by Rob Driver
Many Microsoft partners, and those supporting them, have traditionally looked forward to the tech giant’s annual global pow-wow – Inspire – which for the last few years has been held in America’s capital of glitz and glamour (and the only city with enough conference centre space): Las Vegas.
However, while COVID-19 has put paid to an in-person get-together for 2020, the undeterred organisers are now holding the event completely online.
But far from being a glorified webinar, the MS team is intent on making the digital experience as informative, inclusive, and engaging as it can possibly be – using every software tool in its sizeable armoury.
So what can Microsoft partners expect from the event, which takes place on 21 and 22 July 2020?
Here are some predictions based on what’s been reported, given some of the major issues we’ve seen impacting the partner network here in Ireland and beyond.
MS Inspire is set to be packed with exciting debates and interactive discussions – and has promised TV show-style production values. Not only that, Inspire also boasts a stellar speaker line-up of industry leaders and tech gurus from Microsoft including CEO Satya Nadella; MS President Brad Smith; Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business; Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner.
Team leaders from Global Partners Solutions, Azure, Microsoft 365 and Business Applications and Global Industry are also on the billing.
While (given the nature of the year’s event) accessibility will be a hot topic of discussion, what else can we anticipate – especially when it comes to navigating the world of work as we emerge from lockdown?
As offices the world over come to terms with the technical and operational challenges that lie ahead, a raft of technology issues have become a top priority for businesses – from SMEs to global enterprises.
The move to cloud solutions has been accelerated by the enforced working from home (WFH) regimes imposed by COVID-19 restrictions pretty much the world over.
While some consider this a temporary measure, many believe that WFH is here to stay and that all businesses will need to adjust how they work.
We’ll no doubt get some insight into the scope of these issues from a software, security, and scalability perspective at Inspire: the hope is that speakers will also put the potential of a digital future into context.
Topics such as Windows Virtual Desktop: managing a large remote environment; ensuring compliance; data protection; and cybersecurity are more important than ever as we look ahead – in both the short and long term.
When COVID-19 struck there was a virtual stampede to get up and running and a lot of companies got online. Was it done with best practice in mind? In many cases, a clean-up job is needed to make sure WFH can be achieved in the most secure way.
We all need to be fit for the future and technology will be the backbone upon which organisations can ensure competitiveness, financial management, support for customers and supply chain.
Considering the increased prevalence of data breaches and cyber-attacks, as partners we hope to get more clarity around how we can continue to help clients in their efforts to provide remote access, maintain productivity, while optimising security across the board.
Even before COVID-19, interest in cloud servers steadily prompted businesses to move away from on-premise servers. From a financial perspective, scalable capacity and smaller SaaS subscription payments have lured IT departments away from amortised hardware purchases.
But now, given the sudden surge in cloud migration, many managed service providers (MSP) face a new learning curve. That’s why we expect Inspire to address Microsoft’s MSP programmes – such as native management tooling and automation on Azure for Service Providers.
Designed to enhance efficiency, profitability, and growth for MSPs, these tools can help them manage customers’ cloud accounts at scale and help lead their digital transformation.
Microsoft is also introducing Power Apps – providing partners without in-house developer teams the ability to create ready-made app development for daily tasks: so expect some insight around this too at Inspire.
As per previous years, there will also be numerous individual country sessions during Inspire 2020. In addition to being an excellent opportunity to network with other local MSP businesses, these events are traditionally where partners are awarded various accolades to honour their performance and progress over the past 12 months.
This year, MicroWarehouse has been shortlisted for the ‘Indirect Provider of The Year’ award, which will be announced during the Microsoft Ireland event, so if you’re planning to attend this, be sure to reach out to us – and cheer us on!
The fact this conference is moving from a convention for lucky attendees to an event accessible to all Microsoft Partners around the world will provide even greater transparency and hopefully open up a raft of debate.
Plus, for Microsoft, given the sheer number of partners slated to attend – some 17,000 based on previous years – it will be a very telling proof of concept in exploring how their different technologies perform together to deliver an online event of such magnitude.
So, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining… and whilst we won’t be hitting the casino hotels this year, we’ll all no doubt benefit from an enhanced user experience and knowledge download that is set to become a benchmark for online conferences.
To learn more about Microsoft Inspire, contact us here.