Microsoft Inspire, formerly known as the Worldwide Partner Conference, opened today in Washington, D.C. with a Day 1 keynote led by the companies CEO Satya Nadella and attended by more than 17,000 partners representatives.
Of course, the companies annual partner conference is all about providing the knowledge and tools to make selling Microsoft services more straight forward and sharing the companies goals to help their partners align within those opportunities.
Although the Redmond company still talks about Mobile First, Cloud First they are also integrating their recently adopted phrase of Intelligent Cloud, Intelligent Edge in their lexicon to help drive towards the Digital Transformation of their customers and those of their partners.
The two hour keynote, which you can watch on demand from the Microsoft Inspire web portal, covered multiple opportunities for partners to share in the $4.5 trillion dollar opportunity that digital transformation offers as the industry moves forward.
Here is a summary of the key announcements made today during the Day 1 keynote:
Microsoft's new Corporate Vice President of One Commercial Partner, Ron Huddleston, kicked off the keynote and talked about the breadth of opportunities available to partners.
He revealed the new One Commercial Partner program that will work in three primary areas with partners:
-- Build-with: Whether you need to build a practice, build IP, or build your capabilities, our team of partner development professionals are there to support you. They have business model expertise and are supported by technical and specialist resources. Their mission is to get the right resource to you at the right time to support your success and growth.
-- Go-To-Market: Our team of partner marketing experts will help you bring your solutions to market through offers. They will orchestrate with the teams that build with you on the market opportunity and the teams that sell with you on customer needs.
-- Sell-with: We are adding a new role to our partner business. Channel Managers have responsibility for connecting the right partner solutions to the right customer at the right time. Armed with best practices, marketplaces, and solution maps, they will work hand in hand with Microsoft sales teams and customers of all sizes and across industries.
He also unveiled that in order to reduce friction between Microsoft and partners that they would focus on two key areas for selling solutions. Azure Co-Sell will assist partners who create solutions with Microsoft Azure and new Channel Managers will be there to help partners worldwide build and sell solutions within Azure.
Microsoft's Julia White, a Corporate Vice President for Azure, provides more detail in this blog post about partner opportunities in the Microsoft Cloud.
She expands on the Azure co-sell and Channel Manager roles and how that will help partners focus on growing their business plus new offerings from Azure such as Azure Managed Applications, Azure Stack hardware partners and systems that are ready to be purchased, plus upgrades to the computing power of Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
This post from Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Office, provides details about the new Microsoft 365 subscriptions that were announced during the keynote.
These new options appear to be the successors to the Secure Productive Enterprise subscriptions that were launched late last year and provide customers a full solution for OS, productivity, management, and security.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise will be focused on large organizations while Microsoft 365 Business will be tailored for small & medium sized businesses.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise
-- Offered in E3 and E5 levels and available for purchase as of 01 August 2017
-- Unlocks creativity by enabling people to work naturally with ink, voice and touch, all backed by tools that utilize AI and machine learning.
-- Provides the broadest and deepest set of apps and services with a universal toolkit for teamwork, giving people flexibility and choice in how they connect, share and communicate.
-- Simplifies IT by unifying management across users, devices, apps and services.
-- Helps safeguard customer data, company data and intellectual property with built-in, intelligent security.
Microsoft 365 Business
-- Available in public preview on 02 August 2017 with General Availability in Fall 2017
-- Helps companies achieve more together by better connecting employees, customers and suppliers.
-- Empowers employees to get work done from anywhere, on any device.
-- Protects company data across devices with always-on security.
-- Simplifies the set-up and management of employee devices and services with a single IT console.
In addition, SMBs will also be offered three new applications for their suite of software in Microsoft 365 Business:
-- Microsoft Listings—A simple-to-use email marketing service.
-- Microsoft Connections—An easy way to publish business information on top sites.
-- Microsoft Invoicing—A new way to create and deliver professional invoices.
There were also other news items revealed today that were not heavily discussed at the keynote but we wanted to let you know about them as well:
It is very likely we will hear about these items over the next few days in other keynotes from Microsoft Inspire. We have folks on the ground in Washington, D.C. for the week so keep an eye here and on the @WindowsITPro Twitter handle for further news and analysis.
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