Microsoft Inspire 2018
Group Sales Director, Michael Gowen, provides an insight into Microsoft’s largest annual event.
After a month of being back in the UK following a busy time at Microsoft Inspire, I find myself reflecting on how the conference breathes new life into the already growing Microsoft practice at Arden Group.
The overwhelming impression upon arrival at the first corenote (American English for Keynote) is the sheer vastness of Microsoft partners, some 20,000, from 132 countries, all offering a service wrap to the wide-ranging Microsoft portfolio. Each person working in the spirit of collaboration, trying to learn from one another and ultimately finding new ways to improve the service they provide to customers.
Microsoft’s focus was evident from the start – putting the customer at the centre of everything it delivers. Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President and Commercial Partner Channels & Programs for Microsoft, discussed how this focus has delivered a record year for growth and shifts the focus quickly to all things IoT and AI within their foundation of six solution areas. Digital transformation is here, being powered by the Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge.
The focus of the 4-day event continued in this manner, with the culmination of Microsofts CEO, Satya Nadella’s, Corenote on the last day. It was the first time Microsoft Inspire (partners) and Microsoft Ready (employee’s) had been brought together. Satya was genuinely inspiring to listen to, he talked through the mission of Microsoft to empower every person and every organisation to achieve more. This mission is underpinned by the incredibly impressive Azure Cloud platform, accommodating the Cloud first principle. The transformation of Microsoft from a software house, to a leading cloud provider under his leadership has been remarkable, and with the portfolio growing on a daily basis, this functionality becomes compelling for any Microsoft business users.
Customers can now purchase affordable solutions, in a flexible manner, that are transforming the core of businesses and the way in which they operate. The Azure Platform/Intelligent Cloud is made up of 54 Data Centre Regions around the globe, some with multiple Data Centres per region. Microsoft even demonstrated how they have built a fully self-sufficient data centre (Project Natick) and deployed it underwater off the Northern Isles, which can operate on the Seafloor and provide compute power through 864 servers, all in less than 90 days.
As Satya took everyone through a day in the life of a CEO, he demonstrated how he uses this technology, with AI and collaborative tools at the core. The Cortana application managing updates, reminders and voice recognition across multiple devices and platforms. The foundation to all the collaborative tools was Microsoft Teams; this is predicted to replace all of what was Skype. Teams is set to and transcend both the consumer and business world offering “free form” channel-based communication, changing the way people share information. This was taken further the demonstration of future of meetings which showed automatic facial with audio recognition of multiple meeting participants. All participants were logged into a meeting, all notes were recorded and follow up actions distributed to team members, automatically by Teams working in conjunction with Cortana whilst even taking it as far as the holobeam showing how remote assistance can be part of this technology with 3D augmented reality.
In conclusion, Microsoft has clearly got the march on their competition by offering a suite of products which can deliver multiple services supported by the Azure platform, delivering real business change. The questions for customers are, how do you embrace this? How does it become commercially viable? what are risks to your business when migrating services? This for me is where Microsoft really understand the market and that this value is delivered from their trusted partners. The tools have been provided, it is up to the partner community working with customers and Microsoft to transform these into business realities delivering tangible value.”
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