The Microsoft Cloud will function as a key ingredient of the company's partner growth strategy in fiscal year 2022.
At Microsoft Inspire 2021, corporate executives touted the cloud platform as a comprehensive technology stack that edges out its rivals. In FY 2022, Microsoft plans to use the platform to provide partners with innovations that will help expand revenue and profitability.
"Innovation starts with the Microsoft Cloud," said Tyler Bryson, Microsoft corporate vice president of U.S. global partner solutions, at Microsoft Inspire.
Bryson described the company's cloud as a "holistic offering that spans applications, infrastructure, data, AI, developer tools, services, security, compliance, business process, collaboration, [and] it now also includes the release of our industry clouds."
Microsoft ranks second globally in IaaS market share after Amazon, according to Gartner. Microsoft IaaS revenue grew to $12.7 billion in 2020, and market share increased to 19.7% in 2020 from 17.4% in 2019, the market research firm reported in a June 2021 update on the global IaaS market.
"There is a circuit between the Microsoft Cloud and your opportunity as our partners," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during his Inspire keynote. "If you are an Azure partner today, you are a Microsoft Cloud partner. If you are a Microsoft 365 partner, you are a Microsoft Cloud partner. If you are a Dynamics 365 partner, you are a Microsoft Cloud partner."
Nadella summarized the company's case to partners: "No other cloud offers our breadth or our depth."
Partners cite cloud integration
Microsoft's ability to combine infrastructure, productivity offerings and business applications, along with a set of common tools for security and analytics, helps set Microsoft's cloud apart from others, said Chris Woodin, vice president of business development and alliances at Softchoice, a technology services and solutions provider based in Toronto.
Satya NadellaCEO, Microsoft
"That is the differentiation: a single platform that customers can build their transformations on," Woodin said.
"We have a lot of focus around Microsoft Cloud, and, given that amount of work that we do within that ecosystem, we are seeing that our clients are much more favorable to that [platform] than the other cloud platforms," said Rob Dang, CEO at Netrix, an MSP and professional services firm based in Chicago.
"We do see a lot more integration between the infrastructure, application stack and the collaboration stack," added Netrix vice president of corporate development Don Penland. He cited the newly unveiled Teams integration options with Dynamics 365 as an example.
"I do think they are the leaders," Penland said of Microsoft. He noted that AWS and Google Cloud Platform have focused more on infrastructure or siloed application development. The other public cloud platforms are catching up, but Microsoft has an opportunity to maintain its differentiation, he said.
Microsoft's cloud integration lets Netrix "create more value with those customers with the same talent and resources that we have across the different technologies and platforms," Penland added.
With that said, Dang noted growing customer demand for a multi-cloud approach that spreads risk across more than one vendor and platform.
Meeting in the middle
Tony Guidi, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Core BTS, an MSP based in Indianapolis, said Microsoft has aligned itself with the confluence of cloud, applications and data.
"Microsoft … provides us with the only cloud that supports multi-cloud, hybrid and edge needs today," Guidi said.
Microsoft's investments in areas such as Industry Clouds, Azure Arc, Azure Synapse, AI and collaborative apps gives partners a platform on which to create "innovative solutions that drive positive outcomes for our clients," he said.