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WPC Day 2: There must be an award for that?

Update from day 2 of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which I am attending with Mike Dearlove our Managing Director and Jason Bass, our Technical Director.

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference delivers many things and one of these is to showcase some of the great work that Partners have done with customers. It is there to encourage others to do the same, so that Microsoft can benefit from a Global non-direct salesforce.

It’s not just Microsoft who hands out awards, but also Partner to Partner. For example, EACS are Cireson’s UK Partner of the Year for 2015.

There should also be an award for the breakout session that least resembles the title! There are over 600 breakouts during the week and so it’s important to choose wisely. I think my wisdom must have been stopped at customs on the way in. If a session is titled x then it should be this topic that is the main area of focus and takes the most time. Not have the compulsory messaging that Microsoft wants us all to hear this week.

There were some interesting roundtable discussions about how Microsoft will execute the strategy of customers deploying and consuming cloud based services. Over 500 Azure services were released in the last year alone and this rate of change is only going to intensify. It feels a bit scatter gun in its approach to see if they can find the killer Azure “app” that will drive cloud consumption and can be confusing for both customers and partners as to where to place their bets.

Microsoft believes that for cloud coupled with mainstream services such as Office 365, then a next step on this journey is Enterprise Mobility. Managing and controlling end points whilst delivering a great user experience is a dichotomy, but the EMS suite gives a foundation for this.

Swans swimming on water is not a bad analogy for how Partners have to sometimes execute the operational tasks that go with delivering cloud based services. However, this has been recognised and Microsoft is putting steps in place to make this process as seamless as possible. Customers should feel no impact but the service that partners can then give will accelerate.

Tomorrow are the partner keynotes including Kevin Turner to rally the troops. He usually has a trick up his sleeve that will be unexpected. I’m looking forward to seeing what this is.

David Fuller, Partners & Alliances Director at EACS

WPC Day 1: Universal Windows, Business Intelligence & Constant Innovation

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust – What to expect at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

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WPC Day 1: Universal Windows, Business Intelligence & Constant Innovation

It’s been a long day and I have tried to think of a title that incorporates HoloLens but have failed miserably! However, here are some of my observations from day 1 of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which I am attending with Mike Dearlove our Managing Director and Jason Bass, our Technical Director.

As “A PC in every home” was to Bill Gates, “To empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more” is the bold mission that Satya Nadella is driving.

At Day 1 of Microsoft’s conference the leadership team took the opportunity to share how they feel partners can enable customers to transform. It took them 3 hours to do it, so I felt sorry for John Case who had the final slot presenting to a room that was only a third full.

The key notes for me held 3 key messages:

  1. Universal Windows
  2. Business Intelligence
  3. Constant Innovation

Universal Windows

The commonality of operating systems is the central component in Microsoft’s Mobile First, Cloud First world. Microsoft clearly understands that the device you are using is the most important one to you at that given time, whether this is a phone, tablet or PC and therefore a common interface makes users comfortable and familiar.

They are also going all out to make Windows 10 the most rapidly adopted OS in history. On launch day they aim to migrate millions of users to the new platform by being out in the communities. They also have a good number of friendly clients that will go live on 29th so readymade test cases will be early proof points as to the benefits of the platform.

For the feature creatures, a nod to the past with the Start menu returning should help user adoption. There are also additional components which will assist productivity such as snapping multiple documents to the screen as well as the ability to create multiple desktops which are easy to navigate and access without constant minimising and maximising.

Business Intelligence

Power BI will be out on general release on 24th July and was a thread that ran through most of the keynotes today.

Surfacing your data so that you can plan, manage and grow your business makes common sense but understanding what data you want to surface will probably be the most difficult conundrum.

Cortana will also be widely available and be a conduit to use natural speech to reach into your data and grab the stuff that makes sense for you.

Constant Innovation

The HoloLens is very very cool. It is the most transformational technology that I have seen. The demos today were jaw dropping. The applications that this technology can be used for are almost limitless and this is version one and will be run, developed and delivered by the same common operating system.

For organisations of all shapes and sizes around the world this will become a no brainer but it will take time as working practices evolve and develop. Cultural barriers are its biggest challenge.

This said it wasn’t the only innovative element on show. Some of this I’ve touched on with Cortana and Business Analytics but the constant need to continue to move current platforms on is also strong.

A new E5 suite of applications for Office 365 was announced. To again quote John Case “E5 will encompass the core value of the modern productivity and collaboration capabilities Office 365 provides today, as well as significant new capabilities including Skype for Business services for real-time communication such as Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing, new analytics features like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics, and new advanced security features such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection (DLP) and Safe Attachments.”

Julia White also reaffirmed Microsoft’s commitment to Sharepoint.

The direction of travel for Microsoft is well and truly set and in my view is to be applauded. However, there are some turbulent waters ahead, especially with how it engages with its channel.

The day wasn’t without flaw. Some of the live demos were not quite what they should have been which could damage some confidence of early adopters. The expo isn’t quite to the same standard, in my opinion, as in previous years and some of the sessions were terrible.

Day two is all about the detail where how the vision gets executed is brought forward.

It should be an interesting time!

Call back tomorrow.

David Fuller, Partners & Alliances Director, EACS

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust – What to expect at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

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