15th August 2014
Last month, Microsoft invited 16,000 of their international partners to the annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington DC to discuss the future of the business, and the opportunities for the next 12 months. The conference itself was by turns entertaining and educational. Lots of interesting conversations and strong keynotes along with a little bit of American showmanship that served to introduce the vision of the new CEO and what is a new direction for Microsoft.
This year’s conference was special in a number of ways. It was Satya Nadella’s first appearance at the event as CEO of Microsoft, and it gave him an opportunity to outline his vision of the future of the business and give partners like igroup an indication of what to expect in the coming year.
Monday’s keynote presentation by COO Kevin Turner and Channel Chief Phil Sorgen set out the main themes of the conference as being mobile first / cloud first. This theme ran through many of the sessions over the 3 days of the conference, and reflects the evolution of business towards greater virtualisation and flexible working.
Many of the sessions on day one discussed the opportunities of the cloud for business, especially when combined with the use of collaborative technologies like SharePoint to enable better management of data.
New CEO Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoft is as a business that is faster and more agile than ever before. We’re starting to see more evidence of this at a basic level in the way that software updates are being managed, and the greater emphasis that Microsoft are placing on their technologies as a foundation to be built upon.
Microsoft Azure is at the heart of this transition – along with complementary technologies like SharePoint and Office 365. The conference included a number of seminars and keynotes discussing about the need for partners like igroup to work more closely with businesses to develop custom solutions based on the Microsoft Platform.
This is good news. Improved flexibility and better integration between the different technologies at our disposal means that we’ll be able to create tailored solutions to make SharePoint function more effectively for our clients.
WPC 2014 was always going to be about the cloud, but what was eye-opening was the depth to which Microsoft, and by extension, Partners are embracing the opportunities that it provides. The move to the cloud will bring big changes to the way companies acquire software, and we’re expecting a few changes.
We’ll definitely see more take up of SharePoint in the next couple of years: Increases in the market share of Office 365 over traditional licenses will lead to more businesses taking advantage of SharePoint’s technology to manage collaboration.
There’s going to be more emphasis on customisation. It’s no longer enough for partners to “Phone it in” and simply sell licenses. An understanding of business needs, coupled with the skills to create bespoke applications that extend the functionality of Office & SharePoint, and use Microsoft Azure will be the key to success in the new Microsoft Era.
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