Recognizing the needs of startups and small- and medium-sized companies that develop technology solutions, Microsoft launched a worldwide partner program last year, with a goal to help partners adopt new technologies and accelerate existing and new solutions and applications to the market. For FY15 (July 2014 – June 2015), the program focuses on partner solutions that are geared towards four vertical industries – healthcare, government, retail and manufacturing. I can say wholeheartedly that this is truly a wonderful program for partners to work with Microsoft! See more background about the program.
What’s in it for participating partners?
- Silver-level benefits worth of $40,000. See detail here
- Windows Phone or Windows Surface Pro device for testing the app
- Technical assistance (including workshops/labs) from the team in the U.S. (or your sub/region)
- App design review
- Go to market support after app launch
We have two models of Windows Phone devices available, Lumia Icon and HTC One, as show below. They are both for Verizon.
What’s in it for Microsoft?
- Apps, Apps, Apps (Solutions, Solutions, Solutions)
How to participate in the VIPP program?
Participation is free for qualified ISV partners. For the U.S. market, please send email to vippusa /\/\ @ /\/\ microsoft /\/\ dot /\/\ com
Can I Stay or Participate in Microsoft BizSpark Program?
Yes! Partners who are qualified for and/or currently enrolled in the BizSpark program can continue to enjoy the benefits from the BizSpark program. While the VIPP program works with small and medium sized businesses, it welcomes startups that meet the program criteria, and occasionally large businesses that have an ISV-like division or business unit.
There are some differences between the two programs. For example, the BizSpark program requires a business that’s less than five years in the business with revenue less than $1 million, whereas the VIPP doesn’t have the requirements. On the other hand, the software benefits from the VIPP program are for dev and testing only, whereas the BizSpark program provides production hosting option for SaaS offering. See detail here.
What Apps/Solutions Are Partners Building?
They vary widely but fall into four areas in terms of technologies – Azure-enabled app, Windows Store/Phone and cross-platform app, Office 365 integration app, and Windows Server/SQL Server.
- Mobile (cross-platform) apps with Azure database/storage/service in the backend
- Line of business app hosted on Azure or Windows Server 2012 R2 and/or SQL Server 2014
- Enable desktop app as SaaS offering through Azure
- Expand iOS and Android app to Windows platform
- Lift and shift part or entire datacenter to the Azure cloud
In the past several months we hosted a series of workshops and labs. You can download the contents from my onedrive below.
- VIPP: http://1drv.ms/1DAgi6E
- Government Workshop http://1drv.ms/1FKoqiZ
- Healthcare Workshop http://1drv.ms/1FKnwmK
- Retail Workshop http://1drv.ms/1FKoO19
What are some of my partners saying (paraphrase)?
- The fact that Microsoft makes you guys available to us is a differentiator over your competition. Without hesitance, I can tell you now that I am ready (to join the program).
- You helped me understand what technology options I have for our applications that were developed a decade ago and have been working. Without your help, it could’ve taken me a while to figure out what would be the right choice and most likely we’d waste a lot of time during the process. Now I just need to think over and decide what to do as we try to move our apps to the cloud and meanwhile add mobile functions in response to our customer needs.