Yesterday at our Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), I talked to thousands of our partners about the opportunities and challenges presented by our industry’s shift to cloud computing.

While the path to cloud computing might be different for each customer, the economics, agility and focus the cloud provides will eventually prove irresistible to customers. For our partners, the resulting economic opportunity to work with those customers will, I believe, be equally irresistible.

Despite the clear opportunity and benefits of cloud computing, the shift may not be easy. However, while it may be challenging, it is necessary. At Microsoft, we are keenly aware of this challenge as we shift the world’s largest software business to the cloud, and we are committed to bringing our partners with us. Partners already work with us today, helping customers realize the benefits of the public cloud.

Wire Stone recently helped Boeing launch its “737 Explained” tool on Windows Azure, which gives prospective 737 customers a rich, immersive, virtual “walk through” of the plane. BrandJourney Venturing helped General Mills quickly create a new business outlet on Windows Azure that helps consumers find and purchase gluten-free products, Glutenfreely.com. Software partners are generating 20 percent to 250 percent of new revenue on Windows Azure by reaching entirely new customers, according to a study we commissioned from Forrester Consulting, “The ISV Business Case for The Windows Azure Platform.”

For customers who aren’t yet ready for the public cloud, we have more than 7,500 partners trained and ready to deliver cloud computing benefits through private cloud solutions built using Windows Server and System Center. For example, Convergent Computing has expanded its services with a Microsoft private cloud practice that has enabled one of its clients to save $1.2 million a month. Making the shift like Convergent helps partners grow their business in private cloud today, and gets them ready for the cloud possibilities of tomorrow.

The shift to cloud computing is clearly where we are adapting and evolving together. Whether you need to evolve your current business model, build out a new practice or re-invent yourself, we have the technologies, programs and incentives to help you do just that. You can find out more about all the announcements we made at WPC and how we are helping partners and customers make the transition to cloud computing on their terms.

Posted by Robert Wahbe
Corporate Vice President, Server & Tools Marketing, Microsoft