A few personal highlights, and exciting things to come – Inspire 2017
After travelling home from Washington DC, I had a bit of time to reflect on the week we had at Microsoft Inspire 2017 (and attempt to catch up on sleep). One of the challenges of an event like Inspire is trying to collect all the information made available. The keynotes, and dozens of sessions are certainly a good start; but we get just as much value (if not more) out of chance meetings at the array of “unstructured networking” events, over breakfast before the daily keynotes, at partner celebration events, and of course, at the REALLY late night after-parties.
The collective insights gained from all these events, once distilled, start to paint the picture of where Microsoft is going and what we need to do to stay relevant. Before getting into details, I have to look back on some of my own personal highlights:
- 2017 was the first year we’ve been a Gold Sponsor at Inspire…which was an amazing experience (and we had a HUGE booth!).
- Watching the Carrie Underwood concert from the box suite with David Willis and other top Microsoft partners was definitely a treat I won’t forget anytime soon.
- And finally, seeing our company presenting on stage at the US keynote was incredible!
The key messages from the conference around ‘One Commercial Partner’, the shift to more of an industry focus, and the re-branding of the Secure Productive Enterprise into Microsoft 365 provide many new opportunities for partners. Microsoft is focusing heavily on consumption this year, and in order for Microsoft sales teams to achieve their targets, they must embed third-party solution providers into their selling motions. Microsoft is also investing in more resources for partners, which in return, further encourages us to continue in our commitment to help Microsoft achieve its FY18 objectives.
More details will emerge in the coming weeks, and as we re-watch sessions, we’ll glean more useful information, and incorporate it into our go-to-market strategy. The changes that Microsoft have made to its partner programs are more varied, and far-reaching than we’ve seen in over a decade, and we all have the task of absorbing and integrating these ideas and technologies into our own solutions or operations. What that means for us is continued development in our Management Suite and Migration Suite, as well as a new product announcement at Ignite. But it also means that along the way we will have more resources than ever before at our fingertips.
It’s up to each partner to understand these resources and learn how to best leverage them in FY18. Just as Microsoft cannot succeed without partnering with third-party solution providers, services providers (from any number of programs) can also benefit greatly from doing the same. We’re here to help you drive consumption and active usage with our Management Suite, and we’re here to migrate your customers’ legacy on-premises systems to Office 365. Not only this, but we’re always evolving our services and features, so we’ve also got a few new tricks up our sleeve that we’re excited to announce in the near future.