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Microsoft Touts Efforts To Get Partners 'Quickly Up To Speed' On New Technologies

The company is investing in more resources to help partners develop practices in Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Dynamics and other areas, an executive says in an XChange 2016 keynote.

Microsoft foresees major opportunities for partners in deploying products such as Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft Dynamics and is investing in more resources to help them develop practices in those and other new areas, Microsoft executive Joel Borellis said during his keynote at XChange 2016 Monday.

In his keynote at the XChange conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company and being held this week in San Antonio, Microsoft's general manager for U.S. partner enablement told an audience of solution providers that the company is working to "really help you quickly get up to speed on our new technologies, new workloads, new opportunities."

[Related: Microsoft Unveils Plan To Sell Subscription-Based Windows 10 Enterprise, Surface Devices Through Channel Partners]

Whereas Microsoft previously would designate many people as "generalist technical folks," the company now dedicates those staff members to focus on specific areas, Borellis said. For instance, with partner technology strategist Nick Johnson, Microsoft has effectively told him, "We need you to help our partners understand how to drive security solutions into the market," Borellis said.

Borellis also provided details on where partners can go online to find resources for specific practice areas in which they're interested.

Ben Klopfer, vice president of sales at Indianapolis-based Microsoft partner eimagine, said his takeaway from the keynote is that "it sounds like there’s going to be a renewed focus on partners" at Microsoft. Klopfer said he's particularly "excited to see a continued focus on the cloud and Dynamics."

Microsoft Dynamics -- which includes ERP and CRM business solutions -- will be a major focus going forward, Borellis said.

"We’re going to be doing a lot in terms of our enablement and activation of our partners in that area," he said.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 Enterprise, which some partners will be able to begin selling as a subscription this fall, is another area where Microsoft is focused in terms of enabling partners, Borellis said.

Partners in Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider program will be able to provide their customers with a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise as part of a managed service offering -- at a price point that’s intended to make it more attractive to smaller organizations, the company said in July.

"We want to help work with you and enable more deployment partners" for Windows 10 Enterprise, Borellis said. "This is an opportunity not just for Microsoft to continue to deploy [Windows 10], but to have partners get involved with that and help us with that."

Overall, as partners are determining ’the big bets that you want to make’ on new practices, Microsoft is looking to send the message that it’s committed to providing technical and go-to-market resources to support partners, he said.

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Microsoft partner in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said that the message of commitment to the channel from Microsoft is compelling.

"As a partner we have choices. I think when people look at Google, Microsoft and other companies along that line, you want to feel you’re needed as a partner and have the resources there," Goldstein said. The message from Borellis helps demonstrate "their investment back into the channel," he said.

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