Microsoft Partners have not been quiet about some of their displeasure with Office 365. O365 committed a cardinal sin in business; in the eyes of some partners, Microsoft stole the business relationship with the customer from the partner by direct invoicing the customer. In some parts of New Jersey, that’d get you swimming with the fishes, capiche?
I work with Microsoft partners. I have had more than a few tell me that they wouldn’t bring Microsoft in on a meeting because of the Office 365 and cloud first strategy that would be pitched, attempting to “steal” that relationship. To be honest, I felt their pain. He who owns the invoice, owns the customer’s business. And therefore, many partners continued to steer the customer away from Microsoft’s public cloud services. Remember, in this world, the MSFT partner is the IT department, they are the trusted advisor, they are the ones presenting the viable solutions and discrediting the “bad ones”. You have to bring the partner on board to have a hope of getting Office 365 to be the norm in this space.
Throw in the disquiet about the disappearance of SBS (with on premises Exchange/SharePoint) as a product, left with Windows Server 2012 Essentials (designed to work with Office 365), and the MSFT partner working in the SME space was left like they were not loved.
And what do you get? Angry partners who saw Microsoft as competing with them. That was never going to win for Microsoft.
Microsoft had to change.
And today they announced Office 365 Open Program.
Key points of this new partner friendly program are:
- Microsoft partners can invoice their customers for Office 365, bundling in additional value added services
- Partners can earn up to 23% margin in the first year, way above the 11% that currently is available
I use Office 365 for my own stuff. I like it. It has been trouble free for me. It was a pity that the only obstacle to the product was legal crappola (see The Curse of Zune). I’ll be very interested to see when this new program will launch, and what the actual details of it will be.
I want to hear from MSFT partners that are selling Office 365. What do you think?