ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

Five key takeaways from Microsoft’s partner conference

By Heather Wright
Fri 9 Sep 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Differentiation, partnership, and Microsoft’s re-embracing of ISVs in a world where cloud is now everything – for Microsoft at least – were topics attendees at this year’s Microsoft Australia Partner Conference couldn’t miss.

Cloud is everything

A year ago, Microsoft’s cloud solution provider (CSP) program was still emerging as a player, this year, from the opening keynotes through, cloud was the dominant force, as the vendor called on its partners to ‘define your future’.

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft CVP worldwide partner group, highlighted the opportunity cloud presents Microsoft and its partners, noting IDC forecasts that the public cloud market will hit $195 billion by 2020 with the greater cloud market, including public cloud, private cloud and the services around them, expected to reach $500 million.

Microsoft, however, believes the addressable opportunity for it, and its partners, is six to seven times larger than that.

“We have barely scratched the surface of the addressable opportunity ahead of us,” Schuster says. “That’s the part that is truly exciting.”

Phil Goldie Microsoft Australia director of partner business and development, says recent research with IDC globally showed only 7% of customers had no intention of doing anything in cloud.

“That number is getting to approach nothing. So if you’re sticking in a non-cloud world, you are fundamentally in a shrinking, almost close to zero market.

“Then the question is can I deliver sufficient increased value to the customer with what I can offer in the cloud – better features, faster innovation, better products, better customer experience?

“The rest of it is then just about managing risk. There are certainly regulatory things but they’re being pretty quickly overcome.

“We’re super clear that there is no non-cloud market remaining,” Goldie says.

“That’s not that everything goes to the cloud, but there is no remaining market for a strictly non-cloud approach.”

Changing times

Change may be a constant in the tech sector, but cloud has wrought perhaps bigger than usual changes for both Microsoft and its partners.

Goldie says Microsoft’s partner network, noted that one-third of those attending APC this year were there for the first time, including increasing numbers of born in the cloud partners.

He says the vendor now has 3500 cloud partners across Australia – a number that has doubled in the last 12 months.

“One-third of those partners have now realised the unique benefits of moving to higher value, recurring annuity revenue streams on platform like CSP,” Goldie says.

“There’s massive momentum in terms of our business together, but despite all of that the opportunity that lies ahead remains absolutely stunning.”

Goldie says Microsoft will focus on ‘continually helping customers deploy and get value from all the technology they’ve made with us’.

“That remains a big opportunity for everybody.”

But the company is also eyeing up new opportunities.

“We’ve also got big opportunities to grow our share of new multi-billion dollar opportunities like enterprise voice with Skype for Business; or build new practices in areas like security, big data and application development to keep growing the intelligent cloud platform for Microsoft,” Goldie says.

“And we’re going to build new industry solutions with our amazing cross section and portfolio of ISV partners, building industry-specific value with new types of software and new types of applications.”

Differentiate yourself to survive

A key push for Microsoft is to encourage partners to find a point of differentiation.

Schuster says Microsoft is delivering the platform – or ingredients – for partners, who must then take those ingredients and create their own recipe.

Key to creating those new ‘recipes’ is to move from being a generalist to being a specialist.

“Instead of thinking about being all things to all people, taking any customer that comes in the door, you have an opportunity to be selective, to understand where your profitability is and to focus on that and own that piece of the market,” Schuster says.

Michael Wheaton, Microsoft CSP program global director, went a step further, actively encouraging the channel to ‘learn to disqualify customers’ and not be afraid of passing on some customers and focusing instead on high-profit prospects for whom they can best meet the unique customer needs and build services around them. 

Adds Goldie: “It’s key for our traditional channel to really think about… specialisation and doing one or two three pieces of the puzzle, and everything else will come from different partnerships.”

Partner up, partner

That differentiation is helping make new partnerships more viable.

“It’s not as hard as it might sound,” Schuster says, of partners partnering up with companies that may in the past have been seen as competitors.

“As partners grasp the understanding of what differentiates them and move away from just reselling services or delivering commodity services, they have an opportunity to say ‘this is my niche, what you are doing is complementary to my own’.”

Says Schuster: “As you specialise what it drives you to is partner to partner engagement.

“Understanding what your unique value proposition in the market is, what your unique differentiator in the market is, and who your customers are and then looking around and building your own ecosystem.”

Welcome back ISVs

And speaking of ecosystems, this year has seen Microsoft re-focused on the ISV community in the wake of cloud’s increasing rise – and the need to help partners drive new revenues in order to make up for the move to subscriptions.

“Quite deliberately the software companies, the ISVs, around the ecosystem of Microsoft are taking very much centre stage,” Goldie says.

“We’ve been talking about the need to get focused on differentiation and specialisation, whether at the technology level but increasingly at the industry level,” he says, alluding to the increasing need to piece together different components into a unique offering.

He says Microsoft is looking at how to make ISV offerings ‘potentially a SKU within CSP’.

One ISV says Microsoft has been ‘supportive and understanding’ that under cloud ‘there needs to be more than what is just put on the table for one product’.

“You’ve got to maybe end up with 10 products at the end of the day to get back to the same position you were prior to subscription, because that’s kind of the ratio,” he says.

“The support we’re getting from the team around helping partners add more attach rate to those extra products so they increase the revenue, is important.

“So they’re looking after the partners who have made that transition. It’s not just you’ve sold Office 365. What else can be thrown in there to increase the revenue rate of the customer and add value back to the customer base.

“It’s about understanding that the journey isn’t simple to make and it does cost a lot of money across all divisions.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Testing
Google and CSIRO use AI to help protect the Great Barrier Reef
Google has partnered with CSIRO in Australia to implement AI solutions that help protect the Great Barrier Reef.
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet's Security Fabric hits new record for integrations
The Fortinet Security Fabric has surpassed 500 technology integrations with more than 300 Fabric-Ready Technology Alliance Partners.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Microsoft
Avaya expands Microsoft partnership to deliver OneCloud on Azure
The joint technology and go to market agreement will help customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives in the cloud.
Story image
Appian
Appian awarded billions in damages against Pegasystems Inc.
Appian has been awarded USD$2.036 billion in damages against Pegasystems Inc as the result of a jury verdict in the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS launches human-focused responsible innovation initiative
SAS has launched a responsible innovation initiative, furthering its commitment to equity and putting people first.
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
Why SolarWinds Partners will have big wins in 2022
We summarise the key recent changes that the monitoring software vendor has made to accelerate its channel business.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Three key security challenges facing the Australian insurance industry 
Insurance companies must ensure they proactively address security challenges and protect the privacy of customer data.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Training
Fortinet training edges toward closing cybersecurity gap
The Fortinet Training Institute has made significant progress in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, on track to train one million people by 2026.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ANU and Seeing Machines to use AI to improve driver safety
The Australian National University and Seeing Machines have won a grant to develop AI systems monitor human behaviour while driving.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.
Story image
Malware
Sharp increase in phishing as cybercriminals leverage SEO to lure victims
"Malware lurking everywhere, from cloud apps to search engines, leaving organisations at greater risk than ever before."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat expands capabilities to provide streamlined application development in cloud
"Application development is undergoing significant change and developers need tools to support this transformation."
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Fastly
Fastly named 2022 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice
Fastly has announced it has been named a Customers' Choice in the 2022 Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer": Global CDN.
Story image
Gaming
Mastercard users can now use rewards points in gaming
Mastercard has launched Mastercard Gamer Xchange (MGX), allowing APAC consumers to convert their rewards points into gaming currency.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Logistics
TeamViewer and SAP combine AR and warehouse operations
TeamViewer combines its AR platform, Frontline, with SAP's Extended Warehouse Management solution, to make warehouse and logistics operations more efficient.
Story image
Malware
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Data
Aussie data & analytic execs not confident in data strategy
Less than half of Australian data and analytics leaders are confident in their data strategy as siloes and lack of culture prevent innovation.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Telstra
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital delivers 5G to the cinemas
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital say they've launched Australia's fastest and most secure delivery of content over 5G for cinemas.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Red Hat and Accenture expand alliance for hybrid cloud
Red Hat and Accenture have announced the expansion of their partnership, collaborating on new offerings to assist businesses in their cloud continuum operations.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hewlett Packard Enterprise hosts Channel Reignite sessions
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) hosted its HPE Channel Reignite sessions in Sydney and Melbourne last month to reconnect with the channel partner community.
Story image
Hawaiki Cable
BW Digital completes acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable
BW Digital has completed its full acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, with all applicable regulatory filings and approvals now received.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Manufacturing
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Adyen
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Nokia
Nokia and Optus reaches new 5G levels using Samsung
Nokia and Optus have achieved the world’s first 3CC Carrier Aggregation 5G SA data call using a commercial Samsung headset in Australia.