Microsoft has launched a new channel program designed to help partners build a cloud deployment practice around Office 365 and other on-demand applications.
The Cloud Deployment program goes beyond Microsoft's Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate initiatives by providing partners with a range of support for cloud system planning, deployment and break-fix activities, guidance for developing proof-of-concept systems, and cloud deployment planning tools.
Partners who join the program, specifically, will have access to technology consultants to help develop cloud deployment plans and access to a dedicated team of technical support engineers 24/7 to resolve technical problems during a cloud software deployment project.
"We have heard from partners that what you need from Microsoft is more support on deployment," said Josh Waldo, Microsoft's senior director, new markets and emerging channels, in a blog post.
To join the new Cloud Deployment program, partners must be part of the existing Cloud Accelerate program to get the technical benefits of the new initiative. Partners also have to earn Microsoft's Messaging Competency to be eligible.
Currently about 5,500 partners actively sell Microsoft's cloud services every month.
Microsoft has stepped up its efforts to recruit channel partners for its cloud services. Last month Microsoft made it easier for partners to sign up for Cloud Essentials, and the company expects as many as 100,000 to be enrolled by mid-2013.
Cloud Essentials offers solution providers an entry into cloud computing, providing partners with 25 free licenses for Office 365, Windows Intune and Dynamics CRM Online to help them become familiar with Microsoft's cloud products. Cloud Accelerate is for partners who are already have some cloud computing customers.
PUBLISHED DEC. 4, 2012