Channel technologies, Channel chiefs, Channel partner programs, CSPs, Vertical markets

Microsoft Promotes Office 365 Vertical Market Bundles

Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen
Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen

Microsoft's Office 365 cloud push is going vertical -- promoting a range of partner bundles for health care, agriculture, legal and more.

As part of the recent Office 365 Enterprise E5 launch, Channel Chief Phil Sorgen pointed partners to a growing ecosystem of integrated solutions.

Designed by channel partners, the Office 365 vertical and line-of-business solutions include:

  • SoftwareONE UK's Lawyer of the future, which is designed to help legal firms boost revenues. Plus, CandidateHub, which is designed for internal recruiters within organizations.
  • ProServe IT's Board Management Portal, which is designed for boards of directors. Plus, ProFarmIT -- an agriculture quality management solution that also drives down IT and governance costs. And ProDriveIT, a big data fleet management system.
  • Caase's Cloud in a Box for Health.

Distributors Prepare Office 365 Vertical Market Push

Microsoft isn't alone in the Office 365 vertical market partner push. During the Ingram Micro ONE conference in November 2015, sources at the distributor hinted that a range of vertical market cloud solutions for partners would potentially surface in 2016. Some of those solutions are expected to leverage Office 365.

Overall, this has been a banner year for Microsoft's cloud business -- especially as it relates to the IT channel. By most accounts, Microsoft Office 365's corporate installed base has leapfrogged Google Apps for Work -- though Apps certainly has momentum, and the company recently announced new Google Cloud executive leadership.

Back at Microsoft, the company during a Q1 2016 earnings announcement said commercial cloud revenues had achieved an $8.2 billion annual run rate. That's an impressive figure, but critics including former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have called on the company to disclose actual quarterly cloud revenues rather than run rates.

Office 365, Azure and More

Back in the IT channel, partners seem impressed with Microsoft's cloud services progress. But the first-movers are now shifting their focuses. The days of "reselling" Office 365 as a basic service appear to be over. A growing number of Microsoft partners are seeking ways to design and deploy workloads in the Azure cloud, while potentially connecting the dots between Azure and Office 365.

At the same time, Microsoft is prodding partners to go vertical with Office 365. Companies like SoftwareONE, ProServe IT and Caase are ahead of that curve.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.