Microsoft Inspire 2018 brought together over 17,000 attendees from 132 countries in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was one of the best ways for partners to celebrate a year of collaboration, learning, and succeeding together.
Microsoft channel partners, managed service providers (MSPs), channel distributors, and independent software vendors (ISVs) found a lot of opportunities and chance to network with thousands of global partners. It will help the partners to look ahead and achieve more together by delivering innovative solutions to customers.
Below are some of the inspirations the attendees got this year at Microsoft Inspire 2018.
1. Industry-first approach
One of the key themes at Inspire 2017 was an approach focused on industry. Microsoft realigned its services around industry lines to better meet customer demands. This approach has helped a lot of global customers like Starbucks, Unilever, Komatsu and more companies. Microsoft said that partners are a crucial element of its industry-first approach.
“Partners are the beginning and the end, the first and the last mile of our industry strategy,” said Judson Althoff, executive VP of worldwide commercial business at Microsoft.
“Partners bring forward the differentiation we need to make our customers’ digital transformations come to life.”
This year, Microsoft said that the industry approach will remain a key part of its strategy in fiscal year 2019. The company crossed the $100 billion mark in its fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30.
The company will tap its partners to meet the industry approach, and will also seek them to develop solutions on its core services like Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365.
For example, Microsoft is partnering with KPMG Australia and Commonwealth Bank of Australia to build a software called Wiise. The new system integrates online banking into a business management platform along with Microsoft’s services like Office 365.
2. New guided experiences
Microsoft collected its best practice-building content and organized it into digital guided experiences. These guided experiences will work as practice development journeys for partners for a growing list of practice areas.
Announced at the Microsoft Inspire 2018, the guided experiences will help partners to understand the size of market, current and projected growth, and learn the strategies to build new practices. Partners will be able to develop new skills, obtain competencies, use technical resources to speed up practice development, and set up sales, marketing and technical teams.
Furthermore, the new guided experiences will allow partners to explore more ways to expand into new markets, form strategic partnerships, sell more effectively, and drive customer engagement.
The new digital guided experiences will be available in the practice areas including Microsoft 365, security and compliance, data platform modernization, artificial intelligence, cloud infrastructure and management, Dynamics 365 and more.
Other than these, the tech giant is also offering digital transformation opportunity e-books, business development and profitability resources, and practice development playbooks.
3. Program enhancements to the Microsoft Partner Network
The new offers and program enhancement to the Microsoft Partner Network will help the partners to showcase their solutions and reach the right customers. The advanced specialization for partners with Gold competency, provides a mean to showcase verifiable expertise in a product or service, so that customers can see both the Gold competency and advanced specialization in business profile of partners.
There is a new resource hub for ISVs that provides tools for development and scaling apps, and bring them to customers. The ISVs can attain an ISV Silver or Gold competency by subscribing to ISV Starter Kit.
Microsoft is offering new benefits packages to partners with competencies, which will allow them to choose packages as per their business focus. These packages with go-to-market services will help partners to generate leads, improve lead velocity, and increase close rate for service offerings.
Partners who publish their apps and services in AppSource or Azure Marketplace will be able to optimize their listing to engage more customers.
4. Co-sell with Microsoft through AppSource
Building on its philosophy to reward its sellers to sell third-party solutions through One Commercial Partner organization, Microsoft announced that it will now allow the same thing through AppSource marketplace.
From early 2019, the Microsoft direct salesforce and reseller partners will be able to sell their first and third-party solutions from AppSource.
The company said that One Commercial Partner organization, launched last year, generated a partner revenue of more than $5 billion in just one year. The new move will open door to more growth opportunities.
5. Satya Nadella’s core-note
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the stage on Wednesday. The focus of his messaging remained on making the world a better place. If you have read Leadership and Transformation lessons from Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh, then you’ll be familiar with his messages.
“Don’t join Microsoft because you want to be cool— join Microsoft because you want others to be cool,” said Nadella during his speech.
He shared his insights on artificial intelligence, and said that Microsoft will use AI in everything.
Microsoft partners looked inspired by Nadella’s leadership and the way he approaches the technologies and accelerates company’s growth.
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