June 30 ends Microsoft’s 2017 fiscal year. Undoubtedly, Redmond will report strong growth in Office365 and Azure cloud sales and corresponding strong profits overall. Following the peak deal-making season that ends June 30th, ‘Microsofties’ begin the summer conference and vacation season with internal meetings, planning sessions, then the large public conferences – most notably the annual worldwide Partner conference, “Inspire” which this year is in Washington DC, July 9th – 13th.
At these conferences, Microsoft rolls out the new year’s key products and services, talks with resellers, partners and developers about “what’s hot” this coming year, and begins the consistent global rollout of the “next thing” that Microsoft will be pitching in enterprise boardrooms in the coming 12 months.
In past years, licensing deals such as the Enterprise Agreement (EA) or subscription bundles such as Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) have been rolled out. So if you are looking at a Microsoft deal anytime in the coming 12 months, you should pay attention to the announcements made during the sleepy July conference season.
What’s it going to be this year? Well, cloud, obviously – how to sell more cloud, how to get more customer workloads into the cloud, how to manage an ever-growing catalog of cloud-based services. There will be lots of publicity in the trade press about new cloud features and services, perhaps even some new deal bundles.
There will also be price increases announced, quietly, and usually these take effect beginning in November. Lately, Microsoft has gotten very good at obfuscating their price increase under a haze of licensing metric changes. Any customer who has worked through the conversion from Windows Server “per processor” into the new “per core” licensing will understand.
But the question that IT leaders should be asking is not “what is Microsoft pitching” but “where does our enterprise need to go?”
In meeting with clients in the past few months, I’ve been hearing consistent concerns:
- “We have no good, trustworthy way to forecast our cloud usage or costs on any of the major cloud players, so we don’t know how our cloud-based cost model compares to on-premise or other alternatives”[spacer height="20px"]
- “We are worried that after we move our workloads to the cloud and close our datacenters, we will be sitting ducks for the next monopolistic price increases that Microsoft always has waiting for the right moment”[spacer height="20px"]
- “More and more SaaS suppliers are requiring that we use Microsoft’s technology, whether Azure or Office365, with their products. How do we protect ourselves from these industry cartels?”[spacer height="20px"]
- “We know that best of breed solutions are available that beat Microsoft in almost every category, but Microsoft’s deal bundling strategies always leave us with few good options. How do we overcome their bundling tactics to make sure we get the right tech and fair prices?”
Your Microsoft sales team won’t be able to effectively answer these questions for you. Not with the trustworthy, “bet the business” straight answers that IT leaders need.
That’s why we are here. So take a nice well-earned vacation this summer, and relax, because when Microsoft comes around to pitch the next great thing, we are only a phone call away.
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