New research from London-based Fifty Five and Five suggests Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is accomplishing his objectives, at least in terms of selling Office 365 and revitalizing the partner network.

The digital and content marketing services provider drew that conclusion from analysis of data from 25,000 Microsoft partners and a deeper look at 50 of those partners. 

The findings, which will be publicized at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July, show a shift in focus across the partner network from marketing single tools or applications to marketing the full Office 365 or Microsoft stack.

Microsoft Partner Preview

In a sneak preview of the report, CMSWire contributor and Fifty Five and Five founder Chris Wright said the Microsoft partner network has been reinvigorated.

“Partner offerings this year are much more rounded than last year. Instead of just pushing SharePoint or Skype business or another tool, partners are talking and promoting Office 365," Wright said.

“It seems that Microsoft has moved in the past few years where it was heavily marketing SharePoint and talking all about SharePoint to marketing Office 365 heavily. Partners are pushing broader offerings, broader tools, thing like communication on Skype or Sway.

“So instead of telling enterprises that they need to move from SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online they are telling enterprises that they should be moving to Office 365.”

Analysis of Public Domain Data 

The conclusions continued in the report are based on information that is currently available in the public domain. According to Wright, the starting point was Microsoft Pinpoint, a searchable online directory of software applications and professional services based on Microsoft technologies. 

All software applications and services listed on the Pinpoint website are provided by independent information technology (IT) companies, including Microsoft Certified Partners who are affiliated with the Microsoft Partner Network.

To arrive at the conclusions, Fifty Five and Five looked at vendor websites, their blogs and social media activity. This data was analyzed using Sitebeam, a tool for testing websites from Silktide; Maya, Fifty Five and Five’s in-house blog analysis tool, and Kred, which scores social influence.

Learning Opportunities

Wright is waiting to reveal who made it into the Top 10 this year until the report is publicized in July. But he said some of those that appeared in last year’s report should also be appearing this year. Last year, which was the first year, the Top 10, in order, were Sharegate, Kaseya, Nintex, AvePoint, K2, Beezy, Infragistics,, Mimecast and Titus.

Improving Business Processes Through Cloud

Wright said vendors are also changing their approach to enterprises and the way they are helping enterprise achieve business goals.

Partners are talking about improving business processes and how staff communicates, he said. "Partners are much more aware of enterprise pain points. Last year partners were more focused on the idea of ‘here’s a product,' typically SharePoint, and stating 'we will build you something with it, we will give you a system’. Now they are much more mature.”

This year’s Top Ten list is very cloud focused. Many partners are now marketing themselves as cloud partners, probably as a result of the cloud message that Nadella has been crafting over the past two years.

“There are two key messages coming from partners this year. The first is that the partners are focusing on the cloud largely based on Satya Nadella's message from two years it ago. It has now trickled down to the partner level and is starting make itself felt,” Wright said.

"The second thing is that the Microsoft network is embracing a more modern approach to marketing. When we looked last year at the quality of marketing efforts, they were good, even very good in places. This year the standard is way higher. They are really investing in their online presence. The digital marketing efforts are defiantly improving as is the quality of marketing overall.”

The World Partner Conference takes place year in Toronto, Ontario from July 10 to 14.