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Being Disruptive

2 Aug 2018 by Steph Eddy

Out of all of the key thoughts and initiatives that came from Microsoft’s Inspire last week in Las Vegas this word “Disruption” was one that I heard numerous times and caused me to pause.  What is ‘disruption’?  What does it have to do with our business? How do we use this to define our place in the market?  I’m going to share some of my key insights from #MSInspire and how Quadrotech is using these insights be disruptive.

First, what is ‘disruption’?

I thought long and hard on this word. Of course, I know what disruption is – but how does it fit into a technology company’s strategy?  I took to Wikipedia to better understand the context: Disruptive innovation is a term in the field of business administration which refers to an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances.

In a previous life, I had a role that required me to recruit partners on behalf of Microsoft.  One of the first questions I always asked was “What’s your secret sauce” – “What’s your niche in the market” – or “What sets you apart from your competition?”  Looking back, I realize now that I was asking them what made them disruptive.  So I asked myself numerous times throughout the week of Inspire: What makes Quadrotech disruptive? What’s our secret sauce?

Examples of disruption from the Core Notes

The most impactful pieces from Inspire’s Day 1 Core note, were delivered by Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for One Commercial Partner, Gavriella Schuster.  Gavriella spoke about the successes of last fiscal and provided some insights into financials through FY18 Q3.  Office 365 growth is up by 42%; Dynamics is up 64%, Azure had an astonishing 93% growth in comparison to Q3 of FY17.  What is most notable is the growth of adoption for Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program reaching a 234% growth!  Astonishing given the fact that CSP Direct was a highly sought after and thought to be a prestigious standing within Microsoft.  However, at this time last year, Microsoft had an alarmingly low adoption of CSP, and many contemplated whether CSP would be something that would stick.  Many field sellers opposed the program because it did not help them retire scorecard.  With the addition of Co-Sell, CSP’s adoption rate began to climb, mostly because it provides an avenue for field sellers to retire quota.

Co-Sell is disruptive.  CSP is disruptive. Quadrotech participates in both.

Day 2’s Core note again invited Gavriella’s wisdom to the stage.  This time she spoke of what makes a good partner and how AI is causing a disruption in the market. She opened comparing Data mining to the gold rush, a totally accurate representation of the time we live in today.  She also mentioned something that caught my attention; she said: “Your message has to be less than 20 words”.  If you had to describe to me, right now, what you do and how you impact the overall market in less than 20 words, what would you say?

For me, speaking to Microsoft, it would be “To and through the Cloud.”.

To and through the Cloud.

Core note day two (find all core note sessions here) also provided Jason Zander who stated: “Broad ambitions for Azure & M365.   [It is the] move to the intelligent cloud & intelligent edge, moving toward a ubiquitous computing service fabric that works from the edge to the cloud.” Satya Nadella in his Core note on day three also questioned this paradigm shift and referenced three things that are happening simultaneously. The first being People-Centered Experiences. The Second is AI – specifically infusing AI into everything, making it prescriptive.  The last is ‘how it’s done’ and what is needed to ensure success. Which of course brings us back around to Ubiquitous computing.

You can see where and how Microsoft is investing in this type of computing.  Project Natick is an underwater datacenter, taking a record 90 days to build and has zero emissions. Alternatively, look at the investments that we see with Walmart moving to AI centered solutions to compete with Amazon.  There’s no doubt that the cloud will continue to drive additional workloads that we will see continue to spin up in the next few years.

Again, these topics are all part of Disruptive Innovations.  As I listened to Core notes and session speakers, as I met with Microsoft field sellers and Enterprise Channel Managers – I listened.  Not just to them, but to myself.  I thought about my elevator pitch and what words or phrases I used to grab their attention.

Quadrotech’s disruptive innovation comes from Digital Transformation.

Our strategy and solutions speak to the O365 lifecycle.  We are more than just a migration company; we help customers adopt and consume everything that O365 has to offer.  We provide migration solutions that release a customer’s commitment to a 3rd party on-premise vendors and create an environment that the end user recognizes.  Where the end users links embedded in PST files will work and where their public folders have the same permissions as they did before the migration.  Where all of their archive data is where it makes sense, which is not sitting in blob storage.

For acquisitions or divestitures, we have our tenant to tenant migration solution (Cloud Commander) that allow business’ like Holding companies, which make their profits from buying and selling, that much easier to combine tenants and resume normalcy to the end users.

Our reporting tools can identify usage, true adoption, and even permissions.  Our security & audit module can identify and retain information about a breach or even a potential breach.  Financial firms take an average of 98 days to detect a data breach and retailers can take up to 197 days, according to new research.  Most native tools will have already purged that data, where our Radar reporting will retain it, with the customer’s permission, as long as they are a customer of ours. We can even set up alerts for specific security events that will be sent to a Global Admin’s smartphone via SMS.

Our management suite will give role-based access control to users who run an OU (Operating Unit), so they can effectively manage their employees without bottlenecking simple requests like password resets by having to open a ticket with their IT or System Admins.  State and Local Government employee infrastructure will never be run more efficiently, as they will with our Autopilot management suite.

Getting customers to the cloud isn’t real digital transformation – the customer’s ability to accept, adopt and use these new tools after the migration is the real transformation. As we look in front of us at the brand new, shiny fiscal year for Microsoft, Quadrotech will continue to develop solutions that bring our customers beyond simply going to the cloud. My advice to you is the same advice I got at Inspire from our PDM. “Go on, get out there and be disruptive.”

Someday, she might regret saying that to us.