Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto. I applaud the location: The short walk from the Toronto Eaton Centre Marriott to the convention center each day was a pleasure given the great weather, and the dining was excellent.
The opening session, led by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, was very much about vision rather than a laundry list of announcements. Nadella called this “a golden era” and told attendees how the cloud’s infinite infrastructure enables big data and advanced analytics applications, mobile and web apps, IoT, SaaS applications, you name it.
My takeaway is that Microsoft is doing a great job of transforming itself from a mature technology company to one that is innovative and, yes, even cool and hip. Office 365 is on par with any new software from younger software companies, and it has features that excite both the newest generation of workers and those of us that have been in the industry for a while. There were a number of new announcements regarding Office 365. The most important one to me is around the importance of security to businesses.
Your customers are concerned about their online presence, offering access to remote workers, and the growing sophistication and prevalence of threats. Therefore, Microsoft has beefed up Office 365’s security features to provide a level of assurance to businesses that they are safer utilizing O365 than an on-premises alternative. Moreover, the Enterprise Mobility Suite is now known as Enterprise Mobility + Security (it’s good that the acronym “EMS” stays — I can continue to leverage most of my existing EMS documents).
The second very interesting announcement, albeit challenging for me to figure out how to utilize it in our business, were the 3D/augmented reality products. Microsoft is working with its partners to create and evolve a very interesting new technology, HoloLens, that has many practical applications. We saw examples used to sell cars, provide training on technical and mechanical devices, support health care and instruct and analyze golfer play. It’ll be interesting to watch HoloLens progress.
Want to hear more from Microsoft? Join Mitch Cannon, senior director, Industry Marketing for Microsoft Worldwide Hosting & Cloud Services, at Channel Partners Evolution, at our “How Do I Make Money With Public Cloud?” education session. Not yet registered?
The show floor presented a lot of new products. One standout was the Surface Hub touch screen for videoconferencing, white-boarding and more — very cool. Finally, Microsoft is offering a leasing program for the Surface Pro 4 in conjunction with deployment of Windows 10. Many customers will find a leasing arrangement attractive, and partners can still get referral fees while baking lower payments into deals, thus lowering bottom-line hardware cost and leaving more room for higher margin services.
So, what did I get from my time with Microsoft? The CloudRoute team met with several new partners that can expand our product offering for our customers and agents, attended a number of workshops and breakout sessions, and met our Microsoft marketing team. Quite frankly, just being around so many applications, companies and people that depend on Microsoft for their success is invigorating and exciting.
If you’ve never attended WPC, it’s worth considering. This year the event sold out, so think about booking now for WPC 2017, held in Washington, D.C., July 9-13. The value, if you choose to attend, is great.
Do you have a plan to build a solution around HoloLens? Tell us in comments, or share a success story and be entered to win a CP360° award!
David Byrd leads marketing and operations for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, he was CMO at ANPI, and CMO & EVP of sales at Broadvox.