For the third year in a row, Microsoft’s worldwide partner conference, aka Inspire, was 2 full days of content and product announcements with a HUGE emphasis on the Microsoft Cloud. As additional billions of dollars are invested in the Microsoft Cloud, there is a renewed focus for partners to help drive core solutions into what Microsoft sees as key verticals. During the virtual conference, Microsoft executives highlighted six key solution areas of focus for partners:
- Modern Work
- Digital & App Innovation
- Data & AI
- Business Applications
Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, spotlighted a number of customer success stories driven by Microsoft partners to emphasize the enormous opportunity partners have to drive innovation through cloud technologies across industries and organization size. With a reformed partner program focused on key solution areas, partners can pick one, two or all six areas for specialized certification. Ultimately Microsoft believes that this new partner program will benefit end customers by forcing partners to become more specialized to deliver specific cloud based outcomes. At Conexlink/MyCloudIT, our focus remains on delivering the best modern work experience through Azure Virtual Desktops, Windows and Microsoft 365 combined with a holistic Cloud Security program.
Another encouraging announcement for FY23, Microsoft will increase resources and investment for the Partner to Partner program. A great example of this motion would be specialized partners with different certifications “teaming up” to drive a more seamless outcome for customers that spans multiple solution areas. Here at Conexlink/MyCloudIT, we have hundreds of partners who can help deliver better outcomes across all of the solution areas. We can be a one-stop shop.
In summarizing Satya Nadella’s key overarching message, the Microsoft Cloud is about doing more with less. In FY23 Microsoft Partners have an opportunity to drive innovation, collaboration, and security with the latest Microsoft capabilities and maintain profit margins that keep the partner ecosystem healthy and more advanced than any other public cloud hyperscaler.
Outside of the general Microsoft Executive parade and high level announcements at Inspire, there were also some more specific product reveals:
Azure Virtual Desktop and Modern Work
In its’ 4th year of existence, Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop continues to gain more capabilities. From newfound integration with the full suite of Microsoft Teams, to supporting RDP shortpath and also multimedia redirection, AVD is more fully functioned than ever. At an extremely price competitive price point, Azure Virtual Desktop offers customers flexibility to deliver specific line of business apps from the cloud or can be a replacement to the traditional desktop.
Microsoft Cloud Security Offerings
With over 785,000 customers now using the Microsoft Cloud Security suite, Microsoft has seriously upped its’ game in the cyber security cloud product and services area. For all businesses, Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender deliver a comprehensive SIEM and XDR coverage for any business.
As you can see above, Microsoft Sentinel gives you the security visibility across your organization and can be deployed across other cloud platforms as well. Along with Sentinel, Microsoft Defender will secure both your infrastructure and/or your endpoints, depending on the Defender products you choose to employ.
Through vendor consolidation, the comprehensive Microsoft Cloud security suite can reduce complexity and improve your cloud security posture to play offense vs defense against evolving threats.
Partner Priorities in the Coming FY'23
As noted above, Microsoft is increasing efforts to improve Partner to Partner collaboration and incentivizing an emphasis on improved technical skills of Microsoft Cloud partners.
With the six defined areas of expertise, Partner to Partner opportunities are more easily identified on a per customer basis. This gives Microsoft Gold CSP Partners, like Conexlink/MyCloudIT, the ability to bring a broad suite of capabilities for you to leverage in your new cloud journey.
Microsoft understands that technical skilled resources are limited and looks to increase that pool by investing in and incentivizing partners who focus on hiring and skilling new resources.
Microsoft Teams and the Fluid Framework
It’s obvious that Microsoft sees it’s Teams platform as the hub for enabling modern work into the future. In fact, this quote from Satya below says it all;
“We need to be great at sync, async, in-person and remote collaboration”
And that’s where the Fluid Framework comes in. The Fluid Framework was introduced at Inspire this year and is a true collaboration platform that spans across all products. Remarkably, Microsoft Teams already touts an unbelievable 270+ Million active users worldwide. And in the coming months, Teams will include Excel Live and other Microsoft integrations for work group collaboration. The Teams platform is rapidly becoming the central point for users to collaborate on documents in real time, implement document containers to integrate company collaborative content and existing apps for world wide web content to be viewed by prospects and customers. Many of these features have been in preview for years, but we are now starting to see the vision come to fruition.
Microsoft Viva, the community and connections app, has also been enhanced and replaces the previous Yammer integration. Viva now enables easy video integration along with creating Storylines and Stories for sharing with other employees and clients. There was plenty of focus on Viva this year at Inspire. It will be interesting to see if user adoption trends similarly to past products.
Overall, the vision that Microsoft paints has never been more vivid. All of the products under the Microsoft umbrella are starting to mesh together like never before. At Conexlink/MyCloudIT we are excited about closer relationships with Microsoft and Microsoft Partners in FY23, but most of all we are excited to help drive innovative and secure customer outcomes. Hope you join us on our journey!