Microsoft has unveiled a raft of new strategic planning resources and assets to help partners win deals and drive further cloud profit.
A new learning tool called Cloud Business Development Essentials has been revealed to offer best practices for building a profitable cloud partner practice.
According to Microsoft One Commercial Partner senior director of partner digital experience and programs Kymber Lowe, each resource path offers guidance on essential steps for cloud business development, including how to evaluate current capabilities to creating a business plan, shifting to a subscription revenue model, developing an industry focus and scaling the practice.
Lowe highlighted a new feature in the Transformation Readiness Assessment learning path as an important step in cloud business development and a starting place for guidance on how to improve cloud capabilities.
In a blog post, she advised partners to take the assessment regularly to evaluate their level of digital transformation across Microsoft’s core cloud capability categories.
“If you are developing new cloud solutions, or moving on-premises applications to the cloud, you can find guidance on building a recurring revenue stream by shifting from a time-and-materials revenue model to a subscription model,” she said. “You will also find tips for aligning sales and marketing activities with the new purchasing journeys of today’s cloud buyers.”
The learning path also includes preparation videos and a template for creating a lean, agile business plan.
A Microsoft Partner Network Pricing Guide has also been introduced to accompany Cloud Practice Development playbooks with options and recommendations for how to evaluate the creative pricing models now employed in the partner community, Lowe said.
“Value-based pricing strategies seek to drive consumption of cloud services and build off the value delivered with more services that can be added to a subscription over the customer lifetime,” Lowe said.
“The ability to provide subscription services through the cloud means the sales and marketing team is up-selling and cross-selling throughout the customer lifecycle; customers want to see their options to obtain specific outcomes and the price for each option. It also allows customers to upgrade their service to higher levels of value as their needs and trust in the provider grow.”
Microsoft is also offering tiered subscription services to help partners evaluate a pricing model that works for their practice, based on a collection of best practices for making the price an innovative component of the services offering, Lowe said.
“Cloud buyers now favour low risk, pay-as-you-go services with no upfront costs. Such services increasingly carry fixed prices and a vastly accelerated go-live to increase margins,” she said.
“Services with industry-specific customisation can deliver immediate value and return on investment.”
During its second quarter, Microsoft flagged a 34 per cent year-on-year increase in commercial cloud revenue with gains across the board including Office 365 commercial, Dynamics 365, Azure and server products.
“Accelerating demand for our differentiated offerings drove commercial cloud revenue to US$16.7 billion, up 34 per cent year over year,” said Amy Hood, Microsoft's executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We continue to benefit from our investments in strategic, high-growth areas.”