The Microsoft partner community can expect increased investment in industrial clouds and technical training in the coming year.
Microsoft’s fiscal year 2022, which began in July, will look like “another year of significant investment” for the vendor’s partner team, according to Nick Parker, Microsoft vice president for global partner solutions. Speaking at Microsoft Inspire 2021, Parker noted that partners influence over 95% of Microsoft’s business revenue.
At Inspire, Microsoft has increased its industry clouds with a sustainability cloud, which aims to help organizations manage their environmental effects. The company offers industrial clouds for healthcare, retail, manufacturing, financial services and the nonprofit sector.
“We will continue to prioritize deep investments with our industrial teams, building solutions with…partners in our industrial clouds,” Parker said.
Microsoft launched an industry strategy in fiscal year 2018, which covered sales, business development, and engineering.
Partners have benefited from the push of the cloud into vertical markets. Chris Woodin, vice president of business development and alliances at Softchoice, a Toronto-based technology services and solutions provider, said Microsoft’s industrial clouds make it easier to go to market and get vertically-oriented offerings.
“[Microsoft has] capabilities designed into the platform that uniquely solve a specific vertical use case,” said Woodin. These capabilities not only facilitate sales, but also reduce costs for Softchoice when deploying cloud services to meet a customer’s industrial needs. That’s because Microsoft engineering does much of the heavy lifting of industry-specific customization, which makes it easier for Softchoice to customize a cloud for a particular customer, he noted.
Core BTS, an Indianapolis-based MSP, said Microsoft’s industry focus aligns with Core BTS’ customer engagement strategy. “Over the past few years, we have worked hard to align sales moves and offerings with specific industry solutions,” said Tony Guidi, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Core BTS.
Microsoft accelerates partner training
As for Microsoft’s channel training program, the company will increase its skills investment by more than 250% for fiscal year 2022. The investment will cover programs such as virtual hands-on labs and technical skills content on-demand digital media,” said Rodney Clark, vice president of channel sales and head of channels at Microsoft.
Additionally, Microsoft will focus its training investments in specific product areas such as Power Platform line-of-business applications. Citing data from Forrester Research, Clark said the addressable market for line-of-business applications, including related services, will reach $582 billion by 2023. Low-code applications built with Microsoft PowerApps add another $40 billion to the addressable market, he added, citing data from Garner.
Azure, data analytics and AI are other areas of training investment. Investments in security, compliance and identification, meanwhile, will provide partners with the building blocks for growth, “from training and solution development to go-to-market,” it said. -he adds.
“These skills initiatives represent our expansion of technical acumen across the channel,” Clark said.
Microsoft channel policy updates
Other key Microsoft Inspire developments include:
- Microsoft said it is committed to increasing black and African American partner representation in its ecosystem by 20%. “Building a more inclusive partner community is our responsibility and can be a huge differentiator for us,” said David Totten, CTO of US Partner Solutions at Microsoft. “Over the next three years, we will also provide new routes and access to capital, as well as personalized advice and support to these businesses,” he said. the Microsoft Black and African American Partner Growth Initiative provides participating organizations with business resources and support.
- Partners offering offers on the Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace digital marketplaces will see commerce market fees drop to 3% from the industry standard of 20%, Parker said. Marketplaces have become important for IT service partners as a source of revenue.
- Microsoft will continue to invest in co-sellingingnoting $22.1 billion in contract co-sale value since fiscal 2018.
- Go-to-market programs will see a FY 2022 investment growth rate four times the FY 2021 investment rate, according to Microsoft.
Netrix acquires Contegix and expands in the Northeast
Netrix, a Chicago-based MSP and professional services firm, has acquired Contegix’s managed IT services business unit and expects to enter into additional deals this year.
Pennsylvania-based Contegix extends Netrix’s reach into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The transaction also adds scale to Netrix’s ITSM service center and cloud managed service offerings.
The Contegix acquisition follows Netrix’s December 2020 purchase of Los Angeles-based Prosum’s managed services business unit.
Netrix aims to build a national MSP and is also considering international expansion, said Rob Dang, CEO of Netrix. The company’s growing recurring revenue has also driven MSP’s acquisitions, he noted.
Other deals could emerge in 2021, though not directly related to the MSP sector, Dang said. Upcoming deals will focus on cloud refactoring, application development, data intelligence and product development. Netrix, which was recapitalized by OceanSound Partners in 2020, is also targeting organic growth, Dang said.
Cantey Tech seeks to grow with PE support
LNC Capital Partners, a private equity firm specializing in middle-market business services firms, has invested in Cantey Tech Consulting, a Charleston, SC-based MSP
Cantey Tech focuses on SMEs in the Southeast, while its subsidiary Cantey EDU provides IT support services to the education market. MSP has grown on average more than 20% per year for the past 13 years and the management team has set ambitious goals for the future, said Willis Cantey, President and CEO of Cantey.
LCN Capital Partner’s investment will provide support and resources to fuel Cantey Tech’s growth while maintaining its customer service levels, Cantey said. He cited the private equity firm’s track record of supporting portfolio company expansion, including growth through acquisitions.
Cantey Tech’s acquisition strategy is to acquire MSPs in the Southeast. Ideal acquisition candidates will have more than $2 million in revenue, significant recurring revenue from SMBs and a strong team, Cantey said. “We are currently evaluating acquisitions as far west as Texas and as far north as Virginia,” he said.
Focus Investment Banking, an investment bank, represented Cantey Tech in the transaction.
In other deals this week, West Hartford, Connecticut-based CompassMSP acquired the assets of Tarrytown, NY-based Tarrytech Computer Consultants.
Additionally, AllCloud, a cloud professional services company, acquired Integress, a Philadelphia-based data analytics company. Integress is a Snowflake Select Partner and an AWS Select Partner. AllCloud CEO Eran Gil said Integress data and analytics practice helps platforms like AWS and Salesforce meet in the middle, connecting back-office operations and front office. AllCloud leverages AWS and Salesforce practices.
- SoftwareOne, a Waukesha, Wisc. company that provides software and cloud offerings, has partnered with Commvault. Under the agreement, SoftwareOne becomes the first global partner to offer Commvault’s Metallic backup and recovery product. SoftwareOne will sell the SaaS data protection offering as BackupSimple. Manoj Nair, CEO of Metallic, said SoftwareOne will create managed services on top of Metallic.
- Anexinet Corp., a Philadelphia-based digital business solutions provider, has added Ping Identity to its list of partners. The partnership will combine identity and access management technology from Ping Identity with cybersecurity assessments from Anexinet.
- Aerospike, a NoSQL database company, has expanded its partner program, which focuses on system integrators, ISVs, cloud service providers and value-added resellers (VARs). According to the company, updates to the Aerospike Accelerate Partner Program include investments in technical, marketing and sales resources. Program participants can access a solutions lab, migration factory, and the company’s Ignite Go-to-Market workshop. The latter identifies real-time data opportunities with partners.
- LogicMonitor, a monitoring and observability platform provider for MSPs, has added 13 VARs to its partner network: AE Business Solutions, Alchemy Technology Group, Compunet, Empowered Networks, Evolving Solutions, GDT, Myriad360, OneNeck IT Solutions, Prescriptive Data Solutions, Software1, Technology Group Solutions, Thundercat Technology and Trace3.
- Komprise, a San Jose, Calif.-based data management-as-a-service provider, will support the AWS for Health initiative, which aims to facilitate migration to the cloud. The agreement provides Komprise reseller partners “a pathway to accelerate cloud adoption by healthcare and life sciences customers through a lock-in-free approach to cloud migration and tiering,” it said. said Caitlyn Possehl, head of Komprise’s global strategic alliance.
- Upstack, a web platform that sells cloud services through sales agents, has appointed Meghan Hambacher Wilkinson as senior vice president of customer experience. Wilkinson was previously CRO at Telarus.
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