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A couple of weeks ago, our CEO Satya Nadella went to New York and spoke about the fourth industrial revolution. After steam, and electricity, and information technology, we’re now on the cusp of the digital technology revolution.


Technology is ubiquitous, and connected entities permeate everyday life. Each of these entities generates massive quantities of data—IDC says we’ll create 180 zettabytes of data worldwide by 2025. And with the power of cloud computing, we now have the capability to collect, store, analyze, and most importantly, draw insights from that data.


Data has become the new electricity, powering daily life and sparking transformative change.


For the business world, this unlocks new opportunities.


According to Gartner’s 2016 CIO Agenda survey, analytics continues to be the top area for new technology spending, and customers will be looking for ways to draw new insights from their data.
The ability to interpret large amounts of data isn’t learned overnight, and businesses don’t always know where to start making the most of the data they already collect.


This is where our partner community has a huge opportunity.


Our partner ecosystem plays a critical role in helping customers leverage data insights to drive their business forward. As Satya said in New York, our goal is to help every business become a software business, a data business, an intelligence business. Partners help make that possible.


We have shared a lot of news surrounding our data platform and analytics capabilities in the last few weeks. We launched SQL Server 2016, announced SQL Server on Linux, and just yesterday revealed several new features making it easier to analyze data and share insights with Power BI.


These are all moments in time. But beyond any single launch or feature release, we want to make sure you’re ready to support your customers with a long-term data strategy, helping them become modern, data-driven businesses. In the past, making sense of data was a task reserved for experts and dedicated data scientists. With our new data platform and analytics capabilities, it’s easier than ever to crunch the numbers and turn data into actionable intelligence.


There are three scenarios our partners should be discussing with their customers today. We’re providing training and resources to support you in every one.


Upgrade

There are still many instances of SQL Server running on 2005 today. On April 12, these customers will no longer receive security updates for those instances. Now is the time for these customers to upgrade to the best modern data platform for their needs.


SQL Server 2014 and SQL Server 2016 are both able to handle structured and unstructured data, offer new, advanced and predictive analytics, include rich visualizations across devices, and increase the speed of operational analytics.


We have a host of resources designed to help you have conversations with customers still running SQL Server 2005—check them out on MPN.


Transition

SQL Server is an industry leader. Gartner recently named Microsoft as leading the industry in their Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems in both execution and vision. In fact, we’re a leader or visionary in all four of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants.


SQL Server 2016 is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft’s data platform history with real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on any mobile device, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technology to encrypt data at rest, in motion, and in-memory, and new hybrid cloud scenarios. All of these capabilities are built into this latest release.


If your customers are ready to migrate from Oracle, we want to help you with that conversation. We’re offering free licenses to qualifying customers right now. Learn more here.


Maximize

We want you to be an expert in helping your customers build a long-term data strategy. Check out the on-demand courses on Selling Azure and SQL Server for Business Continuity right now on Partner University.


You can also register now for the Data Platform University series, which offers live, online, interactive training on Data Platform solutions and sales scenarios. The series covers 10 topics delivered live, with two start times daily to accommodate global time zones. If you miss a class, on-demand recordings are available on Partner University within 24 hours.


We’re adding new training material all the time. Check Partner University for SQL Server content, and refer to the SQL Server solutions page for resources, demos, and more.