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Microsoft APC 2015: How can Windows 10 be profitable for partners?

Allan Swann (ARN) | Sept. 2, 2015
Windows 10 is a hit in the consumer market, so how can the channel make margin on a product that is basically given away for free?

Will the channel be able to sell it?
Will the channel be able to sell it?

Windows 10 is an opportunity to do a top to bottom refresh, hardware and software tied into managed service Cloud plays, claim Microsoft's key partners in the area.

Microsoft hosted a panel of experts at its Australian Partner Conference on the Gold Coast, discussing option for channel partners to deploy Windows 10, which since its launch on July 29 has seen 75 million downloads globally.

The panel consisted of: Microsoft director of partner business development, Phil Goldie; its Windows commercial lead, Jaron Cohen; Tech Research Asia executive consultant, Mark Iles, Data#3 national practice manager for Microsoft services, Scott Gosling; Thomas Duryea GM, Michael Chanter; and XCentral MD, Phil Patelis.

Goldie focused on the Cloud sell through opportunities for Windows 10 implementations.

"Yes, we are a technology company, and our partners look to benefit from technology in terms of delivering customer outcomes. But what is important right now is getting the business model changed, the impact of Cloud and how that affects our 12,000 partners. It's a big challenge," he said.

Cohen added that the company still has a goal of getting one billion users on Windows 10 within 24 months. A key part of that will be the hardware.

"A key component for us is the devices ecosystem. The majority of enterprise users are on Windows 7, a platform that was released a year before the iPad ever existed. A large percentage of the Australian business community are on a platform that fundamentally can't use those true mobility style devices - such as the Surface," he said.

Iles said that Tech Research Asia's reporting already shows that 86 percent of partners in 2015 believe they are ready to make the transition, but just 43 percent of their customers are ready right now.

The key opportunity, he says, is the more than 50 percent pull through on Cloud and mobile device management services on offer.

Chanter told the table that the opportunities within the Microsoft ecosystem are now contiguous, that is, customers are now looking to "do it all at once, Cloud, Office 365, Windows 10".

"It's a conversation header to onsell other products," he said. "It has a much better mobility tie up, and that makes it a significant update."

The percentage adoption had taken Thomas Duryea by surprise, he said, and that the transition is also being driven by end users and managing directors - namely, they've installed it at home and now want the same functionality at work.

The problem for the channel and IT departments is tying that into existing processes and line of business applications.


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