Another year, another busy Microsoft Inspire for us. As always, it was a productive few days for the Centrality team at Microsoft’s flagship partner conference. We used the opportunity to meet with key figures from both the Microsoft leadership and Partner Network teams, as well as attending Corenote sessions, where we heard all that Microsoft has in store for the year to come. This year Microsoft Inspire was held in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Conference Centre. In this blog, we’ll bring you the most significant news, announcements and updates from Microsoft Inspire 2018.
Face-to-face with Microsoft
One of the highlights for us was the executive roundtable. This exclusive event – organised by the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) and Voices for Innovation – was an unparalleled opportunity to sit down directly with key members of Microsoft’s senior leadership team and discuss the opportunities digital technology can bring our customers.
We were invited by the IAMCP to a roundtable with both Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, and Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, Commercial Partner & Programs. You can see pictures from the event here, including a few snaps of our very own Simon Crozier, Operations Director. Brad Smith said how useful he had found the session, thanking the IAMCP for hosting the discussion on “how innovation and public policy work together to empower people everywhere”.
The main updates from Microsoft Inspire 2018
There were several key themes that ran through the Corenote sessions. Satya Nadella’s session on the third and final day of Inspire brought many of these together and provided a unified vision for partners and Microsoft employees for the year ahead. Here’s a summary of the key points of interest:
• The ‘intelligent edge’ and the ‘intelligent cloud’
In many ways these two terms form the basis of how Microsoft currently see the world and technology’s role in it. The intelligent edge are all the devices we use to get stuff done. It is called the edge because it is everywhere that we need it: it’s a university professor’s Surface book that helps provide the best education to students; it’s retail staff using Microsoft Teams to crowdsource the answer to a customer’s query on the shop floor; it’s an autonomous vehicle helping factory workers move heavy items. All of this technology at the intelligent edge is powered by the intelligent cloud. It’s referred to as ‘intelligent’ because AI is being infused into everything we do. Businesses need to embrace this way of thinking about digital transformation to succeed in the modern world. Our Cloud experts at Centrality have Microsoft Azure accreditation, meaning they are well-equipped to power your business’s journey to the cloud and make your digital transformation a success.
• Partnership is key
“The power of partnership” and “the age of partnership” were just two of the soundbites that caught our ears during the various sessions. Microsoft see partnership as an essential component in the fight against disruption. In Alyssa Taylor and Anand Eswaran’s session, they used the example of disruption in retail and demonstrated how partnership is key to overcoming this. We couldn’t agree more – you can watch the session here to see great examples of how businesses are using digital technology to succeed in the 21st Or, alternatively, see Centrality’s case studies for similar success stories.
• Building trust
Trust, responsibility, ethical principles… it was great to see just how committed Microsoft are to using technology in the right way. As Satya said: “As digital technology becomes pervasive in our lives, we have to approach everything with the fundamental assumption that privacy is a human right”. Microsoft’s work on the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and on ethical AI is inspiring. So too is Microsoft’s work on the GDPR, helping companies around the world remain compliant with the EU’s new data protection laws. Trust has been at the core of all our client relationships at Centrality – and it’s a key contributing factor to our success over the last 20 years.
• News from Microsoft UK
At the UK Partner Celebration, we heard directly from the key players in Microsoft UK: Cindy Rose, Clare Barclay, Joe Macri and others. It was great to hear just how important the work that Microsoft Partners do in the UK is so central to Microsoft’s global success. One of the key messages to take away from this session was that, although the future is going to be all about AI, first we need to lay down the basics. Once companies have their data estates sorted out – something we can help with at Centrality – then we can figure out how to start innovating with sophisticated AI.
At Centrality, we strive to bring the best solutions for our customers’ unique requirements. Part of that means getting out to conferences like Inspire to meet with Microsoft, hear about the new technology first, and be involved in discussions around how to apply Microsoft’s tech to our client’s real-world problems.
As valuable as Inspire is for partners like ourselves, it is also equally valuable for Microsoft itself. Microsoft want to hear the opinion of organisations like Centrality and hear the success stories we have had with our clients. It is through this two-way discussion that Microsoft can improve their technology and make sure it is meeting the requirements and expectations of its customers. We love sharing our experience and expertise because ultimately it means better technology for our clients.
To find out more about Microsoft solutions and how they can be tailored to your organisation to help you achieve your unique business goals, get in contact with us at Centrality. We are Microsoft experts, and we leverage the right IT solutions in the right combination to deliver true digital transformation for you.