At WPC in Houston five years ago, we started talking about the growing importance of cloud computing.  Each year since, we have amplified our “embrace the cloud” message to partners while aggressively landing a strong portfolio of Microsoft cloud services.

Today, cloud is a natural part of every customer conversation and it’s only going to accelerate:
  • One in four of our enterprise customers has Office 365, and with an annual revenue run rate of >$1 billion Office 365 is on track to be one of the fastest growing businesses in Microsoft history.
  • We have seen over 40% growth in our all up enterprise cloud businesses with strong contribution from both hosting service providers, private cloud solutions and our own public cloud services.  Windows Azure alone is outgrowing the overall cloud market by >150 points.
  • By 2016, 45% of IT budgets will be devoted to cloud initiatives with 15% of that devoted to public cloud. (Source: IDC)
To capitalize on this customer opportunity and compete effectively, every Microsoft partner must be able to sell and deliver solutions that are fully or partially cloud based.  Given that, we are making a number of updates o the Microsoft Partner Network that ensure all partners are cloud capable.
  • Cloud Integration – Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate program integration and a revamp of the Hosting partner program.
  • Device selling and application innovation – This includes Windows phone alignment, an increased focus on user experience design, and onboarding the Windows Embedded partners.
  • Winning the data center – Unifying our infrastructure go-to-market approach, amplifying our Cloud OS vision and further differentiating silver vs. gold based on solution scenario definition distinctions.
  • Business Analytics\Big Data – Unlocking insight from any data, structured or unstructured, via our data platform.
To further complement these changes and the scaled connection our partners have via the Microsoft Partner Network online, we are also taking large steps to improve (1) Partners’ online experience as to how we capture and display your information and how we communicate with you; and (2) Improving and driving greater consistency and effectiveness around the technical benefits and support we provide our partners.
If you are attending WPC you will see these changes come through in numerous sessions.  Also, based on brand new IDC research, we are going to provide unique insight for partners on how to build a truly profitable cloud business.  Regardless of whether you are in Houston or not, I strongly encourage you to attend (or watch digitally) Jon Roskill’s Vision Keynote Wednesday (July 10th) where he will share tips and tricks on how to make this real.
If you are in Houston, please attend the MPN Value Keynote Wednesday afternoon (July 10th) where Anders Spatzek and I (as well as Brad Rappell, CEO of InverseCurve in Australia) will walk through all the key MPN changes for FY14 mentioned above in alignment with Microsoft’s overall strategic direction.  
Our team is ready to answer questions and help you understand how the updates will impact your business.  Please visit us at the Microsoft Partner Network Booth CC#11 or go here to review all the changes happening in the Microsoft Partner Network. 
As always, thank you for your partnership and commitment.