Day 1: Office 365 Microsoft Inspire 2019 – Keynote

July 16th, 2019

Microsoft Inspire 2019 kicked off this morning with the first Keynote of the conference, opening with Gavriella Schuster (Corporate Vice President for One Commercial Partner) welcoming the 20,000-odd partners and thanking us for the impact we’ve driven together over the last 12 months. Met with applause, Gavriella also apologised for the recent changes (and then backflipped) to internal rights usage and competencies.

This year at Inspire, Simon Sinek is a guest speaker. I’m a Simon fanboy and it was great to hear him speak, albeit briefly, this morning. He spoke with Gavriella about creating an environment to allow people to perform at their natural best. With such a shortage of IT skills worldwide (something that we feel in the Cloud Collective also), Simon challenged leaders to take the risk to trust. Trust builds an environment for people to be at their best and one of the best ways to do this is to ask for help; show people that you don’t know everything, ultimately being vulnerable.

Simon’s speaking later today in another session, I can guarantee you, I’ll be there!

Judson Althoff (Executive Vice President of Worldwide Commercial Business) took to the stage and what stuck with me were his comments about the recent Bloomberg piece that was written about Microsoft, where amongst other things, Microsoft’s investments in R&D were highlighted. However, more relevant to me were Judson’s comments pointing out that it’s now less about Microsoft being “cool” and more abut how Microsoft increasingly makes their customers “cool”, ultimately empowering them to succeed. 

Judson continued with this: “When we work together, business is better for Microsoft, for you and for our customers”. It rang so true with me; I see it inside our business and within the customers we work with every day.

Judson was joined on stage by the Chief Engineer at Unilever to demonstrate how they’ve digitalised their factories over the last 9 months. On the back of the demonstration, Judson talked about the idea that organisations that simply throw technology and platforms against a wall to see what sticks just won’t succeed. He talked about the need for customers to step back and consider their vision and strategy for any new technology initiative, which must be tightly linked to their organisation’s culture.

Knowing the projects, I’m working on right now with my customers and Microsoft’s Teams focus in FY20, this is a HUGE reminder for me about the importance of vision, strategy and culture to ultimately drive success.

Gavriella came back to share Microsoft’s big market opportunities and focusses for FY20. Using their four solution areas as a framework, FY20 will see both partners and Microsoft aligned to help our customers:

  • In the Modern Workplace: implement Security (Microsoft spends almost $1B on security every year), drive Teams adoption and build Teams extensions
  • In Business Applications: Deploy Dynamics 365 and build PowerApps solutions
  • In Applications & Infrastructure: Accelerate Azure cloud migrations (we’ve only touched 5% of addressable market with Azure)
  • In Data & AI: Drive analytics and AI solutions

Finally, Gavriella finished with the investments Microsoft are making in partners in FY20. $3B+ in partner investment is planned for the year, focussed on helping partners like us build new solutions for the Microsoft Marketplace and launch new Azure IP Co-Sell offerings. However, more interestingly for me, Microsoft will shortly release new Teams and D365 IP Co-Sell catalogues, aligning with their focus on Teams extension and D365 in FY20.

Two hours of awesome content from the Keynote, Inspire is off and running for 2019!

Written by Max McNamara