Positioning your company for the Cloud opportunity

With the recent announcement of Windows Azure at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference things became a little clearer, at least on the technical side of cloud computing.


But, what about the business side? What about the ISV who’s trying to determine how to allocate scarce development, marketing and sales resources in a way that helps to successfully navigate options? What is the path to unlocking future opportunity while keeping their CFO happy with their approach? My team at Microsoft is responsible for working with a set of ISV’s to advise them on how they and Microsoft can grow their businesses together. And, in the case of S+S, this is a top priority since ISV’s are and will be key catalysts in making this new platform a true success.

When it comes to the topic of hosted applications, ISVs either already offer them today, in a purely hosted fashion, or are planning if and how they should take their on-premise solutions to the cloud. With the announcement of Windows Azure, they all have a new option when it comes to rationalizing the way they could take their business forward. The reality is corporations are moving toward consuming much more cloud based computing than ever and it is those ISV’s who are stepping up their related solutions that will gain the most from this evolution towards the web optimization of IT.

The recommendation we’re giving ISV’s is to consider offering hosted solutions now. For those who already are, this is great, but the key is to look for ways to grow that business near term, because the end game is about securing your space in the cloud as its growth accelerates. In the case where an ISV is currently only offering an on-premise solution they should consider offering their solution through a hosted means, such as Microsoft’s SPLA model. Then ISV’s should begin to test Windows Azure through the Corporate Technical Program by registering here. This will allow better understanding of the services available, as well as planning for how applications and customers will best be able to leverage this new platform, targeted for initial commercial release in 2009. While Microsoft’s cloud services continue to evolve, it’s important to engage now in a diversified manner. That strategy will build and grow offerings for hosted revenue today, while planning for tomorrow’s hybrid applications delivered with Windows Azure.

Jeff Lear

National ISV Director