With more than 350 million devices now running Windows 10, the Microsoft operating system has become one of the most widely used platforms in the world.
Last month at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, the company announced a host of new projects that will improve the security and management of its suite of collaboration, cloud computing and software licenses.
“My ask to our partners is to take advantage of all the great innovations, tools and resources to grow your business in the coming year,” Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, wrote in a blog post. “I’m looking forward to the explosive growth we’ll see across our partner community and can’t wait to check out the creative implementations you will bring to our mutual customers.”
One of the most highly anticipated announcements was that Windows 10 Enterprise E3 will be available to through cloud service providers to help even more customers enjoy the benefits of increased security.
With the new agreement, Microsoft’s partners can offer customers a full IT stack from the tech giant, including Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure and CRM on a per-user, per-month basis through a single channel. The new model will provide increased security, simplified licensing and development, and partner-managed IT.
The Windows 10 Enterprise E3 news was one of many updates to come out of the conference, an event that attracts more than 15,000 attendees, including thousands of Microsoft vendors. A few other big announcements were also made at WPC 16.
Building the Intelligent Cloud
Organizations continue to flock to Microsoft Azure. The platform gains nearly 120,000 new subscriptions per month. To support that growth, Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 will launch at Microsoft Ignite this fall.
The company also announced the general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, which delivers cloud elasticity to such central repositories. For example, a data warehouse can scale in seconds to meet demand, while the SQL view can unlock intelligence from data in any form — structured or unstructured, on-premises or cloud-based.
Azure has become a major tool in digital transformation for organizations. For example, Schneider Electric, a multinational electricity distributor, has used Azure to bring sustainable solar power to more than 170 schools and clinics in Nigeria. The project harnesses the Internet of Things and cloud-connected energy solutions, something not possible with previous computing iterations.
Reinventing Productivity and Processes
IT has drastically changed how businesses operate in recent years. With the growth of mobile devices, the explosion of data and the rising number of millennials in the workforce, today’s work environment looks drastically different than even that of five years ago.
To help organizations navigate the future, Microsoft has asked partners to bet on Office 365 to help their customers manage this digital transformation.
One of the largest change agents is Microsoft’s integration of Skype with Office 365. Microsoft has built the Skype Operations Framework, an end-to-end deployment methodology that will allow partners to more easily deliver Skype for Business Online to customers.
In touting Office 365 at WPC 16, Microsoft highlighted how Facebook recently deployed the software suite to its more than 13,000 employees around the world. The goal for Facebook was to empower innovation and create the most productive workforce possible. With components such as Delve and Focused Inbox, Office 365 helped Facebook meet its demands for IT; namely, the requirement that technology be mobile and available all over the web and across all platforms, and also secure against cyberattacks. Both tools enhance productivity by allowing users to search for personalized and tailored content, gain deeper, more personal insights on collaboration tools and more.
Secure Productive Enterprise
Later this year, Microsoft will introduce a new licensing model called Secure Productive Enterprise, a next-generation solution that brings Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility Suite together. SPE aims to make it easier for customers to take advantage of enhanced productivity and security while offering additional licensing flexibility.