Microsoft Inspire Highlights from a Microsoft Gold Partner

Microsoft Inspire – where the world meets to transform business

Microsoft Inspire  – where the world meets to transform business

We attended the first Microsoft Inspire with over 16,000 Microsoft Partners from around the globe for a week of networking and learning to accelerate business growth at Microsoft technology.

Our highlight was attending the UK Regional partner recognition reception held at the very swish Museum of Natural History, where we were recognised as a leading UK player and inducted into the top 1% of partners, a proud Inner Circle partner!

Below is a countdown of the numbers that comprise Microsoft Inspire 2017:

  • 17 million jobs within the Microsoft partner ecosystem: Microsoft employees make up less than 1% of this number!  Explains the amplifying effect partners have on Microsoft’s ability to take their products to market
  • 64,000 partners leading cloud solutions: bigger than Google, AWS and Salesforce
  • 140 Countries represented at the conference
  • 100 experts that will form Microsoft’s Research AI unit
  • 6 Priority verticals that will now be focussed on:
    • Financial Services
    • Manufacturing
    • Retail
    • Education
    • Health
    • Government
  • 4 Application areas:
    • The Modern workplace
    • Business Applications
    • Applications and Infrastructure
    • Data and AI
  • 1 Commercial Partner: Microsoft restructures to aid co-sell and support partners with pre-sales activities to get deals over the line.

Microsoft 365 to aid businesses in intelligent edge and cloud era

In the first keynote of the conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about the intelligent cloud opportunity and was joined by other corporate VPs at Microsoft to give an overview of news, including updates to its channel partner programme and the launch of Microsoft 365.

CEO Satya Nadella also spoke about the technology paradigm shift, and advancements in intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. He mentioned that the new digital era will be of multi-device, and Artificial Intelligence will be part of every next generation application.

The newly announced all-in-one enterprise IT suite, Microsoft 365, combines productivity suite Office 365, Windows 10 OS, and security solution Enterprise Mobility + Security, designed with the ‘modern workplace’ in mind. The company describes it as a “complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees.” Microsoft talked about the new, transforming workplace, and that the new, streamlined Microsoft 365 is designed to assist with this transformation. Microsoft 365’s suite of features reflects Microsoft’s belief that today’s employees are “multi-device” users, that need to be able to access their documents, files, and applications across devices – desktops, laptops, phones – without losing functionality.

Four Pillars of Digital Transformation

Microsoft’s Day 2 Vision Keynote shifted the focus from vision to implementation. By providing real world examples of how partners created solutions for their own customers that were built on Microsoft technologies.

The keynote was led by Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of their Worldwide Commercial Business, Judson Althoff, and continued to build upon the companies efforts to help customers with their digital transformations using four key pillars: Empowering Employees, Engaging Customers, Optimising Operations and Transforming Products.

On-prem Azure heads into the wild

Of key focus is the emphasis on consumption and how in the Microsoft world, Azure becomes the lifeblood that fuels the consumption economy. Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform is also getting some updates, announced at Inspire. Azure SQL Data Warehouse got a serious boost with new virtual machine types and storage enhancements, as reported by ZDNet’s Andrew Brust. It was also unveiled that Microsoft’s hybrid computing appliance, Azure Stack, is available to order from partners Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. Microsoft hopes Azure Stack will help its cloud platform separate from the likes of Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud by giving customers an option to run Azure apps as on-premises and private cloud systems, making Azure a hybrid cloud model for those who want it and a public cloud for those who don’t.

Microsoft Dynamics and LinkedIn integration

Business applications have a role to play in Microsoft’s larger vision for digital transformation, and plans for new LinkedIn use cases have become an expected part of Dynamics 365 roadmap plans. At Inspire 2017 this week, the company demonstrated plans for enhancing business scenarios like sales force automation and talent management by connecting Dynamics 365 apps with LinkedIn and the Microsoft productivity tools.


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