Consumption is the new buzzword from Microsoft. Over the last couple of years Microsoft has been pushing partners to migrate companies to the cloud. Getting them to the cloud is one thing, getting them to use it and see value is another. Now Microsoft is asking partners for help in driving use or “consumption” of the online services. Obviously, if clients don't see the value then they won't renew the services. But for many partners understanding how to drive consumption is not as easy as migrating clients. While Office 365 is a great platform with many services, it in itself is not business solution. That is the challenge for many partners. An article in Redmond Channel Partner magazine said it best:
"It's not enough for partners to drive sales of Microsoft's cloud; now, they're being asked to drive cloud workloads."
- Redmond Channel Partner Magazine article: "For Microsoft's Cloud Partners, Consumption' Is the Order of the Day."
If you are a Microsoft cloud partner who has migrated a number of clients to Office 365, you might be asking what else can I offer them? What can I go back to these accounts with to take advantage of the consumption-driven incentive from Microsoft?
Many business and IT professionals are now familiar with the benefits of an intranet portal. Serving as an organization hub, internal employees can share information, documents, news, events, and can access departmental services.
Built strategically and consistently, an intranet portal can drive internal business collaboration and productivity while also providing better service across the organization.
Business solution portals, most often deployed on SharePoint On-premise and more recently Office 365 in the cloud, are seeing a rise in popularity and demand.
So why not extend that model to your extended organization? Your business partners, boards, committees, members, volunteers, and clients? Rather than an “intra,” why not an “extra” net for external users?
According to TechTarget, an extranet is a private network that uses Internet technology and the public telecommunication system to securely share part of a business's information or operations. An extranet can be viewed as part of a company's intranet that is extended to users outside the company.
Without an extranet, many organizations resort to sending emails or using basic document hosting sites, such as dropbox, to exchange content and information with outside partners and groups. This is time-consuming and ineffective for maintaining and building partner and business relationships.
By creating an extranet environment, you give your external partners and groups a way to collaborate externally as well as self-service access to more cohesively work with internal staff. This reduces work load at your business, improves communication, and builds a better business relationship.