Attended by over 18,000 partners from 132 countries, 2018 proved to the biggest Microsoft INSPIRE so far, and according to  ITCube’s MD Anil Rajadhyaksha and CTO Vivek Salunke, who were there for the 3rd time, this was also the best yet!

With a focus on increased innovation, growth and differentiation, this year was about Microsoft’s overarching business vision of “empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”..

Here Anil and Vivek share their 5 key takeaways from the conference.

1.  Microsoft Modern Workplace

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, gave an interesting insight into how he achieves more each day by using Microsoft 365. This Modern Workplace demo showed how he relies on the Microsoft Outlook client on his iPhone, schedules meetings by just sliding the email in the inbox, uses Skype for Business to manage video and audio meetings, and how Microsoft Teams dominates collaboration with his team (Microsoft announced the availability of a free version of Microsoft Teams just before Microsoft Inspire).

Nadella’s assertion that "the opportunity for everyone here is to take Microsoft 365 and apply it for cultural transformation in large enterprises [and] for productivity in small businesses” made us think about the new and exciting partnership opportunities opened up by the products in Microsoft’s Modern Workplace and how we can help customers utilize technology to unleash their potential. Especially relevant in light of the comment by Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365, that the Modern workplace “represents a $100 billion opportunity for all of our partners" over the next 3 years.

2.  Business Applications

As ITCube’s services include implementation and customization of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for both on-premise and on-cloud, we weren’t surprised to learn that its popularity shows no sign of waning, delivering an amazing 65% growth during the first 3 quarters of Microsoft’s 2018 financial year.

But the announcement that mainstream support for Dynamics AX 2009 and Dynamics AX 2012 is either ended or ending soon should be a wake-up call for companies still using these products. With Microsoft no longer providing enhancements, security updates, or non-security hotfixes, and warranty claims ending, migration to Dynamics 365 needs to happen sooner rather than later. Something we’re already helping our customers with.

Because of its popularity and the end of mainstream support for 2009 and 2012, the ERP modernization market opportunity is USD 918 million, while the ERP replacement market opportunity is USD 823 million.

3. Meeting with Partners

Microsoft Inspire always provides a great opportunity to network with other partners from all across the globe. These meetings are useful not only to explore business opportunities within the partner eco-system, but also as an opportunity to learn more about how other partners are growing their business, share the challenges and opportunities in your business, and build a great network of associates and business partners.

Even though the meetings may not all result in immediate business opportunities, the references from connections in different countries, opportunity to learn, and above all, the networking itself (both during the event and after hours), are invaluable.

4.  New Opportunities for partnering with Microsoft

IDC anticipates that in 2019, technology spend will be USD1.7 trillion. Partners who understand the digital opportunity, use new technologies to transform their own companies and show customers what’s possible, will be well-positioned to capture their share of this spend. To help partners in this endeavor, Azure Marketplace and AppSource continue to be big investment and focus areas for Microsoft. Features and functionality discussed at Inspire included:

Partner to Partner Joint Selling: From next year partner solutions, applications, consulting and managed service offers can appear in the Microsoft product catalog alongside Microsoft products and services. This means that Microsoft’s direct salesforce and partner ecosystem will be able to sell first and third-party solutions, either individually or as a bundle.

Go-to-Market Services: Partners that publish their solutions (apps and services) in AppSource or Azure Marketplace are eligible for go-to-market services that help partners optimize their listing to attract and engage customers. Through December 31, Partners can sign up for a marketplace consultation to help prepare for validation and listing.

5.  Microsoft Teams

A chat-based work space within Office 365 that combines conversations, content, and apps to help users collaborate more efficiently, Microsoft Teams simplifies group working.

Users can set up a chat room or hub’ for their team which can also be used to access Skype voice or video calls with a single click. But as Teams is also integrated with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI, Delve, and SharePoint, all documents shared within the team are synced and can be accessed without leaving the application.

However, the chances are that the team will have resources they need to access on a regular basis that are outside Microsoft Teams, which creates a huge opportunity for partners to help with integration.

Do you want to find out more about how partnering with ITCube can help your business on its journey to digitization? Contact us today at inquiry@itcube.net to schedule an informal conversation.



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