Returning from a more than interesting and successful #DPK17, Microsoft Germany Partner conference, I am still amazed at the speed of change and transformation I experienced there. Some years ago I was active in the German service provider and hosting market. During that time the providers market, but even more important, the business in Germany was stable and growing, but weary of too innovative solutions and market development.

After conversations with many Microsoft Germany Business Development managers and also Microsoft partners, you can’t help but notice that there is a change going on. Transformation is rapidly catching up, Microsoft itself as the leading example. Transformation is essential too, the figures presented on the impact of the German Gross National Product are amazing: over 500 billion Euro’s impact in 2025!

 

Workplace: the holy grail
The Microsoft partners in Germany seem to feel the need for change too. Talking about Cloud Automation with partners here, we really experienced the eagerness of looking forward, and changing their own operations and delivery. I also felt and heard the drive to innovate their solutions around the Microsoft offerings. The holy grail here is the modern workplace! What a modern workplace is? I challenge you to define it here.

The workplace is something partners and Microsoft are working on, but real business oriented productivity solutions require an agility and base that a platform as Azure can provide. Let’s not forget that in the end, it is only a platform, partners should add the solution on top of it. And here too, the unwritten important influence of the German “Sicherheitsdenken” within the adoption of new IT services and Solutions seems to shift to the background a bit. Of course, stability, security and guarantees are still important, but with the development of Azure and the Cloud within Germany this aspect is not the most important topic any more. It is all about acceleration and adoption of the new opportunities that Azure and Microsoft 365 offer.

The experience that the IT market, and the partner world in Germany is changing is not only my own, it also shows in figures. With over 2.100 attendees, the #DKP17 was the biggest partner day in Germany ever! Completely sold out! Another indication was the attendance during the Go To Market and the CSP Program session. All seats were taken, and many had to stand. The CSP session alone drew more than 150 attendees.

 

CSP will lead the way for Cloud Partners
CSP, one the most interesting programs of Microsoft. Introduced some years ago already, it still needs to catch up in number of partners as well as Cloud Volumes. But it will, that is certain, no other way forward for Cloud oriented partners as via CSP. It will not solve all issues a Microsoft partner has, but it is a good base to start building and growing in Cloud Solutions based on Microsoft products.

However, here lies also the real struggle of the Microsoft CSP partner. How partners can configure, build, sell and deliver these solutions is sometimes of no great concern to them. Here is where the value of an independent Cloud partner as Keenondots becomes more visible. IT Providers need guidance, assistance and support in this transformation, but also a solid base to make choices and change these choices if needed. IT Partners require the same speed and agility that customer are asking for. Automation is key in the ever changing world of business transformation, it is a constant value as well. There is no such thing as Digital Transformation, there is just a digital coming towards you. And the time to act is now!

Thijs van Hofwegen
CCO Keenondots