Post by Jemima Herman, Worldwide Partner Conference lead for the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team.

It’s no secret that the cloud is having a big impact on how businesses of all sizes use data and work together. Earlier this year, on the Partnering with Precision blog, Microsoft U.S. Partner Vice President Jenni Flinders talked about the cloud’s business and economic impact and the results of an IDC study showing that the U.S. accounted for 62% of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services last year.

At this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference, opportunities abound to learn about and discuss the business of the cloud, as well as how to start, build, and grow your cloud practice around Microsoft Cloud Solutions, including Windows Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Private Cloud, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

For U.S. attendees at WPC in Toronto (fewer than 20 days away!), we are offering cloud-focused roundtables, sessions, and discussion opportunities throughout the Conference. There are more than 50 U.S. invitational roundtables planned, with more than half specifically about the cloud. At the SMB station in the U.S. Lounge (located in the Solutions Innovation Center and open Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-5:30pm), the Windows Intune team will be hosting cloud experts to lead educational discussions about the cloud and how you can use Microsoft cloud services to address common customer pain points. We’ll publish a detailed schedule for the U.S. Lounge here prior to the Conference, and watch @wpcus and #uslounge on Twitter for news about it there, too.

Cloud Session Recommendations

imageIn the U.S. Track on Thursday, July 12, here are four cloud sessions I recommend adding to your schedule in WPC Connect. Details about these sessions are in the Session Catalog at http://sessions.digitalwpc.com/topic/list. To see all of the U.S. Track sessions, filter by Track on US Sub (and you can add “cloud” to the search bar to further filter, as in the screenshot at right).

  • SMB Practice Development and Profitability in the Cloud (session US11). This is a must-attend for any partner organization serving small businesses and/or medium businesses who wants to add cloud-based solutions to its Microsoft practice. You’ll hear how other partners have positioned Microsoft-based solutions to gain profitability, and how to effectively cross-sell in the cloud.
  • Marketing Cloud (session US04). Partner consultant Howard Cohen will share the secrets of his success in the cloud services market. Join this session to learn about how to identify your markets, build your offerings, and overcome the myths associated with the cloud. If you’re even considering adding cloud services to your business, you don’t want to miss this overview of how to market the cloud.
  • Monetizing the Cloud—Strategies and Tactics to Move Your Business to the Cloud (session US08). I’m really excited about this session! It’s presented The Microsoft Delta Force team works with partners every day to grow their ability to deliver high-quality solutions. And these days they’ve been especially focused on the cloud. In this session, you’ll get a chance to hear Delta Force team members discuss strategies and tactics for capitalizing on cloud solutions.
  • The Next Wave of Productivity Heroes (session US07). If you’re curious about how to help your customers transform traditional productivity workloads and tools to the cloud, attend this session to learn how two early cloud partners, InterCall and AppRiver, succeeded in transitioning customers to cloud-based productivity applications like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office 365.

Finally, the U.S. Celebration 2012 on Tuesday, July 10 (6:30pm-8:30pm at Roy Thomson Hall, a one-block walk from the Solutions Innovation Center) will also give you an opportunity to “talk cloud” in a more relaxed (and Caribbean-themed) environment. While there, visit the outdoor patio area and join the U.S. Information Worker team, who have a couple of surprises up their sleeves, and plan to stop by the Services and Tools Business (STB) VIP lounge to talk about Windows Azure, Windows Server 2012, and more. Party admission requires a U.S. Celebration 2012 wristband—pick up yours in the U.S. Lounge on Monday or Tuesday between 11:30am-5:30pm. RSVP on Facebook for party updates and reminders: http://aka.ms/uspartyrsvp.

Stay informed about U.S. activities at WPC 2012, and join the U.S WPC Community: http://aka.ms/usatwpc.

I will see you in Toronto, and I look forward to hearing your cloud plans!