Washington D.C. played host to this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, with over 16,000 of the vendor’s global partners in attendance. The 4 day conference gave the opportunity for the Microsoft chiefs such as Kevin Turner and Satya Nadella to lay out the strategic direction the business will take over the next 12 months. Microsoft’s big bets are on mobility, devices and of course, cloud.  ‘Mobile first, cloud first’ as Microsoft say.

One of the main talking points in Washington was the decision to re-brand Microsoft’s cloud technology from Windows to Microsoft Azure, as the hosting platform goes beyond Windows and becomes more flexible, allowing users to host 3rd party applications such as Linux and Salesforce on Azure. A further announcement in the amendments to Microsoft Azure was the altered payment options; from August this year, Microsoft partners will be able to resell Azure on open licensing programs.

This is a clear positive for the end user customer, operating on a pay as you go cloud platform, but this change is also set to benefit partners significantly by transforming the way they sell Azure.

Previously, partners did not charge directly for the end users infrastructure hosting, Microsoft did. Partners sold the service, which Microsoft reaped the reward from.  But from now on, partners will be able to purchase a set amount of storage space, which can then be sold at the partner’s own rate of choice, effectively allowing them to set their margins. This will enable partners to make their Azure hosting contracts more profitable, especially when selling their complimentary applications and services alongside the cloud platform’s storage capacity as part of a SaaS (Software as a Service) package.

This announcement is great news for our Microsoft hosting partner customers; not only will they experience reduced project costs by utilising itec’s service excellence and comprehensive skill set, but they will also be able to generate greater profit margins on the sales of the Azure platform itself, making the cloud an overall more enticing proposition.