Microsoft certainly knows how to inspire its partners and their customers…
Last week, we attended the annual Microsoft partner conference, Inspire, in Washington D.C., formerly known as WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference). Many of our own partners attended the event in addition to thousands of other companies making up the tech giant’s Partner Group. Whether Silver or Gold, MS partners look forward to acquiring resources and knowledge at the annual Microsoft Inspire event, further enabling them to provide exemplary experiences for their customers.
Over the course of five days, dozens of workshops and daily keynote speakers kept us alert, excited, and ready for more! For those who were unable to attend, we’ve shared the three takeaways you’ll want know…
3 Key Takeaways from Microsoft Inspire:
1. Partner Commitment
Microsoft has become increasingly committed to its network of Microsoft partners. The tech giant reaffirmed that commitment at MSInspire by introducing its “One Commercial Partner Group.” As part of this newly defined partner umbrella, Microsoft places emphasis on six industries and offers industry-specific support to applicable partners.
The most consumer-centric element of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner Group is the streamlined organization of its partners. Previously, when searching for a platform, application, or integration compatible with one of Microsoft’s myriad operating systems, you were left sifting through an overwhelmingly extensive partner list. Picture a Target shopping trip hours after Black Friday… how long would it take you to find what you were looking for?
Microsoft’s reformed partner organization yields tremendous ease to your application shopping. You can now curtail your experience by identifying your organization’s business goal(s):
- Modern workplace
- Business applications
- Applications and Infrastructure
- Artificial Intelligence
This method of funneling partner resources will be a huge time saver!
2. Azure Stack
We’re elated to highlight some of the aspects introduced at this year’s Microsoft Inspire surrounding Azure Stack, but you may not share the same sentiment if you’re unfamiliar with the premise of Azure. Microsoft defines its Azure platform as “a growing collection of integrated cloud services that developers and IT professionals use to build, deploy, and manage applications through our global network of datacenters.” In other words, Azure is the engine that empowers your various cloud based platforms and applications to function and communicate.
Azure Stack is an extension of Azure’s SaaS functionality, but it extends offline internal connectivity. What’s meant by “internal offline connectivity?” Imagine a cruise ship and its plurality of systems and interconnected applications. These systems and applications necessitate a method of interacting and communicating, but cruise ships do not have the luxury of consistent online connectivity. This is where Azure Stack takes the stage… Azure Stack enables a private, offline “cloud” that affords internal applications, servers, and platforms with real-time communication.
Another Stack use case can be found within the regulated public sector. With some projections of the SaaS industry catapulting to a 4.5 Trillion dollar market opportunity by 2020, even the heaviest of regulated industries—finance, healthcare/medical, government services, etc.—will likely require some form of SaaS functionality. Functioning within an online cloud environment, however, places sensitive data or safety protocols at risk of intrusion. Azure Stack allows these industries to remain secure while streamlining and enhancing their internal digital processes through offline connectivity.
Why should you be intrigued? Both our on-premises deployment, the only on-premises eSignature solution in the industry, and hybrid deployment option work on the Azure Stack platform. Azure Stack allows you to seamlessly and efficiently interconnect all your digital processes, and makes leveraging our eSignature solutions in regulated and offline industries a breeze!
3. Overcoming Challenges for 2017-2018
With new ideas comes new challenges. While the last few years have been great for innovation, they have also presented digital breaches and other cyber concerns. These challenges have not gone unnoticed by Microsoft, who plans to combat concerns regarding privacy and cybersecurity with strategy.
Privacy: Privacy and protection of sensitive information is a growing concern among consumers as more and more processes are digitized. This is one of the reasons the European Union plans to pass the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 which will impact the way data is transferred within and out of the country. Other countries are likely to follow suit as digital transformation progresses. Microsoft is committed to avoiding consumer frustrations through seamless business exchanges on a national and an international level.
CyberSecurity: You or someone you know have likely been affected by the growing cybersecurity conundrum. Whether searching for privy information, financial gain, or simply hacking for hobby, an unprecedented amount of attacks is making cyberspace the new battleground. Microsoft has released a 4-part approach to strengthening digital security:
- Identity and Access Management
- Information Protection
- Threat Protection
- Security Management
While many specific initiatives are in the works, we were clued in at Microsoft Inspire on two initiatives within their enhanced security approach:
- Two-Factor Authentication. This requires users to authenticate their identity utilizing two separate methods, one of which usually involving a pre-set password. Another feature in Microsoft’s pipeline is the ability for a program or platform to designate protocols or document labels depending on the user’s industry. For example, if employed by the government, a user’s documents could automatically receive a confidential tag.
- Combating Malice. Specifically, malicious links sent to your email. Sound familiar? This is one of the most popular methods of virus and malware intrusion. Microsoft plans to utilize real-time data to identify these links before you open them and caution you accordingly.
Microsoft’s strength in addressing privacy and security allows us to extend a better user experience to our customers and partners. Microsoft’s commitment to bettering customer experiences and enhancing privacy initiatives are among the many reasons we’re proud to be an MSFT Silver Partner.
Taking your company through a digital transformation or looking for a new partner in the Microsoft community? Be sure to check out our eSignature solution fully integrated with Dynamics365.