"Microsoft is making Azure available in the open licensing catalogue for India. We saw that many SMEs wanted our Azure platform but they also wanted to work with their local IT partner for the same," Microsoft India General Manager (Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners) Meetul Patel told PTI.
With this move, SMBs in India will now be able to purchase Microsoft Azure cloud platform from their local IT partner, he added.
Earlier customers purchased Azure either directly from the Azure website or as part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA) with Microsoft.
While these options would continue, SMBs are likely to leverage their existing partners to procure Azure, he said.
Patel said cloud is a great way for SMBs to enhance their business efficiency with minimal expenditure on IT.
"We make available the most comprehensive portfolio of enterprise-grade cloud services to help them increase productivity and competitiveness. Office 365 is already available in the open catalogue and now with the addition of Azure, SMBs will be able to quickly build and deploy applications at reduced costs with flexible monetary terms and achieve faster return on investment," he added.
According to a study by Nasscom and Frost & Sullivan, SMBs are expected to spend about $18.5 billion (Rs 1.11 lakh crore) on information technology by FY2018, driven by growing adoption of cloud and mobility solutions, compared to about Rs 47,200 crore ($8.7 billion) on IT in FY2013.
Of the $8.7 billion, 45 per cent was spent on hardware, while 40 per cent was on IT services (implementation, support and training) and 15 per cent was on software licensing and software as a service (SaaS).
The report further said SaaS adoption by SMBs in India is growing at a CAGR of over 25 per cent and is expected to reach Rs 2,000 crore ($370 million) by FY2018.
"Over the years, our customers have been able to adopt and benefit from new technologies though the support of our 10,000 strong partner network. By making Azure available through local partners, we are further helping India’s SMBs secure the great benefits of cloud computing," Patel said.