Companies continue to adopt the cloud across every aspect of their business. Scoped well beyond the IT department, every employee needs cloud-based services tailored to their function. So, even among economic uncertainties, cloud budgets are proving durable—and even growing.
According to IDC, the public cloud services market will surpass USD1.7 trillion by 2026 and the number one consideration customers give to selecting a cloud provider is the quality of its cloud marketplace.1 As organizations increasingly rely on cloud infrastructure and an increasing assortment of SaaS-based services to support their businesses, they need a way to streamline investments and simplify deployments. Cloud marketplaces are maturing and becoming the preferred option for customers to find, purchase, and manage innovative applications and services to achieve their business outcomes.
The momentum will continue with two key benefits propelling cloud marketplaces as the B2B commerce channel of the future:
1. Reduce friction. During periods of economic and technical change, organizations everywhere need to accelerate IT modernization while optimizing costs and mitigating risk. Marketplace offers convenience, trust, and purchasing power for customers.
2. Cloud migration. Managing cash is critical for companies of all sizes and the flexible, subscription-based economics of the cloud is powering the growing worldwide market taking advantage of an operational expenditure model, rather than a traditional capital expenditure model, enables future growth and cost efficiencies.
Advantages of the Microsoft commercial marketplace
To further validate and gain insight specifically to how the Microsoft commercial marketplace is benefitting customers, we commissioned GigaOm Research to take an in-depth look at B2B buying journeys. Acting as a customer persona, GigaOm quantified the advantages of centralizing cloud purchases through the marketplace versus buying directly from vendors.
The study took three well-known products and documented how buying directly from those vendors measured up against the same process using the Microsoft commercial marketplace and deploying directly from Azure. Three factors were used to evaluate the results: time to value (whether purchasing through marketplace saves time), ease of procurement (length of quote request process and number of third parties involved in procurement), and billing transparency (complexity and visibility of all billing aspects).
The test results are clear as the Microsoft commercial marketplace performed far better than purchasing directly from the vendors, resulting in a score of 35 to 21 (with a possible max score of 45). Some of the key findings were:
- Unified and consolidated billing via marketplace offers a clear advantage over buying directly from the vendor, which often required the GigaOm team to source alternative payment arrangements.
- Marketplace either dramatically reduced or eliminated time spent working through sales teams, resellers, and supply chain teams—leading to faster engagement and faster time to needs met.
- Procurement via marketplace was consistently easier (in one instance, buying direct from a vendor never reached fulfillment due to multiple delays).
- For the more complex solutions, marketplace provided a faster deployment journey with the Azure DevOps configuration wizard.
“Unified billing is undoubtedly a significant advantage that can be quickly identified. IT organizations in Azure looking at public cloud, or planning to grow and test drive multiple solutions will find a well-defined and consolidated billing solution highly beneficial.”—William McKnight, Analyst GigaOm.
Achieve more with the marketplace
GigaOm noted that the time to value and billing transparency benchmarks were much higher for marketplace versus buying direct. “Unified billing is undoubtedly a significant advantage that can be quickly identified. IT organizations in Azure looking at public cloud or planning to grow and test drive multiple solutions will find a well-defined and consolidated billing solution highly beneficial.” When buying directly from vendors, GigaOm found, “the time spent waiting for sales teams to organize calls, often unnecessary demonstrations, and being handed off to resellers carries a heavy cost with great impact on agile efforts within IT organizations.”
These findings speak to the heart of the commercial marketplace—making it easier and faster for businesses to find and deploy solutions that help them achieve more. We've been investing heavily in our marketplace to strengthen it as a channel for customers to manage their entire cloud estate—inclusive of infrastructure, SaaS applications, productivity tools, security solutions, and more. Through the marketplace, customers can manage their relationships and onboard new partner solutions seamlessly while still buying through Microsoft. For organizations with an Azure consumption commitment, the entire purchase can count towards remaining commitment to help maximize the value of cloud investments.
As customers continue to look for ways to increase efficiency, buy with confidence, and spend smarter, we will see even greater adoption and validation that digital marketplaces are the future of B2B commerce. You can read the full GigaOm Research report here.
- IDC, Worldwide Whole Cloud Forecast, 2022–2026: The Next Stage of the Shift to a Cloud-Centric Technology Industry; US49857122, December 2022.
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