Microsoft has been screaming "cloud" in many partners' deaf ears for several years, but the company found a more receptive audience at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference.
From CEO Satya Nadella on down, all Microsoft officials at the event told attendees that they need to switch their businesses to the cloud urgently, or else risk obsolescence and market defeat.
"You need to get on this train. This market is being made now," a vehement and adrenaline-drenched Kevin Turner -- Microsoft's COO -- said during a WPC keynote, adding that Microsoft doesn't have enough partners selling its cloud services anywhere in the world.
Partners know the Microsoft marketing pitch can be loud and alarmist, so they take it with a grain of salt, but this time around many arrived at the Washington, D.C., conference having noticed a growing interest in their markets for cloud computing options.
"Last year, I was skeptical, but now I'm seeing more adoption and acceptance of the cloud among our clients," said Süleyman Mert, deputy general manager at Bilgi Birikim Sistemleri (BBS), a systems integrator in Istanbul. In the Turkish market, he forecasts that a substantial shift to cloud services will take about five years.
BBS resells few cloud services currently, but is interested in Office 365 because one of its most popular Microsoft products is SharePoint, whose SharePoint Online version is part of the suite. Mert liked that Microsoft placed more emphasis at this year's conference on cloud and mobile security and IT management products like the Enterprise Mobility Suite, because in his view those need to go hand-in-hand with cloud deployments.
Cloud computing adoption is also proceeding slowly in Argentina, but Diego Harth, an account executive at CEDI Consulting & Training in the South American country likes Microsoft's own transformation from on-premises software to software-, infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service. "I approve of Microsoft's push in this direction," said Harth, whose employer has been a partner for about 20 years.
Dragan Todorovic, a SharePoint consultant with Extreme, a 20-year partner in Belgrade, Serbia, said Office 365 is starting to gain traction among their customers in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, but that Azure is too expensive compared with other IaaS and PaaS options there.
Microsoft's investments in recent years in expanding its SaaS, IaaS and PaaS portfolios have piqued the interest of existing and new partners. That's the case of Revera, a cloud services provider in Wellington, New Zealand. Revera has been a Microsoft partner for about 10 years, but Microsoft-related business has been growing recently, and so has Revera's interest in products like Azure services and Hyper-V.
"Microsoft is a smaller part of our business, but it's having a bigger impact," said Keith Archibald, innovation program manager at Revera.
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