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Partners Take Center Stage At Microsoft Inspire 2018

The Microsoft Inspire 2018 Partner Conference was recently held at Las Vegas, NV from July 15 through July 19 and was attended by over 40,000 Microsoft partners from all over the world. This year's Microsoft Inspire conference was very well attended by the Microsoft's Sales team as the Sales Team had their annual kick off conference at Vegas the following week. The Powersolv team, led by David Dixon and Sanjay Shinde, was at the Inspire 2018 to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that Microsoft plans to offer their partners in the future.

Recent estimates and figures released by Microsoft at the Inspire 2018 show how partners are becoming increasingly important to businesses. The partner-led distribution model has clearly delivered spectacular results for Microsoft and their partners, as is unmistakably evident from the huge surge in sales. MS partners generated nearly $1 trillion in revenue over the past 12 months by working with Microsoft solutions.

At the Las Vegas MS Inspire 2018 event, Microsoft reiterated their commitment to making partner business opportunities the core of their future investments, especially for their cloud products such as Azure Marketplace, Co-sell, Catalogues and many others. This was echoed in the speeches of all the Core note Speakers.

The Day 1 keynote was opened by Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner at Microsoft. Gavriella said that Microsoft and its partners had an incredible year together. The year saw a splendid growth in products like Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. She also mentioned an important statistic of CSP or Cloud Solution Provider revenue was up 234 per cent compared to last year. Gavriella said that Microsoft and channel partners are poised for even bigger growth in the coming year.

Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Commercial Business at Microsoft spoke next and showcased a few customers that have been empowered by the Microsoft eco-system. Althoff urged partners not yet involved with Dynamics 365 to get started in the coming year as it is the best place to invest, build forward, grow impressively and expand in the coming year.

On Day 2, Schuster shared the exciting news that since the launch of One Commercial Partner a year ago, Microsoft partners have achieved over 5 billion dollars in sales. She revealed plans for expanded opportunities for partners to co-sell with Microsoft this year. Jason Zander, Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Azure Team in the Cloud and AI Group, and Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft 365, also spoke about some new initiatives aimed at helping partners achieve digital transformation for their customers.

CEO Satya Nadella addressed the community of both Microsoft Inspire and Microsoft Ready on Day 3 in his keynote speech. He attributed the success and uniqueness of the community to the success of their customers. Satya said that what binds them together is the success that their customers achieve. This community is unique and different as it works like a tech ecosystem. He said that there are greater opportunities available to serve their customers in the new area of intelligent cloud and edge. To emphasize on the importance the company is placing on empowering partners, the Microsoft Product Catalogue will, for the first time ever, carry partner solutions. This will be in force more prominently in the sales area where Microsoft sales force and partner ecosystem will be able to sell both individually and as a combined team.

Application and solution partners can get the opportunity to connect with an extended database of cloud solution providers. The providers, in turn, can use the arrangement to offer a greater range of products to their customers, thus adding value to their offerings and status. At Microsoft Inspire 2018, speaker, after speaker emphasized on the need to focus more sharply on the partner, led distribution model. The company will be looking at building strategies that can help partners improve business application practices. There will be new incentive programs and re-balancing of rewards.

The conference also emphasized heavily on the need to improve the readiness of partners to accept the new technologies. Microsoft executives say that they intend to make this happen by providing their partners unrestricted access to Dynamics learning. A 4-day intensive architect boot camp training is part of this process along with programs such as implementation coaching and continued learning.

The spotlight was sharply focused on their partners as the company reiterated their commitment to making partner business opportunities the core of their future investments, especially for their cloud products such as Azure Marketplace, Co-sell, Catalogues and many others.

Azure Marketplace offers multi-partner integrated solutions that are available across three verticals at present with more in the pipeline. These solutions enable partners to deal with the various challenges associated with coordinating and assembling multiple point solutions for addressing the needs of their customers. While customers can benefit from faster implementation, partners can use these solutions to deliver more value to customers.

The Co-Selling program which was announced a year ago is growing way beyond expectations and has generated a whopping $2.3 billion in partner revenue. It connects startups and other partners to enterprise customers by using the global sales force and channel of Microsoft. Gavriella Schuster said at the MS Inspire Event that the company has built more than 28,000 solutions, services, and applications with partners using the Co-Sell program. They have also jointly developed 100,000 plus co-sell opportunities. Microsoft has achieved $5 billion in partner sales with 87 percent IP co-sell partners activity.

Amongst all of these presentations and speeches and a Live Performance by Bruno Mars, David Dixon and Sanjay Shinde had one-on-one interactions with many key MS executives.

Dana Barnes, VP of State & Local Government Business, was excited about the new partner programs. Programs like Co-sell help partners to collaborate with Microsoft Sales and Products teams like never before.

The MS Inspire event was a grand success in every aspect and presented every organization the opportunity to meet and understand their partners better. The platform also provided the perfect setting to and experts in the Microsoft ecosystem. It was a great experience for everyone to meet their partners, share their plans for the future and explore future plans and prospects at this amazing event.