Inspire is Microsoft’s conference for partners where they give partners insights and direction on their areas of focus and where they see the opportunities for partners (read, this is what Microsoft would like partners to sell).
It’s obviously important to partners, but it also gives a good idea of what areas Microsoft are focusing on. So what were the key areas of focus?
Microsoft Azure and AI
Azure and AI were obviously key themes. Some key announcements:
Microsoft Azure Lighthouse
Azure Lighthouse will be available to partners on July 11, providing capabilities for cross-customer management at scale for partners to differentiate their managed services and benefit from greater efficiency and automation. Service providers can manage across customers’ Azure resources and subscriptions from within a single control pane.
Azure Lighthouse is available at no additional charge. Note that you may incur charges for use of underlying Azure services, such as Azure Log Analytics and Security Center, while using Azure Lighthouse. If an underlying service is offered for free, you won’t be charged for using it.
Azure Migration Programme
Microsoft revealed the Azure Migration Programme, which it said will help customers accelerate their journey to Azure, and offer “proactive advice and tools to help mitigate risks and address common issues associated with moving workloads to the cloud”.
AI Accelerate program
a new program aimed at helping partners build and deploy AI offerings to customers more quickly.
Microsoft also announced five advanced specializations;
- Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure
- Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure
- Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure
- Modernization of Web Applications in Microsoft Azure
- Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure.
Microsoft Teams was a key focus. The big news was Microsoft Teams is now at 13 million Daily Active Users, 19 million Weekly Active Users. In the corenote Satya Nadella said
The one product that has had an absolute breakout year is Teams. Teams is the hub for teamwork. It’s really four things in one, right? It has chat, it has meetings, it brings together collaboration using all the richness of Office tools within that same scaffolding. It’s the business process workflow. That’s what Teams is about. It defies, even the category definitions that are there out in the marketplace. And that’s what’s driving this tremendous momentum.
There were no big feature announcements but it was clear Microsoft is focusing on Microsoft Teams as the hero of Microsoft 365. Microsoft is also very focused on first-line workers (FLW) as a massive potential market opportunity.
Microsoft also announced Microsoft certified compliance call recording coming for Microsoft Teams from ASC, NICE and Verint here.
Dynamics 365 and HoloLens 2
Microsoft announced significant updates to the Dynamics 365 Non-profit Accelerator and two new integrations for Dynamics 365 that address the automotive and financial services industries.
Microsoft also highlighted HoloLens 2 applications in Dynamics 365 — Layout, Guides, Remote Assistance, Product Visualizer, these are all out-of-the-box applications that take advantage of this new medium of mixed reality.
Focus on Security – New Microsoft Security partner competency
Security was a key focus of the event, driving it home a key part of the value of Microsoft 365. The new Microsoft Security competency is now available. It’s clear Microsoft are making a massive investment in this area.