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You’ve likely heard the market buzz around the landmark European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). That’s because GDPR raises the bar for data privacy protection. Many commercial customers are daunted by their compliance journey ahead. As the May 25, 2018 deadline for GDPR compliance approaches, many customers are unsure where to begin. They are looking for the technology, people, and processes that will help them comply in a sustainable manner.

That’s where you come in.

The Partner Role in GDPR

Partners can play a critical role in helping commercial customers adapt to the new regulation. Customers are looking for help from partners to assess their GDPR readiness. That includes evaluating their existing technology environments. The customer lifetime value of that assessment is very promising—including managed services, change management, technology reselling and support, end user training, and deployment services.

Microsoft’s Role in GDPR

Microsoft is committed to helping its commercial customers achieve GDPR compliance. To us, this is not a new thing. Our industry leadership in data privacy protection has been recognized for over a decade, beginning with the establishment of our Trustworthy Computing principles. Our cloud solutions have earned more third-party attestations than any other cloud vendor. For GDPR specifically, we have committed that our technology will be GDPR compliant by May 2018. We were also the first major cloud provider to offer the contractual commitments required by the GDPR to give our customers the assurances they need from us as their data processor.

Announcing Microsoft 365

In addition to our established track record, we have announced a new comprehensive offering to simplify our customers’ GDPR compliance efforts. At Microsoft Inspire, we announced Microsoft 365, a set of commercial offerings drawing from Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS).

For partners, Microsoft 365 is a great platform on which to build a profitable set of security and productivity solutions to simplify the task of identifying, classifying, and governing personal data. Microsoft 365 also helps customers protect personal data from loss or unauthorized access or disclosure. Finally, Microsoft 365 aids customers in complying with the new standards for transparency, accountability, and record keeping. Throughout the journey, partners are indispensable at every turn, and Microsoft 365 makes it easier for partners to serve customers.

Microsoft 365 is also a very profitable value proposition for partners. Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Microsoft in July 2017 estimates:

  • With Microsoft 365, partners stand to make nearly $1500 in revenue per user over three years based on a 5000 seat deployment.
  • With Microsoft 365, partners stand to make over $700 in margin per user over three years based on a 5000 seat deployment.

Partners are electing to lead with Microsoft as they prepare their GDPR-related offerings. For example, Ernst and Young is collaborating with Microsoft and takes the approach of encouraging their customers to see GDPR as more than a compliance requirement or an enterprise risk to mitigate. They encourage their customers to go beyond compliance and seek data privacy as a strategic edge for their organizations. This is what Ernst and Young calls information superiority and requires having the right data, at the right time for the right purpose.

“All of this is possible only when customers have trust in the security of their data and when the technical solutions are as comprehensive as Microsoft’s. This is why we elected to build a differentiated offering with Microsoft.”

– Angela Saverice-Rohan, Americas’ Leader for Data Privacy, Ernst and Young

Crayon is another partner that is leading with Microsoft. Crayon has built on its track record as a software asset management provider by including data privacy consultation services. Their offer expands to both midmarket and enterprise customers; and it ranges from how to support and train Data Protection Officers (DPO), to assessing customers’ technology environments and serving them with the best that Microsoft has to offer—Microsoft 365.

“Microsoft really takes care of its partner ecosystem and helps partners with capacity building where it is required.”

– Nabil Chebbi, Vice President, Cloud Sales and Marketing Enablement, Crayon

Supporting Our Partners

To support our partners to further build their businesses, today we have released a set of assets that will help partners make the most of this market opportunity:

Security and Compliance Playbook – To help partners evaluate a practice development investment and kick start the effort.

GDPR Assessment – Questions and guidance to help partners have the right conversations during the prospecting phase of a sales engagement.

GDPR Detailed Assessment – Extended set of questions and actionable guidance to help partners deliver assessment workshops and formulate statements of work to earn their customers’ confidence and business.

GDPR Product Demos – Tools for partners to demonstrate how the Microsoft cloud helps customers comply with the GDPR.

GDPR Activity Hub – A solution accelerator tool that helps partners operationalize GDPR related processes and activities.

You can find all these at aka.ms/gdprpartners.

GDPR provides us all with a unique window of opportunity to serve commercial customers in new and vital ways. Microsoft 365 is the offering to support customers in their GDPR journey. It also serves as a platform for partners to elevate the conversation with their customers and become the trusted security advisor they need.

How are you making the most of the GDPR opportunity? What conversations are you having with customers as they get ready for GDPR? Share your thoughts with the Microsoft Partner Network Community.