Microsoft has kicked off its Inspire event promising to put partners at the centre of what it is forecasting will be a $4.5trn transformation opportunity.
The firm is expecting the digital transformation trend will generate significant amounts of revenue for its partner base over the next few years.
Not only is Microsoft confident it can grab plenty of that transformation spending with technologies like Microsoft 365, which pulls together office 365, Windows 10 and enterprise mobility and security, working closely with hardware partners vendors to get its Azure stack out to a wider number of customers looking for hybrid solutions and by making it easier for ISVs to get business applications onto its cloud platform.
The vendor has revealed it is creating a dedicated channel manager role that will be focused on helping support partners with their go-to market efforts around Azure.
Microsoft has always had one of the largest channels and it is now starting to push that as a major asset and a positive that its rivals cannot match.
In a blog post to accompany the Inspire kick off Judson Althoff, executive vice president of the worldwide commercial business organisation at Microsoft, talked up the commitment to being partner first and the role that the channel plays in the vendor's fortunes.
"Our partners employ more than 17 million people around the world, and IDC estimates that Microsoft and its partner ecosystem will generating almost a trillion dollars in revenue in 2017," he wrote.
"The transformation our partners drive with customers is not new, though. For more than 40 years, we have been a partner-led company, which reflects the fact that we generate more than 95% of our business through our robust and constantly evolving partner ecosystem. Today, Microsoft has more than 64,000 cloud partners — more than AWS, Google and Salesforce combined," he added.
He also provided an update on the internal organisaton at the software vendor and the changes it was making that would have an impact on partners.
"To help partners innovate more, go to market faster and connect with the right customers at the right time, we are transforming how we engage with our partner community by bringing our partner facing roles into one organization. We have aligned all partner-facing roles to three primary functions: Build-with, Go-To-Market, and Sell-with. This will help simplify and optimize our engagement, drive increased collaboration and foster a culture of work that puts our partners first," he stated.
For ISVs Microsoft is making life easier with its Cloud Embed programme, which is designed to help developers modernise business applications.
What's coming in the programme later this year is Dynamics 365 embedded, Microsoft Flow embedded, PowerApps and Power BI embedded.
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For every $1 of Microsoft revenue the partner ecosystem generates $9.01
Microsoft welcomes 6,600 new partners a month
17m people are employed by partners around the globe
95% of commercial revenue comes from partners
There arev 64,000 plus cloud partners, which is more than AWS, Google and Salesforce combined
Partners receive 19% higher margins than the next closest competitor