can be sure. All we know is that Microsoft is making an attempt at pleasing all that they can, while still taking on the “mobile-first, cloud-first” world that we live in.