Microsoft is giving ISVs new incentives to deploy on Azure

As part of its Build developer conference, Microsoft is launching a new program for independent software vendors (ISVs) today that aims to make its Azure platform more attractive to them: If they deploy their applications on Azure and make them available on its AppSource marketplace, Microsoft will allow its users to access them from tools like PowerApps and its IFTTT competitor Flow without asking them to upgrade to the full version of these services. Typically, you need to have a paid account to allow these services to access data outside of Microsoft’s own Office tools.

As Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for its Cloud and Enterprise division, stressed when I talked to him ahead of the announcement: These service obviously remain open to applications that run outside of Azure, too.

ISVs, Numoto told me, are increasingly looking to Microsoft not just for help with technology but also for help with growing their business. “A lot of the things we are doing are to connect our aspirations in business applications to the cloud,” he said. “We want to help ISVs be successful and help them reap the same benefits by working with Microsoft.”

Microsoft also shares with the vendor the contact info of users that install an app through AppSource — and those leads can go right into their CRM systems. As Julia White, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Azure marketing, told me, one thing vendors have always requested is access to Microsoft’s large enterprise sales force. Now, Microsoft will actually do this for those vendors that qualify for this program (that is, those who host on Azure and make their services available in AppSource).

“We have seen stronger interest from the ISVs to work with Microsoft not just from a tech perspective but also from a business perspective,” Numoto said. “But they need help in growing their business.” And to do that, he added, the ISVs need to be wired into their enterprise customer’s workflows.