Sure, anyone can start playing with the preview edition of Microsoft’s new cloud-based software for doing predictive analytics, Azure Machine Learning. But Microsoft has apparently made some predictions of its own: Well educated Microsoft partners could translate into more use of the service in the long run.

Microsoft today announced a new training program for partners called Azure Machine Learning University.

The service “will help partners build advanced analytic cloud services for their customers in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications,” a Microsoft spokesman wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

And the university — which has already served up videos on creating predictive models, using the R language in the Microsoft cloud, accessing the service’s application programming interface (API), and other topics — could help Microsoft ramp up adoption of the new software hard and fast.

Microsoft’s partner army could make the new Azure Machine Learning service more popular than comparable offerings and machine-learning APIs from startups like BigML,, and Skytree.

Popularity of the service could also help Microsoft grab a lead against its competitors in the cloud infrastructure market, namely Google and Amazon, when it comes to offering fully managed machine-learning software.

Notice that the Azure Machine Learning isn’t something that was initially released for use in companies’ on-premises data centers. That puts the service in line with Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella’s persistent line about the company being “for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.”

Today, by the way, marks the first day that Azure Machine Learning is open for public preview.