Microsoft drives four-frontal assault on Partner program

Microsoft kicked off Worldwide Partner Conference with plans to revamp the company’s partner program, revealing four new incentives for partners.

Unsurprisingly focused around cloud, the recently appointed General Manager, Worldwide Partner Group Gavriella Schuster promised reduced fees among many changes to the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

“There has never been a more exciting time to partner with Microsoft to grow your business, grow your profitability and lead the way into these new markets,” Schuster told 16,000 attendees during Day One of WPC 2014.

First up, plans are in place to waive partners first year entry into the silver cloud competencies, a move Schuster believes will help free up funds for business growth and investment.

In addition to this, Microsoft is also changing the primary eligibility requirement to be based on partner ability to drive active usage on Office 365 and Microsoft Azure consumption.

Plainly speaking, the software giant will lay provide further training for partners, while measuring partner eligibility through direct performance targets.

“Second, we want to enable you to use the cloud services and increase your personal credibility through your own experiences, so we are enhancing the internal use rights for Office 365 and Azure,” adds Schuster, who took up the role in May this year.

Thirdly, Microsoft is providing partners with unlimited cloud support through the company’s new Signature Cloud Support.

In the months ahead, Schuster says the new performance path will be extended to the cloud and CRM Online, offering partners the opportunity to build Office 365, Azure and CRM Online cloud and hybrid practices.

“The value is not just for cloud competency partners,” adds Schuster, alluding to Microsoft’s fourth partner program announcement. “The entry fee for all on-premises competencies will be cut by up to 10%.

“This is just a first step – we intend to continue looking for ways to lower the cost of doing business with us for every partner.”

According to Schuster, an 18 year Redmond veteran, the changes reflect her new priorities in the role, with a strong focus around enabling partners to “capture customer opportunity” and the ability to work with Microsoft on a simpler level.

“This is our first step to deliver a more simplified and consistent experience for you to partner with Microsoft,” summed up Schuster.

“Our goal with the four investments we announced today is to help you take your first steps in building out your cloud and hybrid practices to unlock that Year 2 recurring revenue stream.”

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