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What about applying this Office 365 Open model to other Microsoft cloud products?
We have not announced anything around that. But you can see it as the prototype of the direction we will go. Office 365 is the "big dog" [cloud] product. If there's demand for other [cloud] products in that channel model, we will go this route, no doubt.
Talk to [Washington D.C.-based solution provider] New Signature, they're a great story. These guys are a prototype of what I see as this next generation. They started out as a VAR, moved [to become] a managed service provider, broke into Intune and it's accelerated the rest of their business. They've grown and they've got additional competencies now. And they're just on fire. It's so cool to see these guys. They're doubling, tripling year over year. At the end of the day that's what really drives a healthy partner ecosystem. It has to be revenue growth and partner growth.
So looking around the conference, I think you see how much momentum we have there. And that's what a healthy channel is all about. You can have the best program in the world, but if people aren't making money you aren't going very far.
You mentioned the number of gold and silver competencies Microsoft partners now have. Do you have a goal for that for this fiscal year?
Right now, where we are is 10,000 gold and 25,000 silver. For our managed reseller program, we are introducing a new requirement which is that you have to have at least a silver competency to be able to participate in that program. That's our program aimed at the bigger VARs that typically resell greater than $75,000 of products a year. I'm expecting we'll see a spike of several thousand silver competencies as we head into the deadline, which is December 1.
So will we see the competency numbers grow? Yes, we will. Is that something we're driving hard behind? I would say, broadly speaking, no, because I feel at this point we've got a really good set of partners in place and our goal now is around deepening the business relationship with them, growing the business we've got.
That said, you can look across the 29 competencies, you can create a matrix of the competencies by all the countries in the world. You know, I looked at France the other day. France has six Gold CRM partners. France can certainly support more than six.
What I think you'll see happen is, as demand grows for some of these offerings, I think you'll see some of the silver partners grow and they'll become gold. And clearly, when you look at places like Russia, Brazil and, massively, in China, the geo-coverage model will drive additional partners. There are places in northwest Brazil, eastern Russia, central China, [where] our coverage is very, very light right now. And so Microsoft teams in those countries are very focused on working on capacity in those areas.
NEXT: Aligning Microsoft's Sales Force With The Channel