Over a year ago, Microsoft invested in helping the world’s biggest businesses find the value of Surface devices. The launch of the Surface Enterprise Initiative was designed to help partners provide the services, support, app development, purchasing, and deployment options necessary to fuel the digital transformation on an enterprise level. Here’s what we have accomplished so far:
The View from 30,000 Feet
The Surface as a Service model has shown to be incredibly popular among our partners. In just one year, the Surface purchasing and deployment partner footprint has grown from 200 to more than 10,000 partners worldwide. The mobility and productivity capabilities which are the hallmark of Surface devices will help businesses embrace their own digital transformation. Strategic partnerships with key industry players such as Dell, IBM, and Booz Allen Hamilton are working to provide the option of Surface as a Service to enterprise customers on a global scale.
Enhanced Support Capabilities
Here’s what Surface as a Service looks like. The super mobile and productive devices are now available for partners to build specialized services and support capabilities around. The newly launched program offers partners the opportunity to provide the following services:
- Configuration and deployment, including imaging, asset management, provisioning and integration services
- Replacement and exchange, such as advanced exchange, onsite replacement, and next business day services
- Warehousing and logistics, for unique shipping requests, kitting services and even order consolidation
- Next Generation Support, like the chance to work with decision makers within the greater Surface ecosystem to conceptualize and realize future solutions
Changes to Address Evolving Support Needs
Surface as a Service was built to address the fast changing needs of enterprise level customers. One of the key benefits of a subscription based service model is that devices will automatically get the latest updates of Windows 10 and Office 365. Any service, replacement, or logistical solutions can be managed by the partner themselves. The opportunity to provide configuration and deployment services to a growing network of enterprise customers is a great value-add for partners.
The opportunities presented by the next generation support options for Surface are also really exciting. The built in ability for Surface to anticipate service and support needs streamlines the replacement and exchange pipeline. Even larger in scope, the chance to work with Surface partners and IT decision makers to create industry specific and customized solutions will revolutionize how enterprise customers use Surface devices day to day.
Understanding the Partner Opportunity
Surface as a Service presents an interesting partner opportunity. It opens the doors for an ongoing revenue stream which is fully customizable to meet the needs of your unique target market. Here’s a breakdown of the opportunity:
- Partners can differentiate by building on the capabilities of Surface devices
- Customers receive specialized services that help them drive productivity
- Enterprise level businesses embrace a smart, modern, and mobile work environment
In a recent blog on the partner momentum of Surface as a Service, partners and resellers weighed in on how the program has the potential to significantly impact their customer engagement.
“Surface-as-a-Subscription is a simple and sales-friendly solution that benefits both the channel partner and their customer. We’re excited to build awareness and generate demand for Surface-as-a-Subscription and see tremendous business value and potential growth in the ‘as a subscription’ service model.”
– Mike Erwin, Senior Director, Ingram Micro, Inc.
CSPs who are also Surface Authorized Distributors can now offer Surface devices through this managed service offering to all resellers and customers alongside their managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and other ISV software. The combination of managed device subscription and IP presents an exciting partner opportunity that will quickly add to the 1.35 billion dollar investment partners and customers have made in Surface devices already.
Examples of Surface as a Service in Action
IBM is already drawing on its analytics and enterprise applications to create industry-specific solutions for financial services and CPG/retail companies. Having that insight into the unique industry challenges of their customers provides significant value and sales opportunities.
Booz Allen Hamilton is also zeroing in on scalable solutions for customers in the governmental, public, and healthcare verticals. Their interest in Surface stems from Microsoft’s commitment to enterprise grade security and flexibility that is unique to Surface devices. Considering that Surface revenue is up by 29% year-over-year, these announcements will be of real interest to partners looking to deliver secure, end-to-end solutions when it comes to Surface devices.
How would your company benefit from this new Surface as a Service opportunity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.