Are you apart of the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program? Then this blog is for you! I was recently invited by Microsoft to attend Sage Summit and deliver a presentation on Building Profitability in a Cloud-first Economy, geared specifically towards Sage VARs. Through my preparation on Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program, and some great conversations at the conference, a few things became very apparent to me.
How to Build Profitability in Cloud First Economy with Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program
Lack of awareness
Despite the millions of dollars Microsoft puts into product naming, branding and PR, there are many people—both VARs and customers—who still do not understand what Azure is, what it means for them, and how they can take advantage of it. Several times I was asked whether this is the Microsoft Cloud. As a marketer, it brought home the fact that you should never stop educating your audience about your product, your focus and what you have to offer.
How can Microsoft help?
I have to confess, that as a previous Microsoft employee, there is still much suspicion in the marketplace about Microsoft and what its agenda is. Here I was at a conference for Sage Accounting/ERP software, which competes with Microsoft Dynamics, representing Microsoft around a completely different product set. The Microsoft presence on the show floor definitely turned heads and I was asked on several occasions why Microsoft was there and if they were poaching customers for Dynamics. I spent a great deal of time explaining how Microsoft operates and how the Azure platform is helping both customers and VAR businesses transform. It highlighted the fact that there is much work to do in terms of educating customers and resellers, and that makes me pretty excited.
Microsoft is for ALL partners
Those attendees of my session on Building Profitability were very interested to hear that the CSP program is not exclusively for Microsoft partners, but for all partners who want to add managed services to their practice. The Azure platform and the CSP program bring opportunity for ALL VARs and ISVs to offer managed services and/or utilize the Azure platform for their products.
How to get started
Many VARs have customers wanting cloud solutions, but the problem often lies in knowing:
- How to get started
- What to offer
- Who to partner with
- How to price the offering
- How to productize the offering
- What bundles to create
- Who can help
I hope my presentation provides VARs & ISVs with a starting point and the building blocks to begin their journey with Azure. You can view the entire slide deck here, and I invite you to contact me if you need any help. I’m happy to answer your questions or steer you in the right direction to get started.