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Microsoft is gearing up for its Inspire event and has already indicated that it is going to be using promotions around server, SQL and with its Teams application to get more users to make the transition to the cloud.
At the same time the vendor has taken steps to help customers identify those partners that are best positioned to give them the help they need in undertaking a migration to the cloud.
Microsoft has launched the Azure expert managed service provider programme that gives those in the channel that have made investments to get on top of the technology with a chance to differentiate themselves.
"I consistently hear from customers that what matters most when selecting a managed service partner is demonstration of real-world experience, whether the partner is assessing, migrating, building, deploying, optimizing or efficiently managing business solutions on Azure," stated Corey Sanders, corporate vice president Azure in a blog post.
"Azure Expert MSPs complete a rigorous audit by an independent third party, and also provide multiple customer references of Azure managed services projects delivered over the last 12 months. Furthermore, to retain the badge, these expert partners need to continue to meet pre-requisites annually and complete a progress audit every year," he added.
Microsoft is working hard to convince those users that are still yet to make the leap into the cloud that not only does it have the technology but there are partners out there that can hold their hands through any migration process.
The channel is already delivering with the vendor noting that in its third fiscal quarter Azure revenue increased by 93%, with the channel helping gain a large chunk of that growth.
"We hear from partners that specialization is key to growth. This concept has been a cornerstone of our profitability guidance to partners and many have taken that message to heart. The ask to Microsoft, from partners and customers, is to do more to help customers find the right partners with the right solutions," stated Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner, in a further blog post.
"We’re announcing new ways for partners to demonstrate their proven expertise to customers with the introduction of new advanced specializations and the new Microsoft Azure Expert MSP initiative. Partners can now demonstrate that they have the right capabilities to help with specific customer business challenges," she added.
Only 32 partners have been given the expert status so far, with one of them being Ensono, which has successfully gone through the accreditation process.
“The Azure Expert MSP designation provides our clients with the reassurance that we are the right partner to take their cloud strategies to the next level,” Ensono executive vice president of technology and strategy Brian Klingbeil said. “Our clients and global businesses looking to transform can be assured we provide optimal managed Azure services and a seamless digital transformation journey.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will take to the stage on Wednesday afternoon for his keynote with the focus likely to be on talking about how collaboration in the modern workplace requires different tools and approaches. That will give him a chance to push Azure, Office 365 and getting more customers using hosted tools and services.