Microsoft Launches Educational Program to Help Partners Bring SMBs to the Cloud

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Microsoft is aiming to help its partners draw SMBs into cloud computing with a program called Cloud SureStep. Cloud SureStep is an educational program launched this week to teach SMBs about how cloud computing works and how it can benefit them.

The announcement is detailed in a post on Microsoft’s blog on the World Partner Conference 2014 site. The post claims that the program will teach companies how to use the cloud to lower cost-of-sale, increase sales volume, generate demand with digital marketing, and generate service revenue.

“Cloud SureStep is the one-stop resource built within our MPN website to help our partners establish, grow and thrive in the cloud,” Thomas Hansen, VP Small and Medium Business, Worldwide SMS&P, said in the blog post. “SureStep puts resources such as whitepapers, product information and access to relevant training, as well as ways to connect with communities, including our Office 365 partner Yammer group and the Office 365 Technical Blog, in one place.”

Educational products in the program on the Microsoft Partner Network currently relate to Office 365 and Microsoft Intune, with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online materials soon be added.

By releasing this program, which seems to combine elements of a public awareness campaign with detailed business tool optimization instructions, Microsoft is betting it can increase cloud adoption through education.

There is some evidence to support this position. Last month a report indicated that awareness is a barrier to cloud growth in Australia, with more people using cloud computing than even know the term.

Similarly, a Forrester Research report blamed a prediction of slow cloud growth for 2014 in part on “conservative buying practices.” Fear and uncertainty related to government agency surveillance practices is also a factor which can be mitigated through education.

Parallels predicted earlier this year that the cloud SMB market will grow to $125 billion by 2016, and followed this prediction up by announcing several new offerings and partnerships to benefit SMB customers.

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