Redmond, Washington is approximately 15 miles northeast of Seattle, boasts a population of roughly 54,000 residents and is home to a slew of theaters that host a variety of events, including everything from Broadway-style shows to classical music performances.
Microsoft is a Redmond-based software technology giant that ranked fourth on last year's Talkin' Cloud 100 list of the top 100 CSPs. It employs more than 122,000 workers worldwide and has capitalized on a rapidly expanding cloud services market over the past few years.
Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of Microsoft's worldwide partner group, told Talkin' Cloud that his company's commercial cloud revenue has sustained triple-digit growth for six consecutive quarters driven by the success of Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM. However, he pointed out that Microsoft's cloud success wouldn't have been possible without its channel partners.
"The momentum we've built behind our cloud services over the last few years is a tremendous accomplishment," Sorgen said. "And we couldn't have realized this success without our partners."
For Microsoft, the decision to move into the cloud services market was "a natural evolution," according to Sorgen.
"[We] had the breadth of technology and expertise to help our mutual customers embrace the cloud to manage and drive value from the explosion of devices, data and applications," he said. "In order to capitalize on this opportunity, Microsoft had to fundamentally reinvent and transform large elements of its business, and our partners are currently going through a similar transition. It is well worth the transformation, as we have the opportunity together to unlock $108 billion in cloud revenues."
Microsoft offers software, services, devices and solutions and has the largest partner ecosystem in the industry, Sorgen said. The technology company invests $5 billion annually in its channel operations, Sorgen noted, and Microsoft's partners are likely to continue to play important roles in its cloud success going forward.
Sorgen pointed out that Microsoft's partners have been at the core of its success for 35 years, and his company has taken steps to ensure its partners can educate customers about cloud services as well.
For example, Microsoft introduced new cloud-focused competencies based on performance for Office 365 and Azure. The company also changed how it integrates cloud into its competencies, Sorgen said, "making it easier for partners to do business with [Microsoft] and helping free up resources to invest more in their [companies]."
In addition, Sorgen said Microsoft "gave partners expanded capability to directly manage the entire lifecycle of customer cloud subscriptions with the launch of the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program."
To better support the channel, Sorgen said Microsoft is investing heavily in programs, resources and support "to help [partners] start and grow profitable cloud and hybrid practices."
Educating customers about cloud services is problematic for many CSPs, but Sorgen pointed out that his company is focused on teaching partners about its offerings. And by doing so, Sorgen said these partners can share this information with customers, and ultimately, ensure that their customers can fully leverage the cloud.
"Partners are crucial in helping to educate our mutual customers about the many benefits of the cloud and helping them find the right solution for their unique business needs," Sorgen said. "Listening to our partners is especially important ... and I couldn't do my job without the insights and feedback they provide."