The transformation to the cloud with our partners and customers is well underway and every day we see more and more partners embedding cloud into their go-to-market capabilities.  For some of our partners, this represents a large change in the business model that they operate with, for others it may mean extending into new, tangential areas to support customer needs. As a valued Microsoft Partner Network member, we want you to know Microsoft continues to listen and evolve to help you on that journey.   As we’ve observed how things are going and received partner and customer feedback, we have created some additional assets and benefits that we want to ensure you are aware of to best prepare to sell and deliver our cloud offerings with excellence to our mutual customers.  Here are some specific examples of updated Office 365 assets:

  •  If you are preparing to embed Office 365 into your business, make sure you leverage our impactful Practice Accelerator for Office 365 which has been updated to include core deployment scenarios around federation, provisioning, etc. that are critical to landing this service well with customers.  Practice Accelerators are packaged methodology and IP based on real-world, complex deployment experience Microsoft’s Services team has with enterprise-class customers that we have packaged up for partners to utilize as you build and evolve your technology practice to support the products\services.  These assets and the associated virtual instructor-led coaching are critical to helping build robust, repeatable quality technology delivery.
  • Once you’ve built the right delivery capabilities, Microsoft can also help you prepare for the customer sales call via our MPN Advisory Services.  Pre-sales support includes assets and coaching around how Microsoft stacks up against other competing solutions on a deal-by-deal basis as well as assistance you may need as you build out a Proof of Concept for a specific customer solution – this sales stage is key to helping the customer visualize the solution in their business context.
  • Once the deal is closed, we have experienced technical consultants ready to help you understand the architectural and technical keys to deploying in a specific customer environment, and to help you plan and execute a successful migration. As added context around this, there are a number of cloud seats that our partners have sold but our customers have not yet deployed.  The customer will not experience the value of the service if they are not using it. You, our partners, are the trusted advisors to our mutual customers and we want to help you get these seats activated for your customers.
  • After the seats are deployed, we know there may still be issues that crop up, especially in hybrid customer environments – Microsoft is ready to stand by you in these critical times. MPN gold and silver competency partners have a dedicated cloud support channel to assist and ensure problems are resolved quickly and completely.  We also have a great Online Partner Support Community which is actively managed and supported by experienced engineers.
  • Finally, to take advantage of the Advisory and phone-based services, we’ve made it significantly easier to escalate and resolve by enabling partners to submit both your advisory requests and your product support incidents online which means less time on the phone waiting for help.
We hope these examples inspire you to engage around Office 365 with your customers and commit to building a reputable Microsoft cloud services practice.   Please email me anytime with input and feedback (julib@microsoft.com) and thank you for your commitment and dedication to Microsoft.