Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it's just Microsoft 365. Word

All Redmond's major business offerings have become The One

By Andrew Silver

Posted in Software, 10th July 2017 15:28 GMT

Microsoft is squishing its major biz products into a single solution called – wait for it – Microsoft 365, CEO Satya Nadella announced at Inspire, Redmond's annual event for businesses that flog its wares. Not a single chair was flung, we can report.

Office 365, Windows 10, and enterprise mobility and security, will be peddled in two flavours: Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business, Nadella said. The latter, which adds device and licence management from a single location, will be available for preview on August 2.

Also announced was a "Relationship Sales Solution", wherein colleagues can combine Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and LinkedIn. Microsoft-based office workers can also share info with contacts who also use the software, which might or might not be a good feature for Microsoft, depending on your perspective.

To help sell these products, Microsoft also announced some big changes about its relationship with the tech channel or trade customers.

"We are transforming the way we partner with you," corporate VP Ron Huddleston intoned.

He added that, by talking to customers, Microsoft learned that they felt like they were interacting with multiple "partner-led" companies rather than "One Microsoft".

Microsoft's new group, a "Commercial Partner Organization" (CPO), is led by trade customers and continues putting the "partner first", he said. The new org has three teams: one for building business, one for going to market, and the third for "co-selling".

The business team is expected help those who flog Microsoft's wares to build IP and capacity across tech, as well as offer the usual tech support.

When it comes to marketing and selling, Microsoft is making a $250m investment in connecting the channel to customers. As part of that investment, there is a new "channel manager" role, for example.

There were also two specific sales changes mentioned.

First, reps are now paid based on Azure consumed revenue. Second, reps are now paid 10 per cent of the value of "partner solutions" sold, these sound like specific bundles of products that Microsoft deems strategic. Huddleston said Microsoft ran a trial last year and the figure made was $6bn – this year maybe it'll happen for real.

Mark Paine, Gartner analyst, said the long-running event, previously known as the Worldwide Partner Conference, lacked vim and vigour:

"From where I'm sitting it seems to be missing excitement. Steve Ballmer and Kevin Turner divided opinion but they worked the partners well at these conferences. Very interested to hear more about the CPO group. On the surface it sounds like they've listened and acted on partner feedback (at last). The devil, however, is in the detail." ®

PS: Check out the news of Microsoft's Azure Stack launch and our take on the unveiling.

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

110 Comments

More from The Register

Microsoft Store adds ‘private audience’ apps to its Store

A velvet rope for digital tat, to help with betas, promos and maybe Windows 10 S

Hawaii Live-Go! Microsoft launches Honolulu admin tool for cloud and on-prem

One tool to rule them all

Microsoft starts buying speculative execution exploits

Adds bug bounty class for Meltdown and Spectre attacks on Windows and Azure

Microsoft's Teams lights solitary candle, hipsters don't notice

Slacklike turns one

Microsoft ports its Quantum Development Kit to Linux and macOS

Now that it's not Windows-only, you can simulate a theoretical computer on a real computer

BlackBerry calls out between two worlds: Microsoft, Dynamics sandboxes walk with me

When container realms collide

Microsoft: Yes, we agree that Irish email dispute is moot... now what's this new warrant about?

Redmond backs down without actually backing down

Skype for Biz users: Go watch nature vids. Microsoft wants you to get good at migration

New roadmap for Teams does everything but name Skype's death date

Microsoft says 'majority' of Windows 10 use will be 'streamlined S mode'

Which is just-about an admission Win 10 is a mess

Microsoft lobs Skylake Spectre microcode fixes out through its Windows

Just go install Intel's patch while we hunt the next CPU-level security flaw in Intel's silicon