Today I continue my series on the “seasons of change” that are defining our world. My last post touched on the key takeaways for partners at WPC 2012. I also talked about where all of us—Microsoft, our partners, the entire world—are going in the new era.

Well, one place we are all going is the cloud. (Insert duh here!)
It’s not a question of whether a business or client will go to the cloud—it’s just a matter of when. And why not? In the cloud, businesses can become more agile, react faster, and get “lighter” while getting more things done. That could mean more opportunities to win. Partners know that Microsoft has been evolving (for quite some time) in anticipation of this new world. By staying ahead of the curve and blowing us into the direction of these winds of change we’ve ensured you’ve got the right support you need as a partner to help customers in an emerging  cloud-centric world.
In short, where we are in the cloud is ahead of the cloud. Here’s Microsoft’s take on cloud computing. It’s worth a look as it gives you not only our vision for what’s next but also ways in which the cloud can apply specifically to your business—and how it can positively impact it. After all, it’s not just a matter of getting on the cloud. It’s optimizing it so you can better compete.
As you know, in order to compete in the cloud era, you need to educate your customers on the cost-savings—like the IT costs involved and how that can change and actually be more cost-effective. You’ll also want to help customers familiarize themselves with the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)—and weigh its pros and cons to determine if adopting it is right for their business. Incredible amounts of information are a reality today, and having a point of view on a Big Data solution for customers is another key factor in winning on the cloud.
As we continue working together through the Microsoft Partner Network, you’re very familiar with how Microsoft is moving to the cloud through products like Windows 8, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, SQL Server 2012, Windows Phone 8, and Windows Server 2012. And with our partnering teams at Microsoft, we work to bring you a wealth of information to get you ready. The Partner Learning Center is a great resource for readiness.
Be the change agent in your company. Jumpstart your cloud practice by enrolling in Cloud Essentials and start getting benefits to bolster your success; Whether you’re just starting out on the cloud or need to improve your existing position, we have you covered.  
As I’ve had the opportunity to travel the globe for Microsoft, partners frequently tell me about their journey to the cloud. I’d love to hear your story—share it in the comments, below! And be sure to stay tuned for the third and final post in this series, where I’ll share how social technologies may very well be the next major disruptor.