Hello Partners!

Here at Microsoft, we just wrapped up our 2014 Hosting Summit — an annual event which brings together more than 350 executives from Hosting, Cloud, and Service Provider companies from 40 different countries. We gathered to share ideas on how to expand and build new services, drive innovation, and create new business opportunities across the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).
We released our Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream: 2014 study to coincide with the Hosting Summit. This global survey includes answers from over 2,000 customers of various sizes, and offers insights into how customers buy, use, and manage their IT in different cloud scenarios.
These valuable insights are important for all partners to consider:
1.    Customers are focusing on the cloud to grow and transform their business
With cloud momentum continuing to grow, the survey showed that we have reached a tipping point: 45% of the companies surveyed have moved beyond the discovery or pilot phase and have a production environment implemented in the cloud. Additionally, 32% of respondents say they now have a formal cloud computing strategy plan in place. On average, customers with more than 60% of their total IT project spend on growth applications will have more than 45% of their applications implemented in the cloud over the next two years.
2.    The road to hybrid cloud is private
The 2013 Hosting and Cloud Study showed that the next few years is the time for hybrid cloud solutions to shine. This year’s 2014 study expands on that insight, indicating that the road to the hybrid cloud is through the private cloud. When looking at off-premises infrastructure (hosted dedicated, hosted private cloud and public cloud), hosted private cloud had the highest rate of growth in spending over the last two years, growing from 28% to 32%. And “private to private” (on-premises/hosted) is the dominant hybrid model among 60% of customers who plan for hybrid deployments. The survey results make it clear that hybrid cloud is viewed as a trusted solution for customers — and you, our partners, stand to benefit from this trend.
3.    Cloud is a trust business
Security and support are tremendous opportunity areas for partners as customers move to the cloud. Of customers surveyed, 60% said they would pay for premium customer service from their provider.  According to the study, 76% of off-premise cloud solutions will be subject to audit with internal IT security and compliance teams. This is proof that cloud changes many things, but for customers, security and support continue to be critical areas to address, and the partner opportunity to provide those services continues to grow.
The cloud continues to be an important topic of conversation as partners recognize the potential for growth it provides. That’s why we’ve made cloud one of our five tracks at the 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). We will continue to focus on how the cloud can help partners build their businesses and generate new customers all week in Washington, D.C.