A Week with Microsoft: Key Takeaways from Inspire 2017

Inspire 2017 300x225 A Week with Microsoft: Key Takeaways from Inspire 2017

A handful of PowerObjects folks flew to Washington, D.C. from July 10-13 to join hundreds of other Microsoft partners for Inspire, Microsoft’s annual partner conference. This is the one time of year when Microsoft comes together with their partners from across the globe, to talk about what the strategy is going forward for the year and what the opportunities are to work together on. PowerObjects interacts with Microsoft constantly throughout the year, but this is the one time we get to see everyone from the field sales teams all the way up to Satya Nadella, and hear their collective vision.

Microsoft Vision and Strategy

The big idea that came out of this year’s conference was the crystallization of Microsoft’s overall strategy. It’s been a huge year of change for Microsoft as they’ve realigned their product stack and strategy for moving to cloud-based business solutions. They talked about the four areas that will lead to digital transformation for their customers:

  • The Modern Workplace. This is essentially what we know as tools for everyday work–collaboration tools, email platforms, everything you would run on your desktop computer to get your work done.
  • Business applications. This of course is PowerObjects’ sweet spot because it includes applications like Dynamics 365 and the traditional CRM and ERP workloads. We’ve already seen how Microsoft’s vision for combining CRM and ERP is playing out in Dynamics 365 and we are really excited to be on this journey to complete end-to-end business strategy in the cloud in a single product.
  • Applications and Infrastructure. This tends to be more HCL’s realm than PowerObjects, but it is important to us as well. This is what we think of when we talk about Azure and cloud infrastructure pieces of digital transformation.
  • Data and AI. Again, our parent company HCL Technologies is more heavily involved in this, but PowerObjects touches on it too. It includes solutions around PowerBI, Cortana Analytics, and IoT.

From a high level, digital transformation relies on those four areas to empower employees, engage customers, optimize operations, and transform products. If you think about PowerObjects’ four pillars of service, support, education, and add-ons, Microsoft’s strategy lines up with how we go to market. Microsoft has also reorganized their business and aligned their teams to engage their customers across those four areas. And all things lead to the cloud. In recent years, Microsoft has made a huge push to move from on-prem business solutions to the cloud.

Another big takeaway was Microsoft 365. This essentially brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. You can read more about that on their Office blog.

“Wow” Moments

Aside from exceptionally hot weather at Inspire, the big “wow” moment for us was the reality that Microsoft is not taking baby steps with the migration with the cloud—they are all in! They are lining up products, field sales, and the entire organization with moving to the cloud.

PowerObjects Recognition at Inspire

PowerObjects is thrilled to have received multiple awards and call-outs at Inspire. We were recognized as the number one Consulting and Systems Integrator across the entire Dynamics 365 channel, for one. We also won a number of other national and regional awards, such as Scribe Partner of the Year and Office 365 Partner of the Year for the central region. Additionally, we maintained our number one position in North America for Dynamics 365 sales.

Conclusion

From our point of view, the future for those who invest in Microsoft has never been brighter. Microsoft is cool again. When you think about who you partner with long term, you have to partner with those who invest, and change, and lead—and Microsoft has once again proven that this is them. They are the best long-term bet!

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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