By Kyrus Keenan Wescott
The Worldwide Partner Conference 2015 was a platform for technological innovations and product revolution.
As Microsoft drove their ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes further, over 12,000 partners listened in as the keynote speakers addressed how they are rediscovering the intelligent cloud and creating a more personalized computing experience.
As a nice start to the day, Partner Channel Chief Phil Sorgen spoke first, celebrating the Partner of the Year winners, addressing the cloud services opportunities and connection opportunities at the event.
Opening WPC in his typical thoughtful style, thanking partners for a “tremendous” year, Nadella took the opportunity to announce some new additions to the Microsoft portfolio, and to reaffirm his vision for where the company and its customers are going.
Reiterating Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet, two words were at the heart of his speech: cloud, and mobile. His vision is simple, he wants everyone to move forward in a mobile-first and cloud-first world to achieve more than they already are. Because Microsoft view the cloud and mobility as, simply put, the future of information technology, Microsoft will start filtering all of its efforts into those areas. Speaking of the benefits to customers and users, Nadella had this to say:
“Now we move forward to a mobile-first cloud world, we are focused on helping our customer achieve greatness through digital technology. We need the cloud to help us move from any device to any device on any given day. Mobility – not bound by any device – but ‘human mobility’ is core to our vision.”
Breaking the theory down, mobility refers to our omnipresent experience with computing. We carry computers with us wherever we go, we wear them, we talk to them and they even talk back, so we need our experience to include all the universal applications and data we’d expect. The cloud enables human mobility as we experience the moving from device to device and cloud-first is the key to how we drive successful and accessible business.
For those partners interested in Office 365, White debated how the contemporary workplace is more connected and collaborative. Shaped by our modern expectations and attitudes, she discussed how we reinvent our productivity with Office 365.
White also reported that the team had made significant developments in OneDrive for Business in past months, and it’s still getting better. The next release, a new premium Office 365 enterprise suite called E5, is said to have the biggest changes since the initial rollout of the product, with improvements to auditing, reporting, DLP, and sync.
E5 will incorporate the core values of Office 365 with significant new innovations, including business-friendly Skype services such as Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast. Power BI & analytics features, like Power BI Pro; and advanced security features, such as Customer Lockbox and Advanced Threat Protection.
Another interesting element to Whites talk was her reference to Millennials, and how she feels that work style has affected everyone:
“If you think about our workplace today, we’re always connected, we’re far more collaborative, and we’re always more open than we ever have historically been within the workplace.”
Speaking of areas of innovation, Microsoft Office and a collaborative shift in attitudes are at the forefront of this change. Breaking down what were once siloes of communication, offering better infrastructures by focussing on the fundamentals that communications is about groups of people, White wants us to know Microsoft Office 365 truly does deliver an intelligent business processes that powers, rather than hinders, productivity.
“We now live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, and at Microsoft we remain committed to enable you as partners to deliver the very best solutions to your customers in this new environment.”
Speaking of Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Guthrie used his keynote to address the pledges made two years ago that outlined a strategy which enabled customers to use both infrastructure as a service and platform as a service together, one that permits you to use the best of the Windows ecosystem and the best of the Linux ecosystem together.
Having shipped more than 300 new features and services in the past year, Guthrie spoke confidently when he said the next 12 months were going to be even bigger. Considering there are currently 30 trillion objects currently stored in the Azure systems, over 300 million users in the Azure Active Directory, and that Microsoft are processing more than 13 billion authentications every single week, that’s a big prediction.
The Microsoft cloud is the only cloud that delivers, by Guthrie’s definition “three overlapping circles of capabilities: hyper-scale, enterprise-grade and hybrid”, which, when combined, provide a unique solution that empowers the user to deliver differentiated applications and solutions to customers.
Guthrie also used his time to speak of new acquisitions, as well as new capabilities and updates. This included InMage, a provider of business continuity solutions for the cloud, which will allow partners to deliver disaster recovery solutions for on-premises Hyper-V, VMware and bare metal servers, running both Windows and Linux, to the cloud.
He ended the session, before thanking partners, by reiterating that the new mobile-first, cloud-first world we are all entering is going to provide unlimited opportunities:
“We at Microsoft are committed to making sure that we have the best cloud for you to partner with. Partners have always been the backbone of our success, and we will not succeed without you.”
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