More than 16,000 attendees gathered on the opening day of the 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. to hear about opportunities for partners to grow their business and win together with Microsoft in the year ahead.
 
Putting partners first is our go-to-market strategy has always been key to our joint success, and it will continue to be a priority in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world.  On stage during today’s Vision Keynote, we made several announcements that put partners at the center of customer cloud adoption. These announcements were:
 
Integration of Cloud into the Microsoft Partner Network
 
We are launching three new cloud-focused competencies based on performance for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. The new competencies are:
• Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions: For partners selling Microsoft Office 365 to small and mid-market customers.
• Cloud Productivity: For partners deploying Microsoft Office 365 for enterprise customers.
• Cloud Platform: For partners who specialize in delivering infrastructure, PaaS and SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure.
With the announcement today, we will retire the Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment and Azure Circle programs and provide a path for partners to migrate to the new cloud competencies.
 
We are also changing the way we integrate cloud into our competencies to make it easier for partners to invest more in their business and plan to do this in four ways

• Waiving the first year fee for Silver cloud competencies
• Enhancing Internal Use Rights for Office 365 and Azure, providing between 25% and 200% more IUR licenses depending on the competency level achieved
• Signature Cloud Support is our exclusive support solution that helps cloud partners better support their customers. Launching in September, Signature Cloud Support provides partners with direct contact into a high-quality support team.
• To enable partners to continue to make the investments necessary to succeed in the cloud, we also announced that we are reducing the fees for on-premises competencies by up to 10%.

Another way we are helping partners transition to the cloud is by providing the tools and resources to get started on our new cloud services. Today we’re announcing Azure Machine Learning University, a portfolio of online self-service learning assets designed to get partners started with Azure ML. Machine Learning University will provide partners with an overview of Azure ML, and walk through the data science life cycle from importing data to building predictive models and deploying in production.
 
Cloud Solution Provider program: The Cloud Solution Provider Program allows partners to engage at every part of the customer lifecycle. Partners will serve as the main point of contact for all customer needs, including billing, provisioning, support and, most importantly, the ability to sell their own tools, products and services with every Office 365 subscription. This new program provides our partners with increased opportunities and ensures our mutual customers can rely on their dedicated strategic partner to get the most out of Office 365, Windows InTune and eventually other Microsoft cloud solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing: The addition of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to Microsoft Open Licensing Programs means that small business and mid-market customers will be able to gain access to the full suite of Microsoft Online Services in a way that fits their current engagement with their partner or service provider. This represents a huge opportunity for Microsoft distributors and resellers who will be able to transact Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to their existing and new customers through the licensing model they are used to. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing will be available later this fiscal year.

Azure in Open Licensing: Microsoft Azure will be available via the Open Licensing program beginning on August 1, 2014, making it easier for partners to build a profitable cloud business. This provides partners with a familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities to grow revenues and deepen customer relationships.

Azure Certified Program: The new Azure Certified logo certification program will empower Microsoft partners to grow their business through new opportunities to promote and sell their applications and services on Azure. The program includes co-marketing assistance, a listing on the Azure website and access to the Azure customer base via placement in the Azure Management Portal.

Azure Machine Learning University: Machine Learning University offers online step-by-step instruction to help partners get started on working with Machine Learning right away. Azure Machine Learning will help partners build advanced analytic cloud services for their customers in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications.

Office 365 Onboarding and Signature Customer Support

All the keynotes will be available on demand from digitalwpc