I attended WPC in Toronto last week with Shaping Cloud’s CEO and founder, Carlos Oliveira. It would be my first WPC, and I arrived not knowing quite what to expect. It has been 5 years since I left Microsoft, and I could already see that a lot has changed in that time. But some things clearly haven’t. Sitting in Satya Nadella’s keynote on the Monday morning with 17,000 plus other partners from all over the world shows that Microsoft is still a partner led company. The Microsoft mission is to “Empower every person and every organisation to achieve more”, and it was made clear by Satya that partner success and unity is crucial to achieving these ambitions. I’d like to highlight just a few areas that were significant for me at WPC 2016.
I spent a long time working at Microsoft and it was in very different times to now. It’s clear that things have moved very quickly, and gone are the days where competition with the other big tech players (and open source) is the major focus. Microsoft is part of a new digital economy, and it seems that a shift has taken place where a decision has been made to embrace, co-exist, and focus on great outcomes for customers. Shaping Cloud is an exclusively Microsoft partner, but for me, this is a refreshing and welcome development. This shift was a big take-away from WPC 2016 for me.
Microsoft’s approach has changed significantly, but what does that mean specifically? They’ve made a huge bet on the intelligent cloud, and in his keynote, Scott Guthrie, VP of Cloud and Enterprise Group spoke about the massive (multi Bn$) investment Microsoft has made and continues to make in public cloud. The reason Microsoft are making this investment is that it is key to the generational shift that is taking place in technology right now. And it’s not just size and scalability that counts – Azure has more certifications than any other public cloud offering and also provides a plethora of services to deliver infrastructure, business apps, data, productivity, app platform, and identity.
The advent of the intelligent cloud means that new solutions can be developed that shift the value “up the stack”.
Microsoft Azure can now be considered a commodity, but it doesn’t stop there. The unveiling of the AppSource Marketplace showed that customers will be able to take advantage of a SaaS delivery model for applications much more easily as vendors embrace the platform. This will compress the “digital value chain” yet further, bringing a digital consumer experience closer to the enterprise.
The WPC experience is something I’d recommend highly for a Microsoft partner. Aside from the keynotes and educational sessions (which are many, varied, and not just technology focussed) the opportunity to network is a valuable part of the entire event. I re-connected with some old faces from within Microsoft and from other partners. I also made new connections with partners whose offerings are complementary to Shaping Cloud’s. The U.K. Microsoft team who hosted at WPC worked incredibly hard to make the event was a great success for their partners. Carlos and I had pre-arranged meetings with a number of the Public Sector leadership team, and as we go into our new financial year we are fuelled with ideas that will help us to improve our services and products, and make the best of our relationship with Microsoft.
We are looking forward to working closely with Microsoft in the coming year to bring even more success on Azure to Public Sector and we will certainly be booking our tickets for WPC 2017 in Washington DC!