What to Watch at Microsoft Inspire 2017 rarrarorro/Thinkstock

What to Watch at Microsoft Inspire 2017

All the highlights and what we expect to see next week at the Microsoft Inspire conference in Washington, D.C.

Next week more than 16,000 of Microsoft partners and executives will be in Washington, D.C. for Microsoft Inspire, formerly Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

As with any other major technology conference, there is a lot to see and do while you are there so it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But to make the most of your time at Inspire, we wanted to give you a few ideas as to what you should be watching for next week. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @WindowsITPro and the hashtag #MSInspire for more news and insights around the conference. 


The Microsoft Inspire Vision Keynotes will take place from July 10-12 from 8:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. ET at the Verizon Center.

While the keynotes are a predictable format, they are a helpful way to get a sense of the overall strategy and direction of Microsoft, while learning about some of the new technologies and announcements that will be coming out during the conference.

The keynote speakers include Satya Nadella, Ron Huddleston, Judson Althoff, Gavriella Schuster Toni Townes-Whitley, CVP, Public Sector and Industry; Kirk Koenigsbauer, CVP, Office Marketing; and more.

If you won’t be at the event, you can still watch the keynote sessions online on its website, inspire.microsoft.com.


Microsoft is going into next week’s conference having just announced that it is laying off several thousand salespeople in an effort to close bigger cloud deals. Though I don’t expect to hear anything more from Microsoft on the subject next week, I do anticipate partners and other attendees to speculate around what it means for them.

There are also numerous sessions and workshops planned around Azure, including a breakout session on leveraging Microsoft hybrid cloud platform technologies, including Azure Stack, Azure, hybrid management, Windows Server containers, for digital transformation. I think we will hear a lot of talk around digital transformation as it has been a hot topic at many technology conferences this year, and in Microsoft’s own messaging. I also expect to see some hype around Azure Stack, which Microsoft has been pushing this year as a way to ease hybrid cloud integrations. Check out all the sessions to plan your schedule or use the MyInspire scheduling tool.


As expected, Microsoft will be spending a lot of breakout sessions discussing cybersecurity and privacy. Some of the sessions include discussions around cybersecurity partnership strategy, enterprise cybersecurity offerings, and addressing concerns around GDPR.

Between WannaCry, Petya, and other recent headline-grabbing cybersecurity news, I expect to hear a lot of discussion around the future of cybersecurity threats and what can be done through technology and best practices to mitigate them.  


With attendees from around the world, the Microsoft Inspire conference is a place to meet people from various global regions. There are numerous opportunities for discussion with peers through The Commons in the expo hall where attendees can see the latest demos and participate in hands-on experiences, and engage with Microsoft and other attendees on topic areas including artificial intelligence, IoT, privacy and security, and more.

The welcome reception kicks off the event on Sunday evening between 5 – 7 p.m., and on Monday and Tuesday evenings from 5 - 6 p.m. is a happy hour in the expo hall. Wednesday, July 12 is the big finale with the Microsoft Inspire Partner Celebration from 7 – 10:30 p.m. at Nationals Park, featuring a performance by Carrie Underwood.

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