I recently returned from the Microsoft Inspire 2019 – a confluence of Microsoft partners and employees who meet, celebrate, learn and get inspired!
Microsoft has been core to our business and being at Microsoft Inspire - Microsoft’s annual partner conference is a great pride for us. Each year is an amazing experience, but none matches up to the experience I had at Inspire this year – the event surpassed expectations in every way. With each day filled with insightful talks by Microsoft’s top leadership, it was indeed an event of not just partner celebrations, collaborations, connections, but also business opportunities that lie in the future – a fast forward to the future and the opportunities for innovation it carries for all – partners, employees, enterprises, and the 7 billion people on the planet.
The two Corenote speeches by Gavriella Schuster (Corporate VP, One Commercial Partner Organisation) and Satya Nadella (CEO) became the nucleus around which the rest of the conference revolved.
The show started with Gavriella Schuster announcing continuance of Internal User Rights (IUR) program software benefits. Based on the feedback from all the partners worldwide, she announced that IUR program benefits will be extended to Microsoft partners. The entire crowd cheered the decision and responded with huge applause.
Microsoft's Channel Chief went on to spend much of her keynote looking ahead to key partner opportunities for the coming year—including Azure and Office 365 outlining several channel investment areas the company will be focused on with Microsoft planning to invest about $3 billion in partners over the next year.
Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business continued the core note as he talked about the fantastic FY 19, recent marquee wins across the industry, and the progress Microsoft is making in education, financial services, healthcare industry, etc. He also talked about innovative spirit reignited in Microsoft which was covered by Bloomberg. For him, it was less about making Microsoft look cool but more about making its customers cool. He continued with multiple demos of new capabilities in different areas.
The Corenote by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft started by thanking all for joint successes and developments but didn't stop there. The CEO of Microsoft in his speech made it very clear about Microsoft’s mission to empower people and global workforce around the world to achieve more. He conferred how Microsoft partners and employees will be the catalysts in bringing this vision to reality to empower the 7 billion on the planet. The joint success of Microsoft and its partners was honoured and cherished. After all the cheers and applauds, what remained and lingered were the key insights shared by him.
Post the Corenote sessions, the days were filled with networking, workshops and round table discussions. As always, I had gone prepared by referring to the session scheduler and marked my favourite. Most of them revolved around Data and AI and Office 365. While it is difficult to name or list all the sessions and most interesting ones, for me the sessions on AI were most insightful. I learnt a lot from these sessions. One that i would mention here is Microsoft AI: This session was conducted by Mitra Azizirad, CVP, Microsoft AI on Cloud Application Development, Data and AI Marketing. Mitra and David Carmona Salas made this session easy, full of learnings, demonstrations and fun! The three dimensions of Microsoft AI were well explained – meaningful innovation, empowering people and responsible AI.
This session was all about empowering the customer's AI journey through Microsoft's differentiated AI strategy. The speakers talked about the paradigm of democratising AI for everyone where technical employees use Azure AI, power users use AI capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform and end-users enjoy it through office 365 cloud. I was very pleased to see a more comprehensive vision of Microsoft AI that was beyond mere business with AI for Good in areas of AI for Earth, AI for accessibility, AI for humanitarian action and AI for cultural heritage.
I used the MyInspire portal to the fullest, looking for old friends, key Microsoft staff members, partners of our interest and even partners who we could work with. The expo hall walk was equally fulfilling, many partners exhibited their Cloud management capabilities, Dynamics CRM solutions and lot of new edge solutions in AI, Machine Learning and IoT. The Microsoft showcase area is where we could catch up with many product teams.
After all the discussions, meet-ups, sessions it was time to swing by the evening parties by IAMCP, ISV, distributors and one hosted by Microsoft. Watching Queen + Adam Lambert’s live concert hosted by Microsoft on the closing day of Inspire at Las Vegas Festival Grounds was just awesome and was the cherry on top of the splendid experience Inspire offered.