Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday the launch of its Cloud Deployment program, offering sales partners training, support and marketing benefits to onboard enterprise customers to Office 365, the cloud-based service combining Microsoft Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office Web Apps.
In his blog announcing the program, Josh Waldo, senior director of New Markets and Emerging Channels for Microsoft, said the launch was in response to feedback from partners that wanted more support from Microsoft for cloud deployments.
"Support is consistently a top pain point when we hear from partners and as a response to that, we have worked hard with our support organization to offer Cloud Deployment partners a differentiated support experience which includes planning support, deployment and break-fix support, proof-of-concept guidance and funding, and cloud deployment planning tools exclusively available to our Cloud Deployment Partners," Waldo noted.
Waldo said the Cloud Deployment program benefits build on the tools and resources partners are entitled to in Cloud Essentials and Cloud Accelerate partner programs, including free Office 365, Windows Intune and CRM Online licenses, online services/advisor incentives, delegated administration tools and training.
Microsoft Cloud Partners receive a set of core benefits — including internal-use software rights, tailored training, and prioritized exposure in Microsoft marketing and product directories. Every partner is eligible to join Cloud Essentials, and are automatically enrolled in the Cloud Accelerate program after completing three cloud deals for 150 seats within 18 months, and have either an active Microsoft Action Pack subscription or a Microsoft competency.
To join the Cloud Deployment program during the initial period, through Feb. 28, 2013, partners must be enrolled in the Cloud Accelerate program and be a member of the Microsoft Messaging competency at the country level.
After March 1, 2013, additional requirements apply, including:
- two individuals must pass Exam 70-341, Core Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Exam 70-342, Advanced Solutions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
- evidence of having conducted three successful cloud deployments for a minimum of 250 seats each
- continued enrollment in Cloud Accelerate and the Messaging competency
Program members who joined during the initial enrollment period must meet these added requirements by June 30, 2013.