Microsoft's global SMB boss has revealed that more than half of revenue in its SMB business comes from cloud technology as he talks up the opportunity for smaller partners and customers to take advantage of up-and-coming kit like Hololens.
Speaking to CRN at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, Microsoft's global SMB chief David Smith said that the milestone is hugely significant for the business.
"In terms of the last year, in our breadth SMB business, we crossed the 50 per cent mark in terms of cloud contribution," he said. "If you compare what we do on our traditional on-premise business versus what we're doing on hybrid, partner-hosted and public cloud - like Office 365, Azure, CRM Online, EMS and Skype for Business - we've made a dramatic transformation and that has happened in the last 12 months.
"50 per cent of the results we're getting in terms of revenue is coming from cloud in breadth, and that's the first time in history we have done that in SMB."
Throughout WPC, executives have focused on technology such as Hololens - a mixed reality product which allows customers to see the real world mixed with "digital artefacts". Japan Airlines was used as a Hololens case study by Microsoft during the main keynote on Monday.
Smith insisted the technology - and other new products which were demoed at the event - have as much place in the SMB market as they do among mid-market and enterprise firms.
"I have a strong belief, a very strong belief, that this is a prime area for SMBs to take advantage of," he said. "When you think about SMBs, you think about entrepreneurial spirit and new creative ideas. I am blown away by the entrepreneurial spirit in this space. For context, I have been on the enterprise team at Microsoft for most of my career, and for the last five years in this space, and the spirit [in the SMB] space is everywhere."
When asked if smaller customers have deep enough pockets for such up-and-coming kit, Smith stopped short of revealing specifics on price, but said:
"Microsoft has done a good job of democratising IT. I am big believer in the SMB bill of rights. SMBs have a right to security; a right to mobility; a right to collaboration. They have a right to Hololens and a right to IOT. They also have a right to have it in a reliable, confident, predictable model from the technology vendors and the reseller ecosystem. Microsoft provides the ability for SMBs to realise their potential in this way. It's a really big deal."
"We are not leaving any of these customers behind. Trust me."
Back in 2012, Microsoft ditched its Small Business Server product, which some partners in the SMB channel said signified the vendor turning away from its traditional channel.
Smith insisted that traditional SMB customers are not getting left behind as it moves towards the cloud.
"I love these customers because they have bet on Microsoft and they're looking for a path forward," he said. "We embrace their many creative ways and how we can help them grow. When you think about what we've done with Office 365 and how it has Exchange Online, the ability to do world-class enterprise email, the way we can do SharePoint, sharing documents, the way we can do Skype for Business in that monthly, great-value price point, we have effectively replicated Small Business Server in many ways and we are doing it in a way that allows small businesses to save money.
"We've worked with many SBS customers to help them move to the cloud at the pace they want to and this is a key thing I want to spend a lot of time on. Microsoft's number one job is to enable these small businesses and mid-size businesses to move to cloud at their pace. That means the best of on-premise, the best of hybrid - that means partner hosted - and public cloud. And we are not leaving any of these customers behind. Trust me."
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