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One is not enough: How Edifixio adds Azure to meet demand and provide customer choice

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Choices in the Cloud

Why does a leading Amazon Web Services technology partner add an Azure practice to its business? In the case of Edifixio, the motivation was to transform itself into a cloud services broker capable of giving customers the freedom to choose their cloud platform. The company expects Azure to become a major contributor to its cloud business.

Edifixio is very selective about the companies with which it goes into partnership. So, when the Paris-based provider of digital solutions for the “extended enterprise” decided to head into the cloud, it chose Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.

“We did look at Microsoft Azure,” says Edifixio’s Frédéri Mandin. “But in 2010, Azure had just come out and Amazon was years ahead in capabilities. When we commit to a partnership, it’s real, not a logo on our website. We invest in a dedicated team to work with our partner, to build services, to establish a relationship.”

But two years ago, Edifixio entered into a partnership with Microsoft over Azure and added the Microsoft cloud service to its offerings. It made the investment—in new hires, in training, in certification, in relationship-building—to create a dedicated Azure team.

What happened?

“Our customers wanted Azure”

“One thing that changed was that our customers wanted Azure and we didn’t want to turn away good business,” says Mandin, the Azure Practice Manager at Edifixio.

<i> We see Azure bringing entirely new levels of price-performance, agility, and functionality to cloud solutions.</i>

- Frederi Mandin, Azure Practice Manager, Edifixio

“A big part of being responsive to our customers is giving them the freedom to choose the solution that best meets their needs,” says Mandin. “The services coverage that Microsoft delivers, across SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, ensures that we can find such a solution. We are now a cloud services broker, able to serve customers regardless of the platform they wish to use. That’s good for their businesses—and for ours.”

Indeed it is. In one year, Azure has grown to account for a very significant portion of Edifixio cloud-based revenues, according to Mandin.

Azure: Faster, easier, lower-cost

Azure is an important part of a cloud solution provider’s business, according to Mandin, because it meets the need for faster, easier, lower-cost cloud solutions based on a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering.

“We adopted Azure because it was far more mature than it had been, and because its PaaS offering was stable, functional, and usable” he says.
When a solution can run on either a PaaS or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment, Edifixio recommends PaaS.

“We see PaaS solutions running about 60 percent less than the cost of IaaS solutions,” he says. “Because Azure is automatically maintained and updated, we don’t have to worry about security or software upgrades, and we know we can depend on the availability and long-term reliability.”

Mandin says that if a technology provider hasn’t looked at Azure lately, it hasn’t really looked at Azure. He attributes the change to what he sees as a broader “mindset shift” at Microsoft.

“Along with the very real cloud-first, mobile-first strategy at Microsoft, the company is far more open than it’s ever been,” he says. “We get support quickly. We can talk with Microsoft resources and get them to work with us.”

A real partner in Microsoft

Edifixio has participated in the Microsoft Partner Seller (P Seller) program since the end of 2015, a win-win for the provider and Microsoft. It also gives Edifixio direct access to Microsoft pre-sales technical advisors who can help convert those leads into customers. The two companies even make joint sales calls to promote Azure solutions.

Edifixio has used the partnership to move into the small business market where it was formerly less active, and to expand its managed services offerings for the enterprise market.

“As a result of this partnership, when a Microsoft consultant has a customer request for managed services, the consultant comes to us and we get customers we wouldn’t have had before, or would only have acquired with much more time and effort,” says Mandin.

Enables cloud-first solutions

Mandin sees customers choosing Public IaaS when they have strictly lift-and-shift projects to move legacy datacenters to the cloud, because IaaS is very close to virtualization, and the customers are comfortable with the concepts.

But customers increasingly choose Azure —and Mandin recommends PaaS—when they want new, cloud-first, mobile-first solutions that take full advantage of the cloud to deliver low-cost and high-agility that can’t be found on-premises, or in a legacy lift-and-shift project. And that is good news for Edifixio and Azure.

“There are only so many datacenters out there that can be moved to the cloud,” explains Mandin. “And the older that on-premises technology gets, the less likely customers are to want to continue to use it in the cloud. But as customers come to understand all that the cloud can do for them, there will be more and more requests for cloud solutions that make customers faster, more productive, and more profitable. Customers can build directly in the cloud. They like that message. And that’s what Azure is best at. So the momentum for Azure can only grow—and grow our business.”

Well worth the investment

Getting an Azure practice off the ground takes some investment, notes Mandin, although it’s worth it. Edifixio hired him to manage all aspects of the relationship with Microsoft from the Edifixio side and he’s since spent between one third and one half of his time to working on the Microsoft relationship.

Edifixio hired and trained six additional developers this year to reinforce their practice and reach +20 people This has been done both on the technology, and on the new way of doing business that Azure makes possible. It took Edifixio two months to get to the Silver Partnership level, and another six months to achieve the Gold Partnership level—important distinctions that customers look for in evaluating a partner, according to Mandin.

Edifixio is rapidly developing its Cloud practice with Azure, AWS, and Salesforce, and sees them as being in friendly competition. “We see Azure bringing entirely new levels of price-performance, agility, and functionality to cloud solutions,” says Mandin.

For more on how Microsoft stands ready to help Amazon partners, check out the Microsoft Advantage, and if you haven’t already, join the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program today.

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