Microsoft Azure for Industry Podcast

The Microsoft Commercial Marketplace

Episode Notes

Join us in this episode about the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace, the way to buy and sell software from Microsoft partners. Publishers and buyers of Azure-based cloud software will be interested in this show, whether learning how to sell your solution or how to buy an offered solution.

The Microsoft Commercial Marketplace consists of two storefronts, the Azure Marketplace and AppSource. Join us on this episode to learn the differences and who will be interested in each.

Transcript

Jeana Jorgensen

As a leader in the Cloud Commercial Community organization at Microsoft, Jeana Jorgensen is an expert in the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace and the value Microsoft Azure customers and partners derive from it. She joins us on the podcast to discuss the use of the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace, who should be interested, and how to get the greatest value from it as sellers or buyers of commercial software running on Microsoft Azure.

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Episode Transcription

David Starr:

Welcome to the Microsoft industry experiences team podcast. I'm your host David Starr. And in this series you will hear from leaders across various industries, discussing the impact of digital disruption and innovation. Sharing how they've used Azure to transform their business. You can find our team online at aka.ms/indxp or on Twitter @IndustryXP. Today we're talking with Jeana Jorgensen about the Microsoft commercial marketplace. Jeana is the General Manager in Cloud and AI division for Startup and Partner Experience. Their charter is to win the hearts and minds of cloud innovation partners around the world. Hello, Jeana. Welcome to the show.

Jeana Jorgensen:
Hello. Thanks for having me.

David Starr:

You bet. It's going to be an exciting episode. Can you tell us a little bit about the Microsoft commercial marketplace? What it is? And what's Microsoft's overall vision here?

Jeana Jorgensen:

Yeah. You bet. If you don't mind if I start by just saying, I want to sort of recognize the times we're in right now. We're certainly in an unchartered territory and really want to be in support of all of our partners out in the ecosystem that we work with, and helping them navigate these times and continue to help navigate their business. Especially as it relates to the way in which they're helping customers who are on the front line, of supporting their communities with everything that's going on with this virus. So we want to be of support to those partners and support those customers. And so two things. One, we recognize and appreciate all the hard work that everyone's putting into to support those communities. And then for two, just want to reiterate that we are here to be of service and support you as partners wherever you need to be.

David Starr:

So Jeana, tell me how this relates to other ways that Microsoft helps their partners and resellers sell their software.

Jeana Jorgensen:

Yes. It's really interesting. Some people see marketplace and direct purchasing online as a conflict to our channel partners or the way that we sell through our sales force and in actuality, it's the exact opposite. Marketplace is the foundational experience, that actually helps a publisher get embedded onto Microsoft's price list. So effectively what happens when you create as a publisher, a new solution that's transactable by Microsoft, meaning again, we build that customer on your behalf, and that customer can download, deploy and purchase all within the Microsoft's marketplace. The thing that's really important is, that is the foundational element that then allows us to get your solution and your skew, into the field seller tools and into our CSP or cloud solution provider tools and their portals to be able to help also resell. So for instance, when you're a publisher and you've created a transactable offer, you immediately can sell direct to a customer.

Jeana Jorgensen:

And then we give you the ability to opt into our channel as a service, if you will, which says, "Hey, I want Microsoft's channel partners to resell my solutions and get paid this incentive I keep hearing about." And so what you need to do as a publisher because you very likely have many existing strong quality channel relationships that we don't want to disrupt. We ask you to opt in for that and you can pick the individual reseller, you can pick a region, you can opt in for the entire 70,000 resellers across 140 plus countries, it's up to you to choose. But we ask that you opt in to determine which of those resellers you would like to form a relationship and start to, resell your solution. And the only way we're able to pay that seller incentive on your behalf, is if you have opted in and are leveraging that capability.

Jeana Jorgensen:

So marketplace is very complimentary to the channel and what it does is they basically consume any of those solutions, where a publisher has opted into the channel as a service. That particular solution then gets pulled into our CSP portal, well then those reseller channel can now see not only the Microsoft first party skews, but they can see all of our skews that have opted in for them to resell, right next to them in the context of their billing tools that they have today. Same thing that happens for field sellers. When a transactable offer is created, you effectively again become that skew on our price list. And so then we can then push those that are eligible, those solutions that are eligible out to our field seller quote tools. And so all of it is very complimentary, but it starts with you thinking through as a publisher what your business model is, how you want to use a commercial marketplace. And from there we enable all of these other channels to resell your solution beyond just direct to customer.

Jeana Jorgensen:

So as we get to answering your question around the commercial marketplace and telling you a little bit about what those are. Our commercial marketplaces are really the place in which our partners go to promote their solutions. Whether that's through a free trial, whether that's through just a basic contact listing or whether that's through a transactable offer, by which we mean a customer can go find, deploy and transact that offer directly online, from Microsoft on behalf of the publisher. We have two essential commercial marketplaces and those two marketplaces are really determined by target audience. So on one hand we have what we call Azure marketplace. That's a commercial marketplace targeting IT and developers. Think about that as more of the horizontal workloads, a developer or somebody in information technology would go to find an artifact related to security or a solution related to big data.

Jeana Jorgensen:

Then we also have something called AppSource. And AppSource is really targeting those business decision makers or frontline departmental buys. Think about your Chief Marketing Officer or HR Lead, who is looking for a finished solution that they can download and deploy today. And so those are really effectively our two commercial marketplaces that we have at Microsoft in support of our partner ecosystem. And our vision for those marketplaces is really to be the location where all of our customers know that they can go to find trusted solutions, from Microsoft and its entire partner ecosystem. Whether that partner is an ISV building, a repeatable SAS application, or whether that's a system's integrator who's got a proof of concept or a digital assessment they'd like to get in the hands of a customer, or whether that's somebody who's got a managed service offering, that they would like to sell to customers of all sizes.

Jeana Jorgensen:

Division for us is really that's the place where, through whether it's an in-product experience, a web experience, through the marketplace web interface itself, or through any notion of where a customer is, they can go find the solutions that they need from Microsoft and its partners. Our goal is to be able to help our customers digitally transform in the quickest way possible. As we see customer buying patterns changing more and more over time, we obviously see people buying more software online, in new and different ways and in larger and larger quantities. And not just from IT or developers, but actually from business decision makers as well. And people wanting access to that software immediately. And so our vision is that however a customer wants to get access to solutions from our partner ecosystem or from Microsoft, they can get them in real time through our commercial marketplaces.

David Starr:

Microsoft's commercial marketplace really pivots around the two roles or personas that you've already mentioned. The customer and the partner. Let's talk a little bit about each one of them. What is the customer's purchasing experience when they come into the marketplace?

Jeana Jorgensen:

Sure. So a customer can come in any forms. They can come in from the Azure portal. They can come in from any kind of in-product experience. Through the dynamics user interface or the office user interface. And they can come in and find a solution in the marketplace for what they need. Wherever the context is that they are. They have the ability to just again, view and review a particular solution that they're interested in. They have the ability to trial that solution and in many case, if it's available, they have the ability to transact that solution right then and there through the commercial marketplace. And then the experience is very simple. Like I said, it's really comes in to whatever interface they're coming in through, whether that's a search engine or in-product experience or even the marketplace storefront, either way that customer can search there and they can search by either category.

Jeana Jorgensen:

Meaning, is it a vertical solution they're trying to find? Is it a particular category of solution they're trying to find? Or they can search directly for that particular solution if they already know what they're looking for. And then from there it's an easily navigable experience to click through and determine how and when they want to actually purchase or use that particular technology.

David Starr:

All right. Can we talk a little bit about the partner's experience? Publishing their solutions in the marketplace for customers to find and use.

Jeana Jorgensen:

The important thing to remember is that, the marketplace isn't simply for ISV type solutions. It's really for any partner who wants to sell something to a particular audience. And so being really clear from a publisher standpoint, as long as you have a solution or artifact that a customer is interested in using, deploying or buying, you can publish it through the marketplace. And the first step is to, we need you to be a part of the Microsoft ecosystem. So joining what we call the Microsoft Partner Network first. And then from there you enter something called Partner Center. And when you enter into Partner Center, it gives you multiple options about what you'd like to do with Microsoft. Whether that's look at different programs you can join, whether that's looking at the analytics of any of the technologies you've already deployed the marketplace or whether you'd like to publish a net new artifact to marketplace itself.

Jeana Jorgensen:

You can do that all within the confines of something called Partner Center. Whether you want to publish a Contact Me, which is literally a listing that you have on the site. It takes about five minutes for you to publish and deploy. Whether you want to do that, you would also do that through Partner Center. If you want to list a trial, which is, think about that as a 30 day trial of a SAS application for instance. That's a different experience where we work with you to actually publish those bits and be able to download that directly from our site, rather than referring them back over to your website. That trial experience happens within the elements of the marketplace itself. And then if you want to transact, which means you would like actually Microsoft to transact that offer on your behalf and allow the customer, to get a single bill from Microsoft and its ecosystem.

Jeana Jorgensen:

We will build that customer on your behalf. And there's a set of steps in order to go through that transact phase as well. And so there's those three options for the publisher and it all depends on your business model and what your needs are. And we want to make sure that we have every business model available, whether that's per-seat, whether that's a measure of consumption or whether that's annual billing, multi-annual billing. We've got various business models to be able to support any kind of publisher for what they would like to do, including things like custom liters.

David Starr:

In addition, when a publisher creates an offer on the marketplace, what benefits might they receive? And how does Microsoft help publishers sell their solutions?

Jeana Jorgensen:

Great question. We have something that we launched last year called Marketplace Rewards. And Marketplace Rewards is essentially a benefits program. Think of it like an airline awards model where, the more customer traction we see or the more utilization of your service that we see, whether that's through downloads of your trial, hits to your Contact Me or all the way through to how much has been actually transacted through the marketplace, we give more and more bespoke benefits. And so we offer for every publisher, regardless of the artifact type, whether it's a listing trial or a transactable offer, we give you a set of what we call launch promotion benefits. And we help make sure whether if that's through a digital and social activity or whether that's promotion through any of our newsletters to our customer base. We make sure that we go out and promote at your moment in time, when you launch that artifact.

Jeana Jorgensen:

As you do transactable offers, as where a lot of the greater benefits come into place where we are essentially again, enabling a single point of contact or a single billing model for that customer. And we give more and more bespoke benefits for those transactable offers. This is directionally where you will see our co-sale motion moving over time, where we will be able to continue to pay our sellers based on the consumption driven through the marketplace as we do today, whether that's inside or outside the marketplace. Additionally, we have benefits such as the ability for the customer to detriment their Azure commitment. If they'd given a pre-commitment in terms of pre-committing a dollar amount to Microsoft for consumption they'll use on Azure. We allow those customers to use the third party solutions that have been transacted to the marketplace, to detriment that commitment for the customer. And so

we're really excited about that. So to a customer, it really looks like Microsoft and its ecosystem are one unit, working together to help them in their digital transformation.

David Starr:

Wow, that's quite a bit. It's a lot more than just listing your offer on the marketplace that you get from Microsoft, isn't it?

Jeana Jorgensen:

Yeah. Yeah. We're really wanting to ensure our customers know where all the best solutions are, where the trusted solutions from our customers and from our, excuse me, from our partner ecosystem. Really to do that in the best way possible, is to have that come through those in product experiences that all link out to our commercial marketplaces. So having a centralized location by target audience. Again, target audience, being a business decision maker for AppSource or being an IT or developer for Azure marketplace. It's really critical that you can go there and find the things that you need. And our whole goal is to get that ecosystem really, really working well together through that commercial marketplace, so people can find the apps they need when they need them, in a single place. In a predictable place where they know it's trusted applications and services.

David Starr:

So without naming any one partner, I'm sure listeners would love to hear a publisher story. Does any one publisher experience stand out in your mind that really tells the story of selling a solution in the marketplace?

Jeana Jorgensen:

Yeah. We've got many, and there's a couple that really, really stand out to me and in particular. One is a partner we work with for many, many years. They had an on-premise solution and then they also had an equivalent SAS solution that they sold through marketplace. And they were trying to convert more and more of their business to online and through cloud services. They had been coming to us for many years and, "Hey, let's work together and figure out how can Microsoft bring us more leads." Which is the common question that every partner asks us, Right? "How can you help generate more leads for our business?" And from a Microsoft perspective, we have a great sales force, we have one of the largest enterprise sales forces in the world. We have one of the largest channel ecosystem in the world. 70,000 cloud solution providers around the world.

Jeana Jorgensen:

And we have this thing called an online marketplace. And historically, before people were comfortable buying online, to make those connections with our field sellers and our channel partners. There's a lot of heavy lifting that goes into relationship development and business development from a partner perspective. And how do you build those relationships not only in a particular region, but then how do you expand internationally, prior to marketplaces really being a place where you can find those things automatically. And so people would spend significant time in the all on-premise days really forging those relationships, which are super critical and will remain very critical today. But it's harder to demonstrate, how many leads are you getting from this particular partner in this region? Or how many leads are you getting from this segment of Microsoft sellers in a particular region?

Jeana Jorgensen:

The beauty of marketplace, when they publish their marketplace artifact online, they started out saying, "I'm not sure how many of my customers are going to buy this way, but we believe in what we're sort of seeing in the data, what we're hearing from our customers, that we think more and more customers are going to buy this way." But they really had no notion of what the future would look like for them. And amazing to see over the last several years as they've been transacting to the marketplace. Seeing how much of their business has transitioned from on-premise, which was historically about 90% of their business in 10% cloud services. And now it's the exact opposite today, right? It's about 10% left on- premise and about 90% cloud services. And they had no idea how long this transformation would actually occur or that whether their customers were ready to buy there.

Jeana Jorgensen:

And it was very clear they were in the security segment that their customers were very eager to buy online and very quick to deploy and it became a model for them. Or they could outsource the notion of billing, right? They no longer had to bill their customers for all the cloud services, because Microsoft was able to bill on their behalf. And then so that all of those benefits that they were able to reap, by leveraging a commercial marketplace was critical. The other thing that's been really interesting for them in the last year was, they had a great, great channel that they had developed over the years. And many of those were Microsoft channel partners as well. And so they were reselling their software separately and reselling Microsoft software separately. And the beauty of the commercial marketplace is, marketplace allows any of Microsoft's resellers to actually resell and get paid an incentive for selling that third party app in surface as well.

Jeana Jorgensen:

So for instance, this publisher in particular said, "Hey, I know I owe my channel. I pay basically a 30% margin to my channel partners for reselling my services. And Microsoft, you pay them the first 10% and now we only pay them the remaining 20%." And so for them that was another savings, if you will, in terms of their bottom line, was that Microsoft was paying it, channel sellers and our channel resellers an incentive for selling that publisher solution. So really also a lot of their costs of selling. And it really took away a lot of those costs of selling online that they otherwise would have had the burden of doing themselves. So not only were they able to light up customers who are willing to buy direct from them online, but they are also willing to enable to light up their channel, in new and different ways to the marketplace. Which for us is very, very exciting.

Jeana Jorgensen:

We were able to enable Microsoft's ecosystem either by country or in as many countries that this publisher wanted to go out to. Which started out as one country and it ends up selling in 107 different countries. And so it was amazing to see that growth of internationalization they were able to do, just by using marketplace as a commercial vehicle for themselves.

David Starr:

Wow. That truly is a great story that you had to tell. I had no idea we were going to hear something so impactful. That's awesome. So as we're wrapping up here, any closing remarks for our customers and partners and where they can go to learn more?

Jeana Jorgensen:

Yeah. Absolutely. We'll make sure that you get the URLs for both of the commercial marketplaces, AppSource and Azure marketplace, at the end of this. For customers, the thing that we want to be really, really clear with you on is that, we are trying to make your enterprise software purchasing experience as easily as possible and to get it from whatever vehicle you want, whether that's direct or through our channel partners or any of our Microsoft sellers. Wanting to help you get your digital transformation done more quickly by getting the software in your hands, in the way in which you choose to purchase. And doing things like enabling you to detriment your Azure commitments, by using a third party service that's transacted to the marketplace. It's just one of the many things we're doing to make that experience easier and more seamless for you. So Microsoft and it's ecosystems again, look like a single unit working together.

Jeana Jorgensen:

The second thing for you is that we really are making our in-product experiences pointing out to places like marketplace, much more deeply integrated into those in-product experiences, and so you can navigate to that marketplace from whatever context you're currently in. From a publisher standpoint, we are doing everything humanly possible to ensure your solution is promoted through all of our core vehicles. And those three kind of core vehicles from Microsoft are direct through marketplace to a customer, through our channel partners, to a customer and then through our direct sales force direct to a customer. And we want to make sure your software is in the hands of those customers, as quickly as possible. And the best place to start that and get that sort of programmatic motion going, with Microsoft and its sellers, Microsoft and its channel and Microsoft and its customer base, is really to work through thinking about how do you provide a transactable offer online, where Microsoft can do that transaction on your behalf and help you scale to more markets and to more customers.

Jeana Jorgensen:

Whether those are small business, all the way through up to the largest enterprise customer base we have. We're the only service provider today that actually offers an incentive to all three of our channels to sell third party solutions. And we're really excited to continue to do that and make sure that you are in a leading position to help our customers in their pathway to digital transformation.

David Starr:

Well, Jeana this really is an exciting new story for people to hear about purchasing and selling their software online. Thank you so much for joining us today on the show.

Jeana Jorgensen:
Thank you for having me. Appreciate the time.

David Starr:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Microsoft industry experiences team podcast. The show that explores how industry experts are transforming businesses with Azure. Visit our team at aka.ms/indxp. And don't forget to join us for our next episode.