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Kymber Lowe Senior Director, Global Partner Enablement, Global Partner Solutions

The enablement advantage: empowering transformation with Microsoft Azure

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This is the fifth and final blog in a series on enablement resources by Kymber Lowe, senior director of Global Partner Enablement at Microsoft. This entry will explore resources for building solutions with Microsoft Azure. Parts one, two, three, and four of the series are available on the Microsoft Partner Blog.

Digital transformation is sweeping across all industries, offering advantages such as lower costs, increased agility, and higher service quality. Microsoft Azure maximizes these benefits for customers and enables new, innovative application scenarios. More than ever, partners now can help customers complete their cloud transformations and take advantage of the features that are most helpful to them and their organization. As I wrap up my series on the enablement advantage, let’s take a closer look at the unique power of Azure.

Sales motions under Azure align to our sales plays, for which we have dedicated Advanced Specialization designations that map to three solution areas: Infrastructure, Digital and Application Innovation, and Data and AI. Many of the resources we have developed to support your Azure practice apply to two or more of these solution areas and can help you understand the connective tissue between them. As with other solution areas, we offer Practice Development playbooks created specifically for partners by partners to provide the most relevant information as you build solutions:

A cross-solution area service

Infrastructure: The first step in cloud transformation for many customers is migrating their existing applications from on-premises to the cloud. This can be a highly technical process that calls for skills beyond their in-house IT capabilities. Partners can help with migrating existing systems, applications, and services—positioning themselves to then assist with managing, automating, and optimizing apps for the Microsoft Azure platform. Some of the most common sales plays involved in setting up cloud infrastructure are migrating Windows and SQL Servers, Linux and OSS DBs, and/or SAP. Partners can also modernize customers’ virtual desktop infrastructure with Azure Virtual Desktop or integrate hybrid capabilities with Arc and Stack HCI.

Digital and App Innovation: Azure Application Services, such as Azure App Service, Azure Kubernetes Services, Azure Functions, Logic Apps and GitHub, can be integrated with Microsoft Teams and Power Platform services. The cloud has transformed the traditional app development process, allowing organizations to take advantage of native cloud applications and low-code platforms to quickly develop the solutions they need. Partners can leverage Kubernetes, Serverless and managed databases to develop cloud native solutions more efficiently and now even faster, without requiring customers to address server or scalability challenges. Driving DevOps adoption with GitHub and Visual Studio is another way to deepen developer capabilities, while Platform as a Service (PaaS), low code and managed databases are the gateway to modernizing .NET and Java applications.

Data and AI: Business leaders are always seeking to make more informed decisions and eliminate data silos. Previously, the most robust data technologies—including big data, IoT, machine learning, and AI—were prohibitively expensive in an on-premises environment. However, partners can now implement cloud-based solutions to empower users across a given enterprise to analyze, explore, and derive insights from their organizational data. Azure provides a complete data analytics platform with a host of options and new features being added all the time.

Exploring Azure roles and features

To offer a deeper understanding of Azure’s many capabilities, we’ve put together a library of on-demand trainings. Relevant to partners operating in all three solution areas, these resources are designed to help tailor cloud-based solutions for customers’ specific needs.

We also have a variety of Azure certifications available, including a Fundamentals credential and comprehensive role-based options across categories.

Bringing the cloud to market

Azure can be used by organizations to meet specific business needs, and we’re committed to helping partners succeed in related cloud sales engagements. Through the Azure SMB Partner Sales Acceleration program, we offer facilitation videos, role-play scenarios, and more to develop an SMB sales framework. For enterprise customers, we also have Partner Sales Acceleration learning paths focusing on Azure Apps and Infrastructure as well as Azure Data and AI. Consisting of sales assets and video guides, these courses help partners position their Azure solutions. Additional focused skilling is available through the Azure Migration and Modernization Program, which has tools and guidance to prepare partners to accelerate their customers’ cloud transformation.

Additionally, all Microsoft partners have access to our broad portfolio of go-to-market resources, which include on-demand, digital marketing campaigns aligned to each solution area. With specific marketing campaign content tailored to Azure, we are committed to helping partners accelerate their time-to-market and reach new customers. Additionally, we’ve recently launched the Partner Go-to-Market Toolbox, an online platform that allows partners to grow their business through personalized and actionable marketing plans and to easily develop high-quality, solution-specific co-branded materials—based on their marketing initiatives—in 10 different languages. It’s currently available to partners with a gold competency or ISV partners with a co-sell incentive eligible offer.

The Azure cloud platform has endless possibilities for customers seeking to accelerate their digital transformation. By offering specialized skills ranging from standard infrastructure migration to groundbreaking AI integration, partners can make themselves invaluable to growing and evolving organizations. I encourage you to stay up to date with the latest Azure features and resources as the cloud continues to reshape global business.

Thank you for joining me through this series on the enablement advantage. My team is continuously investing in new resources that build end-to-end capability among our partners, based on the latest developments and feedback. We appreciate your continued partnership and are eager for you to dive into the enablement resources I’ve shared.