If you’re even mildly invested in the realm of Microsoft, then you likely have a good idea of what’s coming in less than a month.
Referred to as “the event where the world meets to transform business,” Microsoft Inspire 2018 (previously the World Partner Conference (WPC)) is set to take place on July 15-19, 2018 in the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
While Microsoft took a bit longer than usual to hammer out a venue for their largest annual conference, they recently announced that 2018’s Inspire—set to host 15,000+ attendees—will unfold at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and (yes… and) the T-Mobile Arena.
As usual, a healthy dose of anticipation has pervaded Microsoft’s partner channel, One Partner Group—ourselves included. Partners and customers are anxiously awaiting well-known staples of the event like best-in-class corenote addresses, featured speakers and one heck of a closing celebration.
However, despite these well-known traditions, Microsoft has become fairly well-known in recent years for its habit of switching things up. And, as you may have heard, Microsoft Inspire 2018 has quite a few changes—one in particular—that’s generated a lot of buzz (and perhaps some angst).
But if Microsoft’s proven anything to its market over the decades, it’s to never underestimate their flair for pulling off extraordinary product innovation and event imagination…
5 Things to Get Excited About for Microsoft Inspire 2018
1. 2-for-1: Microsoft Inspire 2018 and Ready 2018 Held in Concert
Perhaps the biggest switch up for Microsoft Inspire 2018 is the beautiful collision of Microsoft’s two largest annual events—Inspire and Ready.
Microsoft Inspire 2018 and Ready 2018 will both be held July 15-19 in Vegas— though Microsoft will segregate the events to some extent for convenience. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s internal employees at Ready and Microsoft’s Partner Community at Inspire will enjoy many overlapping opportunities of networking, go-to market strategizing, and celebrating!
2. New Ways to Network
With the unprecedented unison between Microsoft’s internal employees and external partners comes some new and exciting ways of collaborating…
To start, Microsoft has implemented a mentor program of sorts for its first-time Inspire attendees. Inspire newbies can maximize their ROI by syncing up with more tenured partners for questions and guidance.
In addition to receiving a mentor, if it’s your first time attending Inspire, you can
- attend a first-time orientation session for an event overview and Inspire insights provided by a panel of MS Partners and/or
- check out the “Turning Inspiration into Action” workshop for ideas on how to keep up the Inspire momentum after the event.
And the new networking opportunities don’t stop there…
Here’s what’s new for Inspire’s “The Lounge”—an area of Inspire’s “The Commons” that hosts collaboration among MS representatives and peers:
- A Subject Matter Expert (SME) Desk to field questions and tell you what’s coming next at Inspire—in any language!
- Mini classes aimed at your go-to-market priorities.
- Sponsor pods dishing the details on all the latest and greatest Microsoft solutions.
- A celebration-themed fun booth (we’re not sure what this entails, but Microsoft assures more details are soon to follow).
The Microsoft Inspire 2018 “Community Hub” will bring your partner-to-partner connections to life in a relaxed networking-style environment.
Here, you can get to know some of the featured Microsoft communities, like the International Association of Microsoft Partners (IAMCP) or Women in Technology (WIT). The hub also hosts theatre sessions and discussions on hot topics like artificial intelligence (AI), Diversity and Inclusion, Internet of Things (IoT), and more!
3. Industry-Specific Opportunity
The idea of curtailing attendee experiences with opportunities specific to their industries and/or MS solutions has made increased headway at Inspire—along with other Microsoft events—over the last few years. While this leaves more work to do for Microsoft, it’s a huge value-add for attendees.
This year’s general sessions are segmented into seven content verticals:
- Modern Workplace
- Data and AI
- Applications and Infrastructure
- Business Applications
- Business Leadership
- Partnering with Microsoft
While these are the primary segmenting verticals chosen by Microsoft, you can use your own filters to discover relevant session segments here.
All the sessions are noteworthy. But if you’re looking for digital solutions that can supercharge your business processes and goals like electronic signature), we recommend checking out the “Accelerate your digital transformation with business applications” session led by Alysa Taylor, CVP, Business Applications & Global Industry, Microsoft OR “Making money like the pros” in “The Commons Theater.”
4. Celebration & Venue
Ah. The exciting part.
Not that digital transformation isn’t exciting in its own right…
But If you’re heading to a work conference, having a robust selection of after-hours options never hurts. Las Vegas will likely do the trick!
And not to discount the thrills offered up by the entertainment capital of the world, but Inspire’s ending celebration—re-branded as the Microsoft Inspire and Microsoft Ready One Celebration—is sure to impress!
There’s nothing like ending a great conference with food, beverages, networking… oh… and eleven-time Emmy winner, Bruno Mars.
5. Partner Awards
Every year at Inspire, Microsoft honors its partners that are making waves in their industry or area of expertise.
The Microsoft Partner of the Year awards not only highlights these partners’ accomplishments, but sheds light on the strategies and successes that delivered them… offering up a roadmap for others in the Partner Community!
In addition to Microsoft’s Partner of the Year, the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP)—the largest global network of Microsoft Partners—will also announce finalists and a winner for their 2018 Partner of the Year. AssureSign has been named a finalist, and while we are—understandably—anxious for the final outcome, we’re honored to be recognized alongside some outstanding MS Partners!
We hope to see you in Vegas for all the excitement at Microsoft Inspire 2018 on July 15-19! Can’t make it? Follow AssureSign on Twitter to keep up with all the Inspire excitement!