Event Report: Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010

Published on July 18, 2010 by R "Ray" Wang

Microsoft Continues To Embrace The Cloud And Hopes Its Partners Jump In

Microsoft kicked off arguably one of the best WPC’s in history at the Washington, DC, Convention Center.  From tremendous networking opportunities to keynotes from Bill Clinton, the time was well spent despite the scorching summer heat. As expected, the key theme was Cloud, Cloud, Cloud; and Azure, Azure, Azure.  In a quick and unscientific survey of 62 Microsoft Partners, only 11 truly understood how they would adopt Azure. More importantly, only 5 out of the 11 partners who understood Azure could figure out a viable revenue model.  The inability to come up with a viable business model on Azure could quickly become Microsoft’s Achilles heel in gaining market adoption.

A photo collage of the event can be seen below (see Figure 1):

Figure 1. Microsoft WPC 2010 Flickr Feed

Source:Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Bottom Line For Buyers (Clients) – Expect Azure Solutions To Take Some Time To Mature

Microsoft delivers its solutions via an indirect selling model – partner ecosystems.  Adoption of technologies by Microsoft’s partners will determine what key features will be delivered to customers.  Given that Microsoft just began marketing Azure and the Cloud to partners, and partners must determine an appropriate business model, customers can expect a trickle of solutions in the next 12 months.  The majority of partners must find the right business model and this could take the next 2 to 3 years to come to fruition.

Your POV

Microsoft customers, what’s your view on SaaS vs Cloud and Azure?  Ready to embrace Azure as a deployment option from your partners?  Are you looking at private, public, or hybrid cloud options?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

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Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • Simon – thanks for letting us know. anyone else find reasons why they can’t user Azure SQL Services? – Ray

  • Not a Microsoft partner, but think that there is a lesson here.

    Business tends to follow the more efficient channel. Particularly when the core product is bits – as it is with software.

    VARs and integrators must continuously swim upstream in the value rapids because technology commoditizes. This tends to happen over time but can be disrupted thanks to business model changes. Broadband networks and grid computing has made cloud computing viable. Hence, the Microsoft channel needs to leverage Azure to enhance their value – which is primarily at the top of the software stack.

    Cloud computing is one of many forces commoditizing infrastructure. Open source has become a leading source for middleware. And, commercial middleware and software stacks have become more for less.

    VARs who prosper from Azure will do so by recognizing that their value comes not from integrating SQLServer with Dynamics or setting up server farms. It comes from unique competencies in one or more niche markets.

    As some in the channel struggle with the revenue model implications (how salespeople get paid, long-term revenue, need for improved support to get that revenue, commoditization of what was once charged), others will recognize that cloud computing facilitates geographic expansion within niche markets.

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