Around the world, organizations are making a digital transformation. As a leading provider of enterprise collaboration technology within the Microsoft ecosystem, we see this transformation every day as we work with our customers to modernize the digital workplace. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at last week’s Worldwide Partner Conference (#WPC16) that took place in Toronto, Microsoft and its partners are reinventing business processes at a record pace, and there’s much more coming this year. Even if you were unable to attend the event, there was still much to be gleaned from the many different announcements across the week.
For those unfamiliar with the event, WPC is an annual conference for sales, marketing, and business development personnel for partners in the Microsoft ecosystem. It is an opportunity for partners like Beezy to meet with members of the Microsoft product and executive teams to discuss technology and strategy, and to network with other independent software vendors (ISVs) and strategic integrators (SIs) from around the world. The Beezy team spent an amazing week meeting with existing and new partners, and we’re excited about our plans for the next year.
Microsoft’s new corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group, Gavriella Schuster (@gavriels1) kicked off the week during the Monday morning vision keynote by talking about Microsoft’s continued support of the channel by “reinventing productivity and business processes, building the intelligent cloud platform, and creating more personal computing.” Much of the messaging you will see from Microsoft over the next few months will be centered around these three pillars, and the Beezy team will be sharing some of our own insights and experiences on these points through this blog.
In his keynote address, Nadella talked at length about the digital transformation that Microsoft is leading, and how partners within the ecosystem are having a direct impact on the global economy. You can watch Satya’s entire vision keynote on demand, or you can learn more about the transformative power of technology in his new LinkedIn post, Reinventing Business Processes.
While there were many more announcements than what we’ve captured below, these are some of the highlights that we think are relevant to our customers and partners:
Day 1 Announcements
- Nadella and other Microsoft executives shared that Microsoft’s cloud growth and partner capabilities are out-pacing competitive cloud platforms in growth and customer value.
- General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt joined Nadella on stage to announce a partnership that will make GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet available on the Microsoft Azure cloud. For manufacturing and industrial firms around the world, this Internet of Things (IoT) solution will enable them to capture intelligence from their assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications.
- Nadella also elaborated on last week’s announcement of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Available this fall, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will unify the current Microsoft CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to help manage specific business functions.
- Microsoft AppSource will be Microsoft’s new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft and Microsoft partners.
- Of course, Beezy also announced the release of Idea Campaigns for SharePoint on-premises and Office 365. You can read the press release or find more details on our related blog post.
Day 2 Announcements
- Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise Group, kicked off the day with news from the cloud including details on the Azure Stack Ecosystem, and announced that Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 will be generally available this fall.
- Guthrie also talked at length about the “generational shift” of organizations seeking to move their business to the cloud, and how those that move quickly will have a distinct competitive advantage. You can watch his keynote on demand here.
- One of the biggest crowd-pleasers was news that Office 365 customers will be getting a preview of automatic transcription and translation in Skype Meeting Broadcast by the end of 2016. Skype Meeting Broadcast lets you produce, host and broadcast meetings to large online audiences. These new services will provide live closed captioning of presentations and allow viewers to choose translation into their preferred language from a list of supported languages, some of which was demonstrated during WPC in 2015.
- Another major news item was when Tim Campos, CIO of Facebook took the stage and talked about his company’s use of Office 365. You can read more about this Microsoft customer win in Tim’s guest post on the Office blogs.
Day 3 Announcements
- To continue to build a more intelligent cloud, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, which delivers true cloud scalability to data warehousing, saving time and money compared to competitive solutions.
- Security was the major theme of the day. Reinventing productivity and business process is at the core of the many investments that Microsoft continues to make in Office 365, including new security and protection features to defend against cyber attacks, more robust analytics through Power BI and Delve, and the expansion of the geographical availability of Skype for Business meeting and voice services through Office 365.
While the summer months can be slow for engaging with Microsoft as they begin their new fiscal year and go through their planning cycle, you cannot participate in WPC and not walk away with a huge action plan. This is a busy time for partners as we continue to work with customers, and prepare our plans for the fall. The Beezy team is already taking advantage of the many partner and Microsoft meetings we had in Toronto to bolster our already record-breaking growth this year.
Already looking forward to #WPC17 next year in Washington DC!