A big part of Microsoft's "all-in" battle cry in cloud computing is the implication that partners of all sizes are going to be impacted, even those in the farthest-flung echelons of the SMB market.
In a Tuesday address to attendees of Ingram Micro's North American VentureTech Network (VTN) Fall 2010 Invitational in San Francisco, Cindy Bates, Microsoft's vice president of U.S. Small, Medium Business and Distribution, underscored the importance of SMB customers and the channel partners that serve them.
Microsoft now has 1,000 partners actively selling the company's Business Productivity Online Suite of cloud-based apps, and thousands more partners have signed up to learn more about its potential, according to Bates. Over the past eight months, Microsoft has seen a tripling in the number of SMB partners embracing BPOS, she added.
"We believe we're in the midst of a tech revolution in the SMB," said Bates. "Technology that was once available only to the largest companies is now available to the smallest ones. This is about enterprise-level expertise coming down to the SMB space."
Contrary to what some VARs may think, the SMB migration to the cloud will bring with it plenty of services business. "SMB customers are going to have on-premise and they're going to have cloud, and they're going to look to [partners] to be that translator," said Bates.
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