Microsoft has showcased a range of new partner initiatives designed to help VARs achieve profitability in the cloud.
At the software giant’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Washington DC this week, the vendor lifted the lid on two cloud accreditation programmes that it plans to roll out in October to support partners at all stages of their journey into the cloud.
The first programme, the Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack, will be free for partners to join for the first year and is for VARs that are still in the process of working out how to incorporate cloud into their go-to-market strategies.
Partners that sign up to the programme will receive access to online sales tools, pre-sales and technical support and targeted cloud training.
The Microsoft Cloud Accelerate programme is aimed at partners that are more experienced in cloud-based deployments, with those wanting to join the programme needing to have at least three cloud-related customer references.
In return, VARs will receive a priority billing on the vendor’s online partner listings, exclusive access to Microsoft’s ongoing cloud product roadmap and unlimited pre-sales support for cloud deals.
Speaking to CRN from WPC, Microsoft’s director for strategy and programmes Clare Barclay said both programmes would help partners that simply want to resell cloud services or develop their own with Microsoft’s assistance.
She said: “It is up to partners to decide whether they want to lead with our offerings or provide their own customised cloud services using their own datacentre facilities.”
Asked about the number of UK partners she would like to sign up, Barclay said she had not yet got any final numbers in mind.
“For Cloud Essentials, I think we will get a very broad range of partners signing up, and a relatively smaller number signing up to the Cloud Accelerate programme because of the extra level of investment involved,” she said.
Barclay also confirmed that, to coincide with the launch of both programmes later this year, the vendor is planning a dedicated cloud event for UK partners unable to make it to WPC.
“We are trying to do everything we can to support our partners to win cloud business, and the programmes provide them with a specific way to engage with us in doing that,” she said.
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