CWSI “Inspired” by Microsoft Silver Partnership
In celebration of achieving Silver Partner status in Enterprise Mobility Management we despatched our team to the Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. This is the major global event for Microsoft partners and this year, for the first time, it was combined with Microsoft’s Ready event for its employees.
The result was 18,000 Microsoft employees and partners gathered together from 132 countries at Microsoft’s biggest event yet and we’ve just about recovered enough from a whirlwind few days to give you a wrap-up of the highlights.
Usually what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not in this case. Here’s our take on events.
Partner Opportunities are Huge and Continue to Grow
Our first major take-away was just how strong the Microsoft partner ecosystem is and how big the opportunity is. Microsoft currently has 72,000 cloud partners and 95% of Microsoft’s revenues are partner generated. A 2018 study from IDC shows that for every $1 of revenue generated for Microsoft, almost $10 are generated within the partner ecosystem.
The major opportunity on the horizon for everybody centres on Digital Transformation, with Microsoft estimating that this represents a $4.5 trillion market opportunity, fuelled by cloud, mobility, artificial intelligence, mixed reality and the Internet of Things.
From our perspective it was great to hear how Microsoft is increasingly looking for partners with a focus on driving adoption and change management rather than just selling volume licensing that may or may not be fully utilised. It was also reassuring to see significant opportunities aligned to Microsoft’s Modern Workplace practice which includes Windows 10, Office 365 and, last but not least Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) – CWSI’s key area of focus.
Last year Microsoft launched its One Commercial Partner program, rewarding sellers to sell 3rd party solutions for the first time. This has resulted in over $5Bn of partner revenue and has driven an initiative, in early 2019, for Microsoft to put partner solutions in its product catalogue alongside its own products and services, enabling Microsoft’s direct salesforce and reseller partners to sell 1st and 3rd party solutions individually or combined.
DAY 1 – Highlights
On our first full day of Microsoft Inspire, thousands of Microsoft partners and employees filled the T-Mobile Arena to hear Microsoft’s senior leaders discuss the ways in which companies around the world are transforming their businesses using Microsoft technologies.
Ron Huddleston, CVP, Microsoft One Commercial Partner, showcased Microsoft’s solution areas and explained how Microsoft is investing $250 million to reduce friction and help partners better connect with their customers. We also learned about an increased focus in FY19 on industry-specific solutions, new strategies to drive customer acquisition and retention, and enhanced training and readiness opportunities.
DAY 2 – Highlights
We reconvened at the T-Mobile Arena for the Day 2 Corenote, featuring Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner. She shared how, since the launch of One Commercial Partner a year ago, partners have achieved over $5 billion in sales. She announced expanded opportunities for partners to co-sell with Microsoft this year, including creating and managing their own cloud marketplaces within Microsoft AppSource.
We also heard from Jason Zander, Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Azure Team in the Cloud and AI Group, and Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft 365, about new initiatives that will help partners achieve digital transformation for their customers.
Ron outlined how this area alone represents a $100 billion opportunity globally with huge growth in Microsoft 365 and associated devices due to the upcoming upgrade cycle around end of support for Windows 7 and Office 2010.
In specific product announcements, the freemium version of Microsoft Teams was revealed along with Enterprise and Small Business versions of the Microsoft 365 suite, combining Office 365, Windows 10 and the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite.
DAY 3 – Highlights
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, addressed a joint audience of employees and partners in his Corenote speech, focusing on 5 key areas;
• Intelligent cloud, intelligent edge
• Artificial Intelligence (AI)
• Microsoft 365
• Business Applications
While it’s clear that Microsoft are putting a huge amount of focus in Azure. It’s now in 54 datacentre regions, extends to hybrid, on-premise applications via Azure Stack and is expanding into edge devices via the Azure IoT Edge and Azure Sphere offerings.
When it comes to Artifical Intelligence, Nadella believes the potential is “for us to be able to turn every industry into an AI-first industry – whether it’s retail or health care or agriculture. We want to be able to make sure that they can take their data, in a secure, privacy-preserving way, [and] can work that into AI capabilities that they get the return on.”
Given CWSI’s focus on enterprise mobility, we were interested in Nadella’s views on the modern workplace and he dedicated a portion of his keynote to demonstrating the way his own workday revolves around the Microsoft 365 suite, which includes Office 365 productivity apps, Windows 10 and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security.
We fully agree with him when he says “The opportunity for everyone here is to take Microsoft 365 and apply it for cultural transformation in large enterprises [and] for productivity in small businesses. To be able to really do industry-specific workflows in health care, manufacturing, financial services. To be able to take it to first-line workers.”
Finally Nadella left us with a memorable quote that really resonated with the team here at CWSI.
“What binds us together is not our success but the success our customers achieve.”
For us it’s all about using technology to enable our customers to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. While it was a long three days, we did get a little time to unwind. The event was closed by One Celebration, a fabulous night of entertainment, an opportunity to really build relationships with the rest of the partner community an amazing performance by Bruno Mars which made sure we all left the event on a huge high.
We couldn’t possibly do this massive event justice in one simple blog post but we hope we’ve given you a flavour of it. If you’re interested in seeing more of the keynote speeches or getting more detail on some of the key announcements then simply click on the button below.