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Connecting with partners to empower the modern workplace

Written By published July 10, 2017

At Inspire, WDG introduces new ways to empower its partners to achieve more, including Windows integration into Microsoft 365, virtualization opportunities for Windows 10 E3 and E5 customers, a Surface partnership with IBM, and the expanded Mixed Reality Partner Program.

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year! It’s a week where Microsoft leaders connect with thousands of partners from around the world to talk about what’s new and the opportunity in front of us in the coming year. Since our last partner conference a year ago, we’ve been working together to better serve customers who have continuously evolving demands of technology.

We’re on a mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more in the Modern Workplace. A big part of that mission is delivering a new way for customers to transform their business with modern Microsoft products and services that help make employees more productive, creative and secure.

Just last week we announced new security and management features in Windows 10 that will arrive in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Today, we’re excited to announce Microsoft 365, a new set of offerings that include Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, to create a complete, intelligent, secure solution that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely.

We introduced two Microsoft 365 solutions:

  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise includes Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security and is offered in two plans – Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5.  Both plans provide customers with a complete set of productivity and security capabilities, while Microsoft 365 E5 provides the latest and most advanced innovations in security, compliance, analytics, and collaboration.
  • Microsoft 365 Business is designed for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB) and includes Office 365 Business Premium, security and management features for Office apps and Windows 10 devices, upgrade rights to Windows 10, and a centralized IT console. It will be available in public preview starting August 2.

For our partners, Microsoft 365 offers exciting new opportunities – from the ability to modernize a customer’s environment through managed services, to the ability to differentiate their offerings with advanced enterprise services. We believe Microsoft 365 will be a further catalyst to drive customer creativity, security and simplicity in their desktop management.

In addition to having end-to-end solutions with Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, we know customers need the ability to decide how to operate. Today we are announcing that Windows 10 E3 and E5 customers will now have the option to add virtualization use rights to Windows subscriptions in the CSP program starting in September.

Now is the best time to be a Surface partner

Since last year when we first introduced Surface as a Service at Inspire, the program has grown from one partner in the channel to more than 50 partners in 15 markets worldwide. The Surface channel is well equipped to handle the demand that will come from Microsoft 365 customers worldwide and we cannot wait for customers to get the best of the complete Microsoft stack in their hands.

On top of the momentum Microsoft Surface partners have worldwide, Surface is highlighting two new opportunities for partners to get more value out of being a Surface partner: a new Services and Support opportunity as well as a new Surface Reseller Alliance. The partner program for Services and Support was successfully piloted and is now active in 10 countries: the US., U.K., Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Japan and the expansion to other Surface markets are coming over the next few months. Surface also announced a partnership with IBM Technology Support Services (TSS) – one of the world’s leading support providers – to enhance our Microsoft Complete extended warranty offerings and deliver technology services and support for Surface devices.

The Surface Reseller Alliance training program includes a revamped online portal with training modules, live webinars for newly launched Surface products, and will provide incentives for partner sellers to complete training curriculum.  You can read more about it on the Devices Blog.

Expanding the Mixed Reality Partner Program

We’ve also been working to expand our partnership program for Windows Mixed Reality around the world. Today, we are excited to announce the creation of the Mixed Reality Partner Program, welcoming both system integrators (SIs) and digital agencies around the world.

The Mixed Reality Partner Program is an expansion of the HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program which was announced just over a year ago at //build 2016. At that time, we welcomed 10 digital and creative agencies to develop mixed reality solutions. As we have expanded Microsoft HoloLens to more developers and commercial customers around the globe, we added new Europe-focused partners to the program. Now with more than 16 HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners, we’re creating the future of mixed reality experiences with partners and customers.

As the technology landscape continues to advance at unprecedented rates, Microsoft and the Windows and Devices Group will be at the forefront with new ideas to enhance the way our partners work with customers.

Hearing from our partners is extremely important and we look forward to talking with you during a great week at Inspire!