Last year at the Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC), we announced our Office 365 Open program to include a broader range of offerings. The response we received greatly exceeded our expectations, with the number of partners selling Office on Open growing 16 times year over year.

At the same time, we also heard feedback that partners want to engage at every part of the customer lifecycle – from sales to renewal, from billing and provisioning, to support of their customers.

To address this feedback, we are announcing the expansion of capabilities for cloud partners under the new Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program, unveiled today at WPC. Partners in this program will be able to directly provision customer subscriptions and provide one monthly bill for both Partner and Microsoft services. They will also directly manage their customer subscriptions with in-product tools in the Partner Admin Center and own the technical support relationship.

The new program will open up interesting opportunities for our partners including distributors, MSPs, ISVs and hosting providers to package their solutions with Microsoft cloud offerings. Beginning with Office 365 and Windows Intune, the Cloud Solution Provider program will be rolled out to select partners in 48 countries over the next 12 months. We will continue to expand this platform to all of our cloud offerings, including Microsoft Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and more.

WPC Office Artemis Infographic_V4_071014-01 

Partners have also told us that customers realize real, long-term value from Office 365 once they’re fully onboarded, and partners can offer support and value-added solutions through services and applications. To accelerate customer time-to-value, we are evolving the FastTrack for Office 365 methodology to include enhanced onboarding assistance as a service benefit for qualified Office 365 purchases, starting this fall.

The enhancements will include a proactive onboarding support center for partners and customers. We will automate repeatable and consistent elements of deployment, relying on partners to lead onsite work, remediation, scheduling, program management, complex identity work and other tasks. Our goal is to attach a partner to every customer for early onsite services, as well as follow-on work. We expect this new “concierge” style service to significantly increase the opportunity for leads to our best performing partners.

Additionally, we are happy to announce an FY15 Adoption Offer coming this fall. Under this offer, qualified purchases will be eligible to use the promotional benefit to have Microsoft migrate their email remotely, or to receive funds to pay a partner for activities such as desktop remediation, migration (email or other workloads), and other adoption-related activities.

Finally, many of our Office 365 partners have experienced the exclusive partner support under the project codenamed Apollo. We were asked to continue and mainstream this program, and I am happy to announce the continuation and official launch of this service – now called Signature Cloud Support, exclusively available to our high performing partners in all Silver and Gold Cloud Performance competencies starting in September.

I want to thank our partners for their continued feedback and candid dialogue. We have implemented these programs based on these conversations, and truly believe that these are the right updates to help our partners become even more successful and to bring as much benefit to our mutual customers as possible.

Published: 7/16/2014 5:59