Our Time at Microsoft Inspire 2017

Read all about our trip to Microsoft Inspire 2017 by Graeme, our Partner & Alliances Manager.

Having come down from the high of Microsoft Inspire 2017 and had time to reflect on all the amazing things I heard, I thought I’d share some of this information.

As the days passed by between meetings, sessions, social interactions/gatherings (I really mean, parties) the week can take its toll (average daily sleep for the week, 4 hrs 24 mins, as per Fitbit).

As always, the conference which is the largest gathering of Microsoft’s Partner community is fun, informative and inspiring. This year’s event, held in Washington DC, broke records with over 17k+ attendees from over 140 countries, the most it has ever had.

One Commercial Partner: Putting Partners First

Ron Huddleston, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, kicked off the first keynote. Ron reinforced Satya Nadella’s, Microsoft’s CEO, comments from last year that Microsoft is “Partner led and always will be”. He announced that Microsoft will be making it easier for partners to engage with Microsoft and connect with customers by bringing together partner focused teams, resources and expertise into the One Commercial Partner Organisation. This organisation’s sole purpose is partner growth and success.

It will help partners by giving us:

  • One way to get connected to all the opportunities Microsoft has for partners to grow across products and programs and extend into new markets
  • One way to get connected to customers across areas and segments

The One Commercial Partner Organisation has come out of an organisational shift and is built around 3 core functions to enable partner success, (1) Build-with, (2) Go-To-Market with and (3) Sell-with.

Satya Nadella reaffirmed that partners are the lifeblood that runs through the veins of Microsoft. Without partners, Microsoft recognises that it would not have achieved what it has to date and will be reliant on them for its success for decades to come.

For further information click here to watch the Keynote.

Microsoft is Changing

During his keynote, Satya described how the organisational shift that is happening at Microsoft is helping to redefine the software solutions they build, their attitude and how they want to interact with partners to enable partner and customer success.

Satya also laid out his vision for the next technological shift, the Intelligent Edge and the Intelligent Cloud.

These will be defined by the 3 key characteristics:

  • Multi-device/Multi Sense – No longer bound to a single device or input/output method (touch, speech, ink)
  • Artificial Intelligence – The infusion of AI into every application that is built that will help you make intelligent decisions with the rich data that you receive
  • Serverless – New efficient frontier to help develop, distribute and manage applications

Microsoft estimates the opportunity for the Intelligent Cloud & Intelligent Edge is $4.5 trillion.

Microsoft plans on capturing this opportunity by collectively coming together to address the needs of the 4 pillars of digital transformation outcomes by industry and geography:

  • Empower employees
  • Engage customers
  • Optimize operations
  • Transform products

The organisational shift and change in attitude have led Microsoft to change how they bring products together into solutions. Considering recent attacks such as Petya and WannaCry, Microsoft has had a fundamental rethink on how they see the modern workplace and introduced Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 is the best of Office 365, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility & Security. It is a complete intelligent solution for teamwork for the modern workforce that has AI infused in it to help with productivity and security.

Other contributors of note included Brad Smith, Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer, who highlighted the landscape of global threats that we face today and discussed Microsoft’s commitment to our security and privacy. We also heard from Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, who explained how Microsoft was going to work together with partners to enable success by changing up their sales model. Their ambition is to reduce missed partner opportunities where Microsoft cannot keep up with the rate at which partners were changing. They will also review potential constraints to partners through licensing, customer segmentation and geographic boundaries.

Microsoft is changing and the change they are making is a simple one – to be more customer-focused to use the power of Microsoft partners to deliver positive change for customers. For me, this year’s event has lived up to its name. Microsoft Inspire is an environment full of people who want to keep growing and learning, and being around them is infectious, exciting and inspiring.