Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Published: July 10th, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Close to 15,000 channel partners got a surprised announcement from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Inspire 2017 conference. Commercial versions of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility with Security will now be part of a new suite called Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 will come in two flavours: Enterprise and Business. The Enterprise version will feature Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Enterprise Mobility with Security and is targeted at large organizations, while Business is meant for small-to-mid-size businesses and will have the Business Premium version of Office 365, online services such as OneDrive and the business apps portfolio. That offering will be coming out on Aug. 2nd.

While this looks like on the surface as a new packaging of products from Microsoft, Catherine Boeger, the GM of Microsoft cautions that Microsoft 365 is not just a set of products the company decided to put together.

“We have made this more intuit for customers to manage. You now have to take 43 steps (for Office 365, Windows 10 and EMS). With Microsoft 365 it will be just 15 toggles. We have made it much simpler to control,” she said.

Boeger added that Microsoft 365 is more of shift in Microsoft vision in how it builds and plans to sell product solutions. And, it’s the centerpiece of one of Microsoft’s four new focuses: Modern Workforce.

Another thing to note is the Office Admin Console. It’s no longer called that and is re-titled Microsoft Admin Console. It’s a single console system with a new policy card in place.

Also, Boeger said Microsoft plans on launching SMB specific business apps such as Bookings, Listings, Connections and Invoicing soon.

From a channel partner perspective, Microsoft 365 enables solution providers to sell one solution over three and Boeger said there will be an uplift of 20 more percentage points of margin with this combined solution that as individual products. “From a dollar perspective if you made $5 you would now get 20 per cent more,” she said.

Chris Oakman, the CEO of solution provider SolaceIT said at a cost of US$20 per seat, per month it will lead to some cost savings for the customer.

“We are an MSP company and Microsoft 365 is one more tool we can add to our tool belt. We expect to see growth with this shortly as we are onboarding five new customers. They will be ready to go as soon as its live. We are also a CSP member and customers are saving time now because it would take about two days to deploy a PC with this type of productivity, the Windows updates and Office installation. Now it’s just a couple of clicks and the end users is ready to go in an extremely short time. This saves about a half a day of time,” he said.