By Scott Paul, Senior Director, Microsoft Alliance for AppRiver
Microsoft 365 represents the latest milestone in Microsoft’s longstanding journey toward delivering a cloud-based portfolio of productivity, collaboration and security tools that address the future of business. I believe it has the potential to revolutionize how business users work and how MSPs and IT admins manage their IT infrastructures. Partners need to understand the product and how it fits for customers.
Microsoft has been saying for some time now that the typical workplace is transforming. The future is cloud-based. It’s mobile, global and dispersed. It’s not tied to a formal office. And, it’s not secure. For managed service providers, consultants and resellers, Microsoft 365 presents an opportunity to not only help to sell subscriptions, but also to educate clients and support the new workplace. Partners will need to develop an understanding of the features, benefits and shortcomings of Microsoft 365 before making client presentations or recommendations, however. While Microsoft has provided a great deal of information on Microsoft 365, it can be a significant task to sort through the available assets and determine which are applicable.
Satya Nadella also announced what he calls a “platform opportunity” around the bundle, including a new Microsoft Intelligent Edge Partner Community where partners, particularly those involved in devices, may connect with one another to identify collaboration opportunities. The community also provides a single source for training material, technology previews, hardware developer kits, OS builds and end-to-end solution certification programs.
Let’s begin developing your knowledge of Microsoft 365 by discussing what Microsoft 365 encompasses, key security considerations and new service and business opportunities.
Many assume that Microsoft 365 is just a new branding approach for the Office 365 suite. It isn’t. The bundle includes Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It is available in three levels: Business, Enterprise and Education. Pricing starts at $20 per user per month. Even at the basic configuration, Microsoft 365 is the applications, management tools and the operating system combined as one. It’s a union that, at a glance, may seem unwieldy. However, the payoff for slightly more complexity is the ability of a partner to transform the customer’s workplace for the better.
My advice for partners and IT pros is to think of Microsoft 365 as a practice, not a product. While Microsoft 365 will have a significant impact on business users, it will be a fundamental shift in how IT administrators manage technology and their users. In turn, partners also need to take a more consultative approach when presenting Microsoft 365 to clients.
Microsoft 365 radically changes the security footprint and foundation. With Microsoft 365, all the pieces are working in concert and receive …