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Cloud message resonating with Microsoft partners

Juan Carlos Perez | July 21, 2014
Microsoft has been screaming "cloud" in many partners' deaf ears for several years, but the company found a more receptive audience at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference.

Versium, a predictive data analytics company, is an example of a new partner attracted by Microsoft's cloud products. Versium partnered with Microsoft about six months ago, after learning about the new Office 365 Power BI and Azure ML (Machine Learning) services.

"What we do as a business is very much in line with the Azure ML and Power BI stuff they're doing, so it's a shared vision," said Chris Matty, CEO of Versium, which is based in Redmond, Washington, also Microsoft's home city.

Then there are those partners who have jumped with both feet into cloud computing, and came to WPC to make sure Microsoft is all in as well and moving in the right direction.

"They're investing heavily [in the cloud] and want everybody to move there, so I just want to see how committed they are to making that [transition] smooth," said Peter Senescu, president of MetaVis Technologies in Exton, Pennsylvania.

MetaVis, an ISV (independent software vendor), currently generates about 60 percent of its revenue from sales of a toolset it developed to help companies migrate to and manage Office 365. His main interest at the conference was Office 365's SharePoint Online and its OneDrive for Business cloud storage component.

"We're optimistic Microsoft will get their customers to move to the cloud and we have tools that help facilitate the [cloud] movement and management, so that'll be a good business for us," he said. "We just have to be clear what their direction is, and that this is going to happen."

That wasn't entirely clear until recently for Dot Net Solutions, a cloud services reseller and integrator in London, which shifted from an on-premises software business model about five years ago.

"It was a big risk when we first did it," said Dan Scarfe, founder of the 10-year-old company. "We spent about four years bashing our head against a brick wall, and in the past year the doors have opened and we're getting a lot of traction. A sea change happened in the past 12 to 18 months."

The partners interviewed all said they feel positive about Microsoft's direction and about their opportunities as partners.

"I'm very optimistic," said Lim Soon Jinn, CEO of Heulab, an ISV and systems integrator in Singapore. He came to WPC seeking more information about CityNext, a partner program focused on local government customers, like cities and counties, and about Azure and Windows, platforms for Heulab mobile apps.

Microsoft is in a much better place today than two years ago, after the rocky launch of Windows 8 and its lukewarm reception in the market, said Dot Net Solutions' Scarfe. "It feels like Microsoft has got its mojo back," he said.

 

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