Worldwide Partner Conference news: Continued growth of Office 365

Office 365 logoFirst of all, I want to thank our partners for the energy and momentum you are driving with Office 365. FY13 Q3 was our strongest quarter ever with net seat additions up five times over the prior year. And as you likely heard by now, we have more than 150,000+ partners enrolled to sell Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services. Since February when we announced GA of Office 365, I’ve been traveling and meeting with partners from around the world, hearing first-hand about the great business results partners and customers are seeing with Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Midsize Business Premium, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online as they embrace devices and services, opening up new scenarios in collaboration, sharing and communication.

This week at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), we’re announcing several updates that demonstrate the continued growth of Office 365 and new opportunities for partners.

Expanding Office 365 SKUs through the open program

With Office 365, partners are already realizing the opportunity through the Office 365 Open program announced at WPC last year. In response to partner feedback, it provided an opportunity to own the billing relationship with their end customers – to capture top-line revenue and upfront margin. Now, we are announcing the expansion of the Open program to include Office 365 ProPlus, Exchange Online, Enterprise, Government, Academic offering and more.

These new SKUs will complement the Office 365 Midsize Business offering that was launched in the Open program in March 2013 and provide increased flexibility and choice for both customers and partners in their move to the cloud.  We are also investing more than $100 million in partner enablement, above and beyond margins and channel incentives.

The move to the cloud represents a new era of partner opportunity. Leading customers to the cloud is just the beginning and partner will continue owning that relationship to help customers get the most out of Office 365 with their service offerings. And we will continue delivering on our intent for partners to lead and own the customer relationship.

Yammer and enterprise social

And with Yammer now part of the Office family, we’ve seen tremendous momentum in enterprise social and interest from customers and partners about how they can start benefiting from new tools and features. The Yammer partner enablement program for FY14 will focus around enabling Microsoft’s partners to sell, deliver and integrate Yammer.  It will also provide education and best practice guides to help partners achieve customer network success and deliver the value enterprise social brings across an organization, based around the Yammer methodology called the Social Journey.

Power BI for Office 365

Yesterday, we announced Power BI for Office 365, a self-service business intelligence (BI) solution that combines data analysis and visualization capabilities for deeper business insights in Excel, with the power to collaborate and scale in a trusted cloud environment through Office 365. With Power BI for Office 365, users can connect to data in the cloud or extend their existing on premise data sources and systems to quickly build and deploy self-service BI solutions. 

Power BI for Office 365 enables customers to do more with their data:

  • Analyze and present insights in compelling visual formats either on premises or in the cloud from Excel.
  • Share reports and data sets online with content that is always kept up to date.
  • Ask questions of your data using natural language search and get immediate answers through interactive tables, charts and graphs.
  • Access and stay connected to data and reports from your mobile devices wherever you are.

We know it’s important for IT to manage and enable collaboration while being able to access internal data in a trusted environment. Customers will get access to our BI tools natively within Excel and be able to uncover insights, find answers and stay connected to their data wherever they are. Customers can sign up now for the Power BI for Office 365 preview, coming out later this summer, at For more details around the newly launched Power BI, check out the Office News Blog.

Office app downloads and new stores

Building on the success we’ve seen with the US Office Store, we are introducing 22 new markets with localized Office and SharePoint Store fronts as well as French, German, Spanish and Japanese language apps.   

We’ve already seen strong momentum for the apps in the Office and SharePoint Store, with nearly 1 million downloads. With the Office and SharePoint Store, developers have the ability to reach Office users across consumer and business audience directly– with more than a billion Office users around the world, this is a huge untapped market opportunity as customers move to the cloud. All users of Office have access to the Store from within the Office products and the Store itself, making distribution and access to our partners’ apps simple and seamless. For more information about our new Office Stores and availability of apps in additional languages, check out Office News blog.

I always value the time I have at WPC to connect with our partners and learn more about how we can better work with them to better serve customers. Feel free to take a look at our Office 365 blogs this week to learn what our partners are saying about Office 365; and while we may simply think of Office 365 as a cloud service, take a look at the video for a slightly more irreverent view.

I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together over the next year!

–Kirk Gregersen, General Manager, Microsoft Office Division