At its annual partner conference, Inspire, in Las Vegas last month, the company highlighted six big market opportunities for partners in FY20.

Not surprisingly, this included some of today's hottest technologies - cloud, security and AI.

In her presentation at the opening day of the event, Microsoft VP for partners Gavriella Schuster outlined the following six big market opportunities for partners this fiscal year, as aligned to Microsoft’s core solution areas:

Modern workplace

1.     Microsoft 365 Security

2.     Microsoft 365 Teams extension & adoption

Business Applications:

3.     Dynamics 365

4.     PowerApps

 Applications & Infrastructure:

5.     Azure cloud migration

Data & AI:

6.     Analytics & AI

These are the specific market opportunities Microsoft will go after this fiscal year to "really drive

our profitability and growth", Schuster explained.

Read on for more detail on each of these opportunities, along with commentary from Schuster:

1.  Microsoft 365 Security - an $80 billion market opportunity

Everything starts and ends with security, said Schuster, adding that Microsoft spent nearly a US$1 billion in research and development on security in the past year.

"Security forms the basis of trust between us and our customers. We build it into every product, every technology and every service that we deliver."

But if security is already built into all Microsoft products, how do partners make money on it, then?

Schuster cited the example of US-based managed cloud computing company Rackspace, which developed a remote security monitoring service on Microsoft 365 in response to queries from clients about cloud security.

"They now have a new security-as-a-service on Microsoft 365," said Schuster, adding Rackspace saw 100% month over month growth in its Microsoft 365 business from the service.

Such solutions are both scalable and repeatable, and relevant to customers of all sizes, with the greatest opportunities lying in small and mid-size businesses, said Schuster.

With less than 10% of the 76 million SMB originations in the world on Office 365, there is an $80 billion market opportunity for partners, according to Schuster.

"That is a lot of upside for all of you."

2. Microsoft 365 Teams - more than just a Skype replacement

Microsoft 365 Teams meanwhile is more than just a Skype replacement and will rival the explosive growth of SharePoint about a decade ago, Schuster stated.

"Teams is already on a faster trajectory than that. We believe Teams is where people will start and leave their day whether they're on a laptop, desktop, or mobile device."

Teams allows users to bring all of their business applications to the forefront in one single shared workspace, said Schuster.

Partners have the opportunity to help their customers customise Teams to improve teamwork and efficiency.

3. PowerApps - a $21 billion market

PowerApps represents a market that according to Forrester will triple in the next three years from $6.5 billion today to $21 billion, said Schuster.

As a "citizen developer tool", PowerApps gives partners the chance to get back into developing business applications, she said. One US partner has already built over 500 applications using PowerApps.

"PowerApps enables you to bridge back into the heart of a customer in their business applications."

4. Dynamics 365 - a $134 billion market

Using Dynamics 365, partners have the opportunity to have an overview of all of a customer's applications to see what can be migrated to the cloud or rewritten - and how they can help customers "completely re-imagine their business in digital transformation", said Schuster.

That market is more than five times bigger than the business apps market represented by PowerApps - making it a $134 billion market opportunity, said Schuster.

One Singapore partner used Dynamics 365 to build an all-in-one business management system for a client to unite different applications and disparate data sources. The client was able to completely re-imagine its customer experiences, resulting in increased profitability and revenue.

"That's what you can do when you think holistically about your customer. When you think about bringing the backend of their business applications all the way through to the front end of user experiences like Teams."

5.  Azure cloud migration - driving digital transformation

Without sharing exact numbers, Schuster stated a lot of customers have moved to Azure over the past year but added there was much more work to do.

"We have barely scratched the surface. We are still only five percent of the total addressable cloud market. That market is poised for explosive growth. We want to help you take advantage of it."

Helping customers drive digital transformation is where the real power of the cloud lies. Talking to customers about migrating legacy server workloads is just the start and can be the catalyst for more services with a customer, said Schuster.

"Once you're in, you're in - and that earns you a way into the real conversation that you want to have. Where you get the power of the cloud is when you can drive digital transformation."

However, Schuster acknowledged a lack of Azure skills is holding partners back, as they don't have enough skilled individuals to really drive Azure adoption. She pledged Microsoft would invest in helping partners train their people on Azure skills.

"And not just your teams but we're investing in our teams, customers, [and] the market to help you grow new talents."

Microsoft is also investing in a new service, Azure Lighthouse, that will enable multi-customer, multi-tenant management at scale in a secure environment with automation.

"Lighthouse builds partners in by design into Azure. So that Azure becomes your best platform to deliver managed services to your customers."

6. Analytics & AI - unleashing data

Once partners unlock cloud migrations, they can unleash a customer's data - creating the opportunity to use AI and analytics tools on that data to help customers think about their business in a different way, said Schuster.

"That moves you from being a strategic supplier to a strategic adviser. That is a place we all want to be."

Image: leigh_richardson_auldhouse

About the author: Leigh Richardson is Northern Area Manager for Auldhouse and is involved in sales management, branch management, vendor management and advertising/marketing. Connect with Leigh on LinkedIn here.

Feature Articles

What to look for in a cloud security system and in training
By Leif Pedersen | 19 February 2024
Unleashing the Power of Data Analytics: A Call for Governments and Public Sector Agencies
By Chloe Villanueva | 20 November 2023
Case Study
Case Study: Spark NZ getting ahead with ITIL Certification
By Leigh Richardson | 30 June 2023
Drive Innovation with IT Service Management Training
11 December 2023