Directions Day 2: Partner Program Updates and Vision – Announcements from Directions 

Day 2 of the Directions conference was packed with announcements from Microsoft, focusing on the evolution of their partner program.

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    Day 2 of the Directions conference was packed with insightful updates and exciting announcements from Microsoft, focusing on the evolution of their partner program. Monique Hayward, Sr. Dir., Business Applications Ecosystem Mktg, took the stage during the keynote to outline Microsoft’s vision for the future of the partner ecosystem. 

    Monique stressed the importance of partners in empowering organizations worldwide, and how Microsoft aims to offer pathways for opportunity, growth, and innovation. She highlighted that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the fastest-growing segment in business applications, with Dynamics 365 Business Central leading the charge. Currently, there are over 300 SMB apps on AppSource, and partners can tap into an $82 billion addressable market. 

    Key takeaways from Directions Day 2:

    • SMBs are the fastest-growing segment in business applications. 
    • Microsoft’s vision: Be the industry’s preeminent partner ecosystem for business applications. 
    • Microsoft Cloud Partner Program offers a place for all partners and ISVs to thrive. 
    • Microsoft Learn Career Connected connects employers to people, tools, and resources for hiring the right talent. 

    Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

    The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is inclusive of all Microsoft partners and ISVs. Microsoft is dedicated to investing in the partner program, providing a platform for partners to thrive and succeed. They actively make changes and updates based on partner feedback. 

    Services partners and system integrator program updates include: 

    • SMB track and specialization with different thresholds: Enterprise or SMB 
    • Rate card change for CE 
    • Threshold adjustments for the program 
    • Coming soon – Developer certification for Business Central 

    Monique recommended partners to be proactive with solution partner designations and attend breakout sessions to learn about available programs. 

    Microsoft Learn Career Connected

    The Microsoft Learn Career Connected program connects employers with people, tools, and resources to ensure partners are hiring the right talent with the right skills. Microsoft announced a Business Central talent offering for North American partners, aiming to recruit and train Business Central consultants and attract top talent. 

    Seize the Business Applications SMB Opportunity with Targeted Strategies and Marketing Campaigns

    Day two of the Directions conference provided valuable insights into capturing the business applications SMB opportunity using targeted strategies and marketing campaigns. The potential for growth in this sector is immense, with Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform witnessing significant year-over-year revenue growth. 

    SMB Momentum and Opportunity

    Microsoft business applications are experiencing remarkable growth, with Dynamics 365 witnessing a 29% YoY revenue growth, and Power Platform enjoying a 50% YoY revenue growth. The business applications SMB market opportunity is ripe: 

    • 70% of SMBs plan to increase IT spending 
    • 53% of SMBs aim to digitalize business applications, especially finance 
    • $82 billion total addressable market 

    Now is the perfect time to sell Business Applications, as: 

    • Dynamics 365 has penetrated only 2% of the Microsoft 365 customer base 
    • ERP and CRM solution stickiness reduces churn to less than 6% 
    • Adding Dynamics 365 can increase average revenue per Microsoft 365 user (ARPU) by up to 84% and double Azure revenue for existing Azure customers 

    Top priorities for SMBs include enhanced digital security, reaching more customers, keeping staff engaged and productive, spotting and maximizing opportunities, and driving efficiency. 

    Better Together Value Proposition

    The more Microsoft solutions your clients adopt, the more secure and loyal they will become. Understand your customers’ pain points and offer tailored Microsoft solutions to address their needs. 

    Microsoft Marketing Tools

    Microsoft offers a range of marketing tools for partners to personalize content and reach target audiences. Cloud Ascent, available for free to all partners, enables you to grow your business by tapping into your existing customer base and leveraging customer opportunity reports. 

    Discuss customer pain points and explain how Microsoft solutions can help. Utilize Digital Marketing Content OnDemand to market to your target audience. This tool connects to your social media accounts and offers pre-built content that you can easily schedule and push live. It’s user-friendly and offers various themes and campaign options. 

    For partners without a robust marketing team, this tool is perfect for bolstering marketing initiatives. Each partner has access to their own campaign analytics, and all assets are available for partners to use as needed. 

    Activate CSP Offers and Promotions to Close the Deal

    Take advantage of the following offers and promotions to attract new customers and retain existing ones: 

    • CSP New Customer Promo: 16.7% discount on monthly subscription (valid until June 30, 2023) 
    • CSP Existing Customer Promo: 16.7% discount on monthly subscription (valid until June 30, 2023) 
    • Bridge to the Cloud II Promotion: 40% discount on any Dynamics 365 online licenses (valid until Dec. 2024) 

    As the conference progresses, stay tuned for more updates and insights from Directions 2023. Make sure to follow Stratos Cloud on LinkedIn for continuous updates and information from the conference.