Microsoft Introduces 'Surface as a Service' for Enterprises
A new service announced today by Microsoft at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto aims to bring more Windows Surface devices into the enterprise. Dubbed "Surface as a Service," the program represents an expansion of its existing Surface Enterprise Initiative (SEI), which also sought to increase the number of Microsoft devices used by enterprises.
Under the terms of the program, Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) that are also Surface Authorized Distributors can offer Surface devices to their enterprise clients through a managed service offering alongside managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and relevant ISV software, the company said.
More Ways To Buy Surfaces
"This new offering enables flexibility of solutions, faster device refresh, and ensures customers can have the latest Surface devices that evolve with the best Windows and Office have to offer," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post today. The program will initially be launched in cooperation with Also Holding AG, a leading CSP out of Europe, with more partners to be added later.
Although the Surface as a Service plan grew out of the Surface Enterprise Initiative, it won’t be replacing it. Microsoft said it plans to continue growing SEI, and launched a new partnership with Dell last year to help further expand the program. Today, it announced two more partnerships with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton to develop industry-specific solutions for customers shared by all three companies.
"IBM will draw on their data and analytics expertise to create new industry-specific solutions for the financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors that take advantage of the unique capabilities of Surface devices," Mehdi said. "Booz Allen Hamilton will develop scalable and more secure solutions for governments, the public sector and healthcare."
Windows 10 from Cloud Solution Providers
Microsoft said it will also be expanding its Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program with the addition of CDW, Insight, SHI, and Zones to the list of approved resellers. The expanded list will give enterprise customers more choice in how they purchase Surface devices. Customers will also benefit from a streamlined path for getting Surface on company-wide standards lists.
Redmond also announced its Windows 10 Enterprise E3 for Cloud Solution Providers. Starting this fall, the program will offer businesses enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at $7 a seat per month for the first time through the CSP channel. The service includes the full IT stack from Microsoft, including Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure and Dynamics CRM as a per-user, per-month offering through a single channel.
Mehdi said the new program is ideal for businesses that do not have dedicated IT resources or have limited IT staff, and want their licensing and IT needs managed by an outsourcing partner. The service will feature increased security options, simplified licensing and deployment options, and managed IT services.