The annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) was in early July. Senior consultant, Dan Stopher, attended on behalf of EPM Partners and joined more than 16,000 people in Washington DC to gain valuable insights into the direction in which Microsoft is heading.
Dan reports the conference was an amazing experience. Senior Microsoft Management representatives – Satya Nadella, Kevin Turner, Phil Sorgen and Julia White presented a consistent vision through a series of keynote speeches – the message, loud and clear, is “Cloud and Mobility first”.
While Microsoft claims a 90% stake of the PC market it only has 14% of the broader devices market. As such Kevin Turner said that a challenger mentality was required and Microsoft had a “refuse-to-lose” approach to dominance in this market. Satya Nadella spoke for over 1 hour with passion and conviction as to the direction that Microsoft must now take and how important the partner network was to this position.
Dan’s top two general highlights were:
- The live provisioning of a SharePoint server farm, with redundancy and base reporting tools, in just minutes using Microsoft Azure. Impressive.
- Watching a live demonstration as two people who spoke different languages (English & German) having a meaningful conversation with live real time translation of each other’s words into the hearers language via Skype Translator. Equally impressive.
Dan’s top two PPM-specific highlights were:
- Some pre-release insights to a new Resource Management component that is currently being developed. This solution will provide resource managers with the tools to authorise and track resource allocations to projects in matrix organisations where tracking resource allocations to projects has always been a challenge.
- Further pre-release insights into a work management solution that will integrate with PPM but be a standalone solution in its own right. The toolset will provide users with the ability to see, track and manage their work assignments from a variety of different sources (project tasks, Outlook tasks, list items, etc) in a single dashboard and provide simple updates to key stakeholders on the status of these activities.
EPM Partners also used the opportunity to meet with the PPM development team representatives and strengthen the partnership. We also took the opportunity to air some of the issues that are causing us and our clients grief and emphasised how important resolutions to these issues are.
All in all, the conference was a valuable opportunity to understand the Microsoft Strategy and strengthen the Gold Partner relationship that EPM Partners enjoy with Microsoft.