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“The Internet and the Cloud are here to stay! As small to large businesses look to lower their IT footprint by reducing the number of on premise servers with services delivered via the Internet, it is wonderful to have a partnership with ITUtility.NET to offer business with a cost effective, well supported and truly worry-free hosted solution. Hosted Exchange and Hosted SharePoint offerings bring the power of these services to enterprise businesses with the flexibility to scale to the smallest of businesses. Our partnership and Go to Market strategies will be a winner for many years to come.”Stuart Crawford, IT Business Consultant
Microsoft needs its small-business partners as much as they need Microsoft. But it appears the software giant didn’t always recognize the value of its partners. Because Microsoft thought its partners would play a smaller role in providing cloud solutions for end clients, the company underestimated their partners’ value and dismissed them as nothing more than advisors that would collect a commission for selling Microsoft cloud services.
One year after the launching of Office 365, Microsoft have awakened and realized the importance of its partners. As a result, the company has decided to allow its partners to bill their clients directly for providing them with Microsoft cloud solutions. But is that enough to keep partners happy?
It took Microsoft from Nov 17, 2008, when it launched Microsoft Online, until July 9, 2012, to realize that partners matter and Microsoft cannot conquer the cloud on its own. ITUtility.NET realized this when it incorporated in 2005, seven years before Microsoft. ITUtility.NET has been committed to the success of its clients from day one.
Being in IT for over 25 years, ITUtility founders saw the trend with PCs. The first PCs and networks were built on an ecosystem of partners from Microsoft for DOS, WordPerfect for word processing, Lotus for spreadsheets, Harvard Graphics for presentations, Aston Tate for databases, Novel for networking and HP for printers. There were also a slew of utility software providers such as Norton for PC tools, McAfee for anti-virus, etc.
In the early days, IT providers bought PC components and branded the PCs under their names and logos. That was the 90s. More than 20 years later, the cloud is transforming IT again, and the same ecosystem of partners is needed to help clients transition to the cloud the same way that they helped clients transition from limited or no technology to PCs and networks in their offices 20 years ago. This need in the 90s was filled by Microsoft Small Business Server, which Microsoft will replace with Windows Server 2012 Essentials beginning September 2012. This is a definite sign that times are changing.
Office 365 was designed for a customer-direct sell. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft can or will evolve this service to enable its partners to offer it as a partner offering. For example, can a partner login and see all clients under one screen? Does Microsoft provide an itemized format for all of a partner’s clients in one report? Does the partner get one invoice for all clients or one invoice per client?
The transition to the cloud will require Microsoft partners to adapt the cloud as part of their solution and work together to offer a seamless solution to the end client.
Are you looking for a trusted partner to help with your cloud solutions? Trust ITUtility.NET to be your partner-focused Microsoft hosting solution.