Microsoft Writes The Book On Getting Richer In The Cloud

(NOTE: This story was originally posted to Feb. 10.)

With the help of its most successful partners, Microsoft has authored four lengthy books to help its channel thrive in the cloud.

The Cloud Practice Development Playbooks - which include insights from Microsoft partners - are intended to give partners clear and practical guidance in launching cloud practices, scaling them, and driving greater profits.

Each five-chapter playbook focuses on partner strategies around a specific practice area: Cloud Infrastructure & Management, Data Platform & Analytics, Cloud Application Development, Enterprise Mobility & Security.  

[Related: Partners Cheer Massive Microsoft Reorganization, New 'One Commercial Partner' Unit As Key To Accelerating Sales]

The project was spearheaded by Eduardo Kassner, who six months ago became CTO of Microsoft's channel program. Kassner's previous role at Microsoft involved defining the provider's cloud architecture for customers.

"One of the first motions I wanted to do coming into the role is looking at the whole cloud space," Kassner told CRN.

With IDC forecasting cloud spending to exceed $500 billion by 2020, and partners taking in almost $6 dollars for every dollar in cloud revenue, the opportunity is immense. But Kassner found that guidance was sparse in building cloud practices, and many partners needed advice.

The project started with a collaboration with two solution providers who had already demonstrated how to succeed in the cloud: Solliance and Opsgility.

Those companies, along with Microsoft, went out and "interviewed the living daylights" out of 50 more of Microsoft's top-performing cloud partners. They probed them on every point related to business and technical best practices.

All were surprised by the level of candor, Kassner told CRN.

"I thought most won’t want to give away their thunder in a bottle," he said. "But they were like no, we need to share and grow the market. We want to participate. I was baffled."