How does the new Microsoft approach to software sales help companies advance digital transformation?

What do recent changes in Microsoft’s sales approach mean for your business? They could be transformative and highly consequential. Let’s take a closer look.

Accelerating the road to business results

Microsoft is doing more than building on the successful cloud business. It’s all about enabling companies to plan and perform their own digital transformation initiatives.

In important industries where technology can foster positive change – including manufacturing, government, retail, healthcare, financial services, and education – Microsoft now groups software into four basic areas: modern workplace, business applications, applications and infrastructure, and data and artificial intelligence (AI). Taking these solutions to companies in the focus industries, Microsoft aims to help them empower their employees, engage customers, optimize operations, and digitally transform products.

Business and technology are evolving quickly

For instance, the modern workplace is shifting from a population of desktop workers to a diverse, often mobile workforce. Instead of individual, routine-driven producers, dynamic teams perform their jobs with agility, critical thinking, creativity, and a collaborative approach.

To better empower people at work, Microsoft introduced a new solution bundle, Microsoft 365. It comprises Windows 10, Office 365, and enterprise mobility and security functionality.

New architectures and concepts in business applications will affect many of us. For one thing, Microsoft continues the shift from the monolithic product suites of the past to modular, modern business applications. You’ve already seen this in Dynamics 365 and in the To-Increase discrete manufacturing and other solutions that use this simpler structure.

Revolutionizing the business with a new software sales model

To make these technological and conceptual innovations pay off takes a new way of introducing companies to solutions. Here are some highlights of the past and future of software sales.

A tradition of technology products

Until recently, the following was common practice: Companies picked the type of product they wanted, qualified vendors, and implemented the chosen software solutions, most often in their own data center. Software sales were often closed through relationships between customers and vendors.

Organizations defined their business needs as closely as they could, and translated these into broad software categories like ERP, CRM, or business productivity tools. ERP systems were a prime example of the monolithic suites we’re now leaving behind. Companies purchased the entire product, deployed it in often lengthy and expensive projects, and took months or years to generate benefits from it.

In this purchase model, you make substantial upfront investments, including functionality you may not need but that comes with the package. Properly aligning the complex software suites with your business needs and processes can be challenging.

Software sales change with the cloud

Recently, more agile development approaches, the cloud and the flexible delivery models it supports, and new ideas about how software should serve businesses brought about a shift. Many companies saw the cost benefits of the cloud first, before they understood the simplified deployments and more direct focus on customer needs that it also made possible.

Companies began thinking about workloads and software-enabled services. Businesspeople learned to collaborate with IT teams to plan technology acquisitions instead of handing over responsibility to them. Today’s savvy buyers know how to educate themselves. They don’t see the attraction of the traditional relationship selling. They make the most strategic decisions within the organization and early on. With clearly defined goals and functionality guidelines for what the business needs, they often don’t contact solution providers until late in the buying process.

As a result of these changes, companies only pay for the technology services they consume or make small, strategically validated investments. They can generate benefits quickly, working with targeted cloud solutions that can be implemented in little time.

Producing planned outcomes

In the next step, Microsoft and its partners are enabling the outcomes that businesses want to achieve. Instead of discussing ERP and CRM software suites, or even something as basic as Word, the conversation centers on what you want to accomplish. With a common data model underlying Microsoft’s and most partner solutions, many one-time restrictions no longer apply.

For both Microsoft and To-Increase, that change means we can use our industry and business expertise to help companies design their digital transformation. We know the pains, challenges, and opportunities they experience, and we can greatly simplify the process of choosing and using technology to be effective and transformational in addressing these issues.

This is a consultative approach where your results matter most. There is also a fresh emphasis on serving customers as long as they are in business, supporting them with ever-better solutions and services.

Microsoft is streamlining its partner channel and rebuilding its sales organization to make this shift possible. New roles will translate the industry focus into strategies, solutions, and services for customers. At To-Increase, you may also see some new faces and functions as we evolve our industry and productivity solutions on the Azure platform and broaden our offerings on the Microsoft AppSource.

Getting started

What’s the next step? Set up a free consultation to discuss how To-Increase and Microsoft can help you. No matter if you’re running a business and looking to achieve better productivity or plan your transformation journey, or if you are a partner of To-Increase and Microsoft and want to find out how the new software sales model might benefit you and your customers – we can help you work out the best approach. Send me a note at lcunha@to-increase.com to begin exploring the possibilities.