Microsoft’s annual partner event, Microsoft Inspire, was conducted virtually on July 19-20, 2022. The event comprised keynote speeches from Microsoft CEO – Satya Nadella, Nick Parker – Corporate Vice President, Global Partner Solutions, and Judson Althoff – Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer.
Microsoft Inspire celebrates the work of Microsoft partners and recognizes the impact they have across business and industry. Microsoft has over 400,000 partners catering to over 22 million people around the world.
Microsoft Inspire 2022 saw discussions on certain changes that will allow partners to keep driving growth and build on their success. Some of these major themes addressed in the announcements are discussed below.
Making hybrid-work work
Microsoft is delivering new capabilities in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams that let people contribute whenever and wherever they are working.
Using Excel Live, people can collaborate on workbooks directly within the Teams meeting window.
During Microsoft Build 2022, the Live Share feature was introduced which enables participants to co-watch, co-edit, and co-create in Teams.
Sharing spreadsheets within a Teams meeting had been a one-sided experience. However, Excel Live brings an enhanced collaboration solution for working on Microsoft Excel workbooks, empowering people to collaborate in real-time within their Teams meetings.
“This feature really improves the overall ability to work together in the ‘now.’ Meaning, we can collaborate in real-time and get things done during the Teams meeting instead of someone just presenting,” said an Excel Live demo participant.
Collaborative annotations, powered by Microsoft Whiteboard, enable participants to draw, type, or react to shared meeting content during a Teams meeting.
While you’re sharing your full screen in a meeting, you can turn on annotation by selecting ‘Start annotation’ in the meeting controls in the upper-middle area of your screen as shown below. Use the same icon to turn off annotations.
Once the annotation is on, the red outline around the shared screen will turn blue. All participants will be able to see the Microsoft Whiteboard toolset at the top of the shared screen and begin annotating right away.
Find more about annotations here.
Employee experience platform, Microsoft Viva, uses a variety of tools to increase productivity, well-being, and collaboration. The new Viva Engage app is designed to help organizations to build connections and community for personal expression. It provides employees with personal expression tools, like creating and sharing video posts through the new Stories feature.
Digital Contact Center Platform
To make customer experience efficient and frictionless, Microsoft announced the new Digital Contact Center Platform that brings together several Microsoft products, like Nuance, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Microsoft Teams, into an open, extensible and collaborative platform.
Independent software vendors (ISVs) can use the platform to build contact center experiences like smarter chatbots, faster live chat boxes, and intuitive AI solutions for their clients. The platform aims to create more personalized engagements across digital channels so that businesses can work to develop deeper relationships with their customers, and reduce costs, which is feasible only via consolidation and automation.
Unlocking opportunities for ISVs
Microsoft unlocked opportunities for its partners by investing in new programs, benefits, and resources to help all ISVs meet customer needs, innovate faster and cost-efficiently, go-to-market, and grow a thriving business.
Microsoft announced new benefits with the ISV Success Program that will help ISVs innovate rapidly, build well-architected applications, publish them to Microsoft’s commercial marketplace, and grow their sales. Software providers can take advantage of this package to build across the Microsoft Cloud and access cloud sandboxes, developer tooling, technical and business resources, and a dedicated community. Marketplace Rewards has also been integrated into the ISV Success Program to make it easy for ISVs.
Microsoft is continually improving its commercial marketplace, digital selling platform, and global commerce. Microsoft announced a partnership with Tackle.io to help ISVs scale and reach Microsoft customers, simplify selling and accelerate revenue in the commercial marketplace.
Microsoft introduced new industry designations for ISVs, which will be available later in 2022. These designations classify solutions based on their demonstrated performance with customers, technical maturity, and customer success. This will be implemented in healthcare, retail and financial services in the first stage.
Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty
As governments around the world are embracing digital transformation, creating opportunities for social and economic growth, and enhancing services while complying with the legal regulations, needs, and interests of their citizenry, Microsoft has announced Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty which is specifically designed for the government sector.
This new solution will allow public sector customers to build and digitally transform workloads in the Microsoft Cloud while fulfilling compliance, security, and policy requirements. Government customers can utilize the power of the public cloud and address low cost, agility, and scale expectations, with complete capabilities like modern developer services, agile infrastructure, secure DevOps, open-source platforms, modern collaboration, and low-code development. Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty customers will also benefit from Microsoft’s global security signals that analyze over 24 trillion signals every day to identify local attacks and offer protection.
Read details about Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty here.
Azure Space Partner Community
The Azure Space was launched in October 2020 and since then Microsoft has built meaningful partnerships to empower its customers. At present, its partners span the entire ecosystem comprising space operators, manufacturers, systems integrators, data providers, ISVs, and startups. These partners offer a range of capabilities spanning from connectivity, earth observation, virtualization, data processing, and analytics to ground infrastructure.
The Azure Space Partner Community is an ecosystem of space partners with exclusive access to technical support and scaling solutions. It will enable partners to deliver the most comprehensive and innovative offerings and the future of space computing.
Azure Space Partner Community provides access to various benefits like co-innovation, go-to-market and technical support, industry selling, and solution scaling. Read about them here.
All the announcements at Microsoft Inspire 2022 were designed with partners and customers at the center to enable them to grow their business, transform the way they work, and maintain security across the cloud.
Windows 365 marked its first anniversary during the event. During the year, Windows 365 has continuously evolved, with several new features, like point-in-time restore, which allows administrators “turn back the clock” on a Cloud PC, and Autopatch which automates Windows updates to improve security for today’s modern workplace.