Key Observations – Microsoft Inspire 2017
This was my 1st Microsoft Partner event – reinvented their previous WPC – it is now the biggest partner event in Microsoft’s history with >18,000 partners attending. Microsoft claims it has 64,000 partners & is adding 6,000 new ones each month – significant numbers. CEO Satya Nadella clearly articulated that Microsoft is a partner led company in which this growing ecosystem welcomes new partners & helps them thrive as part of this community – this defines us. Strong words for sure – this community appears to embrace that philosophy & exhibits extreme optimism that anything is possible. Great week, excellent meetings & unique networking opportunities – certainly inspirational.
Here are some observations from Microsoft Inspire 2017:
- Digital transformation is happening & the opportunity is clearly significant – Microsoft believes there are 4 pillars to digital transformation - Modern Workplace, Business Applications, Applications/Infrastructure & Data - AI
- Industry focus from Microsoft will provide improved more efficient partner support
- Really felt that Microsoft is sincere that it is not about product attributes, but about telling compelling customer stories – I’ve always been laser focused on customers/partners so this resonated very well
- Interest in Azure is really growing - individuals interested in Microsoft’s public cloud logged 1.2 million hours in Azure training during fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. Cloud students spent 365,000 hours on Azure online training
- Microsoft thinks very highly of Digital Transformation – it is an identified fiscal year priority & the channel is highly engaged – the new orientation is also helping push this agenda
- Microsoft wants its channel partners to help customers implement GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation - the European Union’s bid to provide a common set of privacy protections across member nations which goes into effect May 2018
For Our Customers - Potential Service Area Improvements
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise - built on the foundation of the highly successful Secure Productive Enterprise, which grew seats by triple digits in the last year. Going forward, Microsoft 365 Enterprise replaces Secure Productive Enterprise to double-down on the new customer promise of empowering employees to be creative & work together, securely
- Microsoft 365 Business – is designed for small- to medium-sized businesses with up to 300 users and integrates Office 365 Business Premium with tailored security & management features from Windows 10 & Enterprise Mobility + Security. It offers services to empower employees, safeguard the business & simplify IT management
Microsoft made the case that there are four basic ways channel partners can help customers. They are re-envision their business model & engage their customers, empower their employees, optimize their operations & transform their products. Inspire 2017 exhibited great community & communication around these joint targets.
Microsoft gets it – Their Mission - reason we’re all here - to empower every person & every organization on the planet to achieve more
Be Proactive not Reactive – Are You Ready?