We have just arrived in the city of Toronto for this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference. The annual conference is a fantastic opportunity for partners, vendors and business leaders to meet and share ideas for growth and transformation. This year sees a record attendance of 16,000 people, and over the next four days, we will be immersing ourselves in all that WPC 2016 has to offer.
Upon arrival on Sunday evening, we visited the UK Partner Welcome Drinks, whilst confirming our schedules for the following day. Monday began with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote, in which he discussed the ongoing importance of Microsoft’s mission to ‘empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more’.
Satya also touched on some of the exciting new features coming to Office 365, Azure and Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as some of the updates which will be made to Windows 10 in the Anniversary Edition, released August 2nd this year. Satya concluded with his thoughts that digital transformation was top of mind for every business decision maker, and that we have an opportunity as partners to help our customers engage their customers, empower their people, optimise their operations and transform their products.
We then progressed into our first sessions of the event. The Partner Conference brings together some of the most influential and innovative people in the IT sector, and they lend their experience each year to partners seeking to better their experience with their customers. One of the key components of a durable customer/partner relationship is trust – something which we seek to establish early and then maintain through delivering a high quality of ongoing service. The most consistent theme of the first day of sessions was that trust is paramount to success, and we make it our goal to work closely with our customers so that they know they can trust us to support them in their operations.
The definite highlight of day one was seeing company CEO and long-time attendee of WPC, Terry Doherty, present the story of how our unique remote support offering was born alongside Microsoft’s Senior Business Strategy Analyst, Jen Sieger. Terry spoke of our understanding of the hostile environment in which cruise ships operate, and how our reliability on a satellite link meant that the infrastructure we created had to be robust and fit for purpose.
The audience were captivated by our ability to provide this service at a time when information technology was still very much in its infancy. It’s a success story which we have built upon and which we continue to evolve today, and as an organisation we are honoured to have been asked to share it with fellow members of the Partner Network.
The latter sessions on the first day centred around the importance of developing upon the capabilities of Office 365 to ensure that our customers are truly utilising its full potential. Office 365 is very user centric, and its intuitive design makes it easy to navigate and simple to work with. However, every user of Office 365 will have a better experience after they have gone through extensive feature training. Microsoft have built an incredibly feature rich service, which continues to develop, and it is incumbent on partners to give their customers the best possible introduction.
Undoubtedly, Microsoft’s innovative products create the opportunity for managed service providers like us to support our customers. Office 365 on its own is an exciting service, but without the expertise and guidance of an experience Microsoft Partner to ensure that you maximise your benefit, you will be doing your employees a disservice. We’ll continue to share insights from this year’s Partner Conference, and hope you will take the opportunity to discuss your business goals and barriers with us so that we can help you take your business to the next stage of success.