As you’re likely aware, Microsoft’s array of cloud services is remarkably broad and deep, allowing for countless possible configurations and deployments. To take advantage of it as a reseller, you need to use all the schemes and resources at your disposal — and one resource that brings a lot to the table is Microsoft’s Cloud Enablement Desk.
It’s more complex than it first appears, but don’t let that discourage you.
What is Microsoft’s Cloud Enablement Desk?
While you might imagine that the Cloud Enablement Desk (CED) is a tool of some sort (like a helpdesk, for instance), that isn’t true. It’s actually a service that functions through discussion with Microsoft’s dedicated cloud specialists. At a minimum, it sees you establish a connection with a generalist who can help you make the most of the opportunities available to you through the Microsoft Partner Network (and help you make more sales).
Who can use the Cloud Enablement Desk?
The bare minimum requirement for using the Cloud Enablement Desk is that you have an active membership of the Microsoft Partner Network and aren’t currently being assisted by a Partner Development Manager (anyone in that position already has all the assistance they need). That will allow you to access the basic service alone.
If you have a higher-level subscription (such as an Action Pack) — and this can be arranged through the CED — then you can get one-on-one meetings with technical and/or marketing experts. It all depends on what’s relevant to the needs of your business and customers.
What specifically does it do?
When you start using the Cloud Enablement Desk, you’re assigned a specialist to provide you with support. For it to be worthwhile, you’ll meet to meet your specialist at least once each month, but you can get much more time than that if you need it. It’s a matter of mutual benefit: Microsoft obviously wants to help you sell more Microsoft products and services.
Your specialist (or specialists, because you can meet more than one) will help you however they can: they’ll offer you general business coaching, help you market your business, point you towards possible customers, suggest competency paths, and explain the nuances of intricacies of everything the Microsoft Partner Network has to provide.
How can you gain access to it?
Due to the nature of the service (requiring a dedicated specialist to commit their time to helping you), the Cloud Enablement Desk isn’t something you can immediately access if you meet the requirements. You need to apply for assistance using this form: once you’ve done so, you’ll be contacted by a specialist who’ll confirm your suitability for the service and get the ball rolling.
Why should you care about it?
The sheer scale and variety of Microsoft’s Azure-powered cloud services can easily be intimidating, even for resellers (particularly those new to the industry and used to offering specific services). Who better than a Microsoft specialist to guide you through the best ways to make more sales and generally improve your business?
There’s also a lot of value in forging and maintaining a good relationship with Microsoft, because you never know when that connection might pay off in the form of a tip about an upcoming service update or an introduction to a high-value prospect. And given that it’s absolutely free for any business meeting the requirements, there’s no reason not to take advantage if you’re in that position.