Recently, Microsoft held their global partner conference, Microsoft Inspire 2020. While the event was done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the event was still a wonderful experience for Microsoft partners. Numerous breakout sessions and keynote speakers provided partners with fresh insight.Partners were privileged to hear from Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, Microsoft Executive VP, Judson Althoff, and Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster who discussed the rapid growth of several Microsoft Teams, including Windows Virtual Desktop, Azure, and Dynamics 365. Nadella stated the following regarding Microsoft’s infrastructure: “across the cloud and the edge” we’re seeing the “incredible impact our partners and customers can have with it.” Below, you’ll find some of the top takeaways from this year’s Microsoft Inspire Conference.
The Effect of COVID-19 on MicrosoftDuring Inspire 2020, Microsoft showed partners that this pandemic has not stopped them from moving forward. They reported a 13 percent year-over-year increase during their fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, surpassing Wall Street analyst predictions. These numbers truly showed Microsoft is not slowing down and will continue to grow despite these unprecedented times.
Microsoft’s “New” LookOne of the most noteworthy product announcements was Dynamics 365 Customer Voice. Before this update, Microsoft had a voice built into the customer solution which was attached to Dynamics to gather customer feedback. This part of Dynamics was separate from the rest of the program and did not use Azure or Microsoft 365 capabilities. In 2019, Microsoft announced Dynamics was being deprecated and ‘Forms’, a very new product, would be used instead. Microsoft announced there would be a new version of Dynamics 365, one that would allow businesses to incorporate feedback into their customer view in real time. This new version will utilize Forms’ framework, but will allow for easier customer satisfaction score collection.
Refocusing on PartnersPartners heard more from Nadella at this year’s conference than ever before. Nadella stated that Microsoft is changing their business model to be more partner led. By doing so, both Microsoft and their partners will have unique opportunities to build better relationships with customers and create lasting digital transformation.
Creating More Opportunities for PartnersA refocus on partners has increased Microsoft’s desire to find partners who are fully utilizing the entire Microsoft technology stack as well as putting all three clouds out to the edge. Their hope is that by doing so, organization’s can maximize what they can do for customers. JourneyTEAM is proud to be one of those partners. Microsoft recommended that any partners unable to accomplish this should partner with an organization, like JourneyTEAM, that can provide support in areas they lack expertise in. Additionally, Microsoft would also like to see building practices in Windows Virtual Desktops, and data analytics and AI. Focusing on these areas can make a huge difference.
Fewer Partner ChangesThere were no major changes for partners reported at Inspire 2020 that had the same effect as last year’s conference where Microsoft announced that partner’s would no longer have internal rights on its products. This decision was later revoked.
Concentration on Microsoft TeamsWith the shelter-in-place orders in effect across the country, the need for Teams, Microsoft’s team collaboration software, has increased. Leaders at Inspire spoke of the program’s value, recent updates, and the promise of a secure, remote collaboration solution. One significant update to Teams was Together Mode. Using AI, participants are placed into a shared background, creating the feeling of being in the same room. As a result, distractions are reduced, nonverbal cues are seen, and conversation is more natural.
Emphasis on Managed Services TransitionMicrosoft has repeatedly asked for their partners to shift to managed services. At Inspire 2020, this request became more insistent. Because some customers prefer to pay upfront and others prefer monthly payment service schedules, the need for managed service options is more important than ever. They encouraged partners to work with customers and organizations to ensure a seamless process for everyone.
Accelerating Cloud ShiftPre-COVID-19, there wasn’t a rush for organization’s to get out of their data centers. Now there is. Many companies are using a number of Microsoft’s solutions and cloud capabilities across Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365 for data, AI, business applications, security, and apps and infrastructure to keep moving forward.
AzureNoteworthy updates to Azure included developer offerings around the Azure platform and new migration, data, security, and compliance. These new services will include the next generation of new Azure Migrate features, Azure Stack, HCI, and Azure Lighthouse security enhancements. Additionally, we’ll see third-party connectors for Azure Sentinel. Azure Lighthouse will feature new additions, including privileged identity management support for just-in-time access and multi-factor authentication. Finally, by partner request, Lighthouse now allows partners to strengthen authentication methods, reduce risk from standing elevated access, and match customers’ risk management and compliance requirements.
Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)WVD, a virtual desktop solution, has seen a dramatic increase since the shift to remote work and provides partners with a huge opportunity moving forward. Using WVD, partners can use the Azure portal to get up and running in just a few minutes. Once set up, you can add on hybrid environments for customers to create a true hybrid solution.
About JourneyTEAMAs a Microsoft Gold Partner, JourneyTEAM has not only met, but excelled in many of the categories discussed at Inspire 2020. Through their work, they’ve increased client flexibility by managing service offerings and provide numerous services that can operate in all three Microsoft clouds. With long-term consultants available, they’re a company that can easily grow with your business needs. They take Microsoft products; Dynamics 365, SharePoint intranet, Office 365, Azure, CRM, GP, NAV, SL, AX, and modify them to work for you. The team has expert level, Microsoft Gold certified consultants that dive deep into the dynamics of your organization and solve complex issues. They have solutions for sales, marketing, productivity, collaboration, analytics, accounting, security and more.
AWARDSThis year’s Inspire 2020 was a great year for JourneyTEAM. We were awarded the Crystal Eagle Award for being a Top 5 Dynamics 365 Business Central partner and the MSUS 2020 Partner of the Year for Dynamics 365 in Media and Communications.
Article by: Dave Bollard - Head of Marketing | 801-436-6636 JourneyTEAM is an award-winning consulting firm with proven technology and measurable results. They take Microsoft products; Dynamics 365, SharePoint intranet, Office 365, Azure, CRM, GP, NAV, SL, AX, and modify them to work for you. The team has expert level, Microsoft Gold certified consultants that dive deep into the dynamics of your organization and solve complex issues. They have solutions for sales, marketing, productivity, collaboration, analytics, accounting, security and more.