More than 50,000 organisations have signed up for the 30-day free trial of Microsoft's Office 365 cloud application suite in the two weeks since it was released at the end of last month.
Microsoft saw it as the linchpin of its cloud efforts, judging by how much executives were beating its drum at the software maker's worldwide partner conference this week.
"It is the future of Office," said Kelly Waldher, Office 365 product management director.
He pointed to a Forrester report that said Office 365 users could realise a 300-percent return,e arning back their investment in two months.
At past partner events, Microsoft executives tried to convince resellers that Microsoft that generates nearly all its revenue from on-premises products such as Office 2010 was serious about cloud computing. With more cloud products such as Intune, Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and now Office 365 the emphasis this year was touting what the company sees as its cloud momentum.
"It is my opinion that Microsoft and our partners are being massively underestimated right now," said Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft's worldwide partner group.
In another sign of the interest resellers were showing in the cloud, Roskill said more than 20,000 partners signed up for its Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate offerings. Cloud Essentials gave partners technical and sales support, marketing resources and cloud software internal-use rights to help them build solutions. Cloud Accelerate rewarded high-performing cloud services partners.
Microsoft also touted the results of a survey that found that 58 percent of resellers were working with cloud technology. Waldher said more than 41,000 partners work with Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Services or BPOS, the predecessor to Office 365, and many expected to move to the new product.
The "vast majority" of the 50,000 Office 365 trial users were new customers, Waldher said. More than 200,000 businesses and organisations participated in the Office 365 beta program and Waldher said Microsoft was taking steps to enlist them for the 30-day trial. And Microsoft will move BPOS users to Office 365.
Microsoft executives expected resellers to make most Office 365 sales. Waldher said an "order on behalf of" system, through which resellers placed Office 365 trial and subscription orders for their customers, was up and running. That made the solution provider the partner-of-record for the deal, even though Microsoft was handling the billing for the Office 365 service.
And it said that by the end of the year Microsoft will offer its Dynamics CRM Online application as an option for Office 365. Although customers can use the two products together now, making it an option will simplify billing and subscriptions.
This article originally appeared at crn.com
Issue: 315 | May 2013
Access CRN's extensive online resources including; email bulletins, community discussions and unique online news.
Processing registration... Please wait.
This process can take up to a minute to complete.
A confirmation email has been sent to your email address - SUPPLIED GOES EMAIL HERE. Please click on the link in the email to verify your email address. You need to verify your email before you can log on to the CRN website or start posting comments on articles.
If you do not receive your confirmation email within the next few minutes, it may be because the email has been captured by a junk mail filter. Please ensure you add the domain '@crn.com.au' to your white-listed senders.