The recently concluded Microsoft ISV Summit emphasized the value the company is providing to partners through the transition to cloud based offerings. There were a few dozen executives in attendance from Microsoft’s U.S. managed partner community and we got the benefit of connecting with a large portion of the decision makers from the partner management team and key players in the product and program groups.
Bob McDowell, Vice President of Information Work Evangelism, recognized the shift to a consumerization of IT. He sees the strength of iPad market success as evidence of an emerging new model of user interaction and stressed that Microsoft is working to have its own offering in this space. We’re excited to see the results of their work and how we can apply these new tools to the needs of insurance carriers and agents. He also talked about the accelerating change in the IT market and suggested that we’ve hit a turning point in the perception of IT in enterprises. The focus is no longer on cost reduction, as the facilitation of competitiveness and innovation has taken top priority for organizations. He cited the datacenters analogy that Nick Carr made in his book The Big Switch that the movement to the cloud computing model is analogous to the switch away from privatized power production in the early part of the 20th century in the U.S.
Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President US Small, Mid-market Solutions & Partners Division, agreed with the focus on innovation rather than on costs reduction for CIOs. His view was clear that organizations need to treat IT as a strategic asset and not a cost center. He also noted that Microsoft CRM and CRM Online have seen 34% and 158% growth respectively in Q1/Q2, which suggests companies are not only making investments again, but doing so with a preference for cloud delivery.
“IT is viewed as a service now, and Microsoft is orienting its business to support companies in this transition”, said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President – Server & Tools Division. He opined that with Virtual Machines being deployed significantly faster than hardware servers, hybrid models of private, dedicated and shared clouds will pervade.
There were others like Allison Watson and Jim DuBois who focused on Microsoft’s significant investments and effort to move their internal applications to the cloud and saw a significant value in the move.
Finally, Jenni Flinders, Vice President – U.S. Partner Strategy & Programs, spoke about Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to partners and stressed that although the market is in a significant flux, Microsoft sees their partner channel as critical to its continuing success. It was great to hear this commitment from the executives, but more convincing to see it carried through in the programs and investments the company is making. We’re excited to see the great progress Microsoft is making and privileged to have been a part of this terrific event.