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SkyKick: Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition to Generate More Partner Opportunities

Cloud computing

**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in September-October 2016.**

Partners likely will benefit greatly from Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, which the Redmond, Washington-based software giant completed late last week.

SkyKick's Chike FarrellThat’s according to Chike Farrell, SkyKick’s vice president of marketing. SkyKick is a global provider of cloud management software, which has been used by more than 5,000 partners to migrate to and back up data on Office 365 for tens of thousands of businesses.

The biggest opportunities for partners include: enhancing the Office 365 value proposition to the SMB customer; and go-to-market/sales and marketing differentiation, Farrell said.

“With our State of Office 365 Cloud research in 2016 demonstrating that 92 percent of U.S. SMBs with under 250 employees are yet to adopt Office 365, there’s a great opportunity for partners to continue to accelerate their discussions with prospective customers, and will likely be a source of increased inbound demand,” he said. “Beyond the general increased interest that we’d expect partners to benefit from generally, in an industry where partners have been thinking a lot about enhancing their go-to-market approaches and differentiating through sales and marketing, we expect some partners to use this to further advance that goal.”{ad}

Partners can place emphasis on becoming experts in the emerging Office 365-plus-LinkedIn integrated opportunity, particularly as it pertains to CRM and B2B uses, Farrell said.

“We expect to see partners create new sales opportunities by creating content that drives home the value of moving to Office 365 in the cloud, citing both the platform’s existing benefits combined with LinkedIn features directly integrated, and providing insight to ongoing platform changes,” he said.

Stratecast|Frost & Sullivan's Michael JudeIntegrating LinkedIn content, discovery and collaboration features, and surfacing them across the extended Office 365/Office platform and into Windows is “another strategic objective shared that we’re excited about,” Farrell said.

“In general, we’re super excited about the aspects of the strategy that extend the value of the Office ecosystem, as they create consequent value for channel partners, and particularly those who become adept at telling the story to their end customers,” he said. “Given our vision of the long-term opportunity for IT channel partners in managing SMB employees in the cloud, this acquisition can potentially add new scenarios that create cloud management relationships for partners that drive customer-lifetime value.”

Michael Jude, Stratecast|Frost & Sullivan Consumer Communications Services research manager, said LinkedIn is the most widely used professional networking site, which will provide Microsoft access to a “wide range of professional decision makers, many of whom are making office productivity purchase decisions for their companies.”

“LinkedIn is potentially a direct channel for Microsoft to market its solutions, which would bypass the normal channels,” he said. “It is a way for Microsoft to dominate the professional networking space; leveraging professional networking to introduce and to market their products and services.”


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