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Microsoft Debuts Business App Marketplace, Surface as a Service

By Lynn Haber
July 12, 2016 - News
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Lynn Haber**Editor’s Note: Click here for our recently compiled list of new products and services.**

MICROSOFT WPC — Monday was about vision; Tuesday was about technology innovation around Microsoft’s three ambitions: reinventing productivity and business processes; building the intelligent cloud; and more personal computing; at day two of Microsoft WPC 2016.

Microsoft's Kirk KoenigsbauerKirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for Microsoft Office, laid out the Office 365 vision and road map around collaboration, mobility, intelligence and trust.

The software giant is making big investments in Skype, and Koenigsbauer took a deeper dive into new functionality. He introduced the Skype Operations Framework (SOF), an end-to-end planning, deployment and operations methodology for Skype for Business that helps partners to create new revenue streams with managed services.

Microsoft also expanded the availability of Skype for Business to 92 countries. In the U.K. and U.S., the company made PSTN calling available for inbound and outbound calling, phone numbers and calling plans. And by yearend, partners will be able to preview the automatic transcription and translation services in Skype Meeting Broadcast.

Modality Systems, 2016 Microsoft Communication Partner of the Year award winner, is 100-percent focused on unified communications. Not only does the company specialize in Skype for Business, but the firm got a jump-start on the Skype Operations Framework (SOF).

“We’re very excited about it because it ensures a successful adoption of Skype for Business in the cloud — that means planning, deployment and operations,” John Lamb, president and co-founder, told us. Modality is one of the very first Microsoft partners on board with SOF.

Modality just announced that it will offer a Skype for Business managed-services offering that it based on the SOF, on a per user/per month basis.

“We would have built something similar ourselves but Microsoft made the investment and built the framework for us,” he said. The SOF is very prescriptive, repeatable and consistent, which is what Lamb likes about it.

For partners with an education practice, Microsoft introduced Office 365 Education plans that are available through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

Enlightening partners about advancements that Microsoft is making around building the intelligent cloud was left to Scott Guthrie, executive vice president with the cloud and enterprise group. To rally attendees, Guthrie pointed out that $45 billion in partner-services revenue was attached to Microsoft enterprise cloud and projects last year. He also noted that participants in Microsoft’s CSP program ...

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