"When we do a lot of our customizations that would require PowerShell, it's a lot easier to do it using Command. It speeds up processes and you can manage the environment better," Cohen said. "Major customer issues are usually around password resets. This gives you complete control and permissions."
ASI, and other solution providers, need to be more proactive and evolve their businesses to meet the changing dynamics of Microsoft's model, Cohen added.
"We're getting into [Microsoft's cloud strategy]. I don't think partners are getting left out. Yes, Microsoft does do some direct business, but when they do direct, they farm out services to partners that have a track record of being able to deploy the services," Cohen said.
ASI's customers are still "a mixed bag" when it comes to cloud adoption of Microsoft products, Cohen said. IT staff has concerns about their jobs disappearing, but business owners -- especially small and midsize business owners -- see the benefits, he said.
"It's a big hurdle, but it's why we're going down this path," Cohen said.
Tools like 365 Command can help solution providers make a more smooth transition to cloud solutions, said Champion Solution Group's Pyle.
"I think the partner community, in general, needs to evolve to figure out how to add value in this cloud/SaaS world that we're slowly moving into here," Pyle said. "If you want to buy [a license] and put it on premise, go ahead. If you want to go on the cloud, go ahead. The market is making the decision for a lot of partners. Why do you need all these servers and backups and SANs for SharePoint when you can let Microsoft do it and pay a monthly fee? A lot of traditional ways that partners made money from implementing Exchange and selling backup solutions are going away. I don't think it's Microsoft. Customers are saying I want this. Partners have to figure out new revenue streams and stay relevant. "
PUBLISHED FEB. 8, 2013