Microsoft’s Inspire 2018 conference kicked off in Las Vegas this week, giving us a look at what the company cooking up for its partners.

As One Step Beyond we are investing a lot in the Microsoft ecosystem (as we are Gold Partner in all the most relevant Cloud competencies) and we are following the announcements really carefully to understand plans and objectives for the next Microsoft fiscal year.

First of all, even if Inspire is not as popular as Ignite or Build, we had some great announcements from Microsoft on the Tech side:

  • The general availability of Whiteboard: Microsoft Whiteboard allows team members to collaborate on a blank digital canvas, both in person and remotely. In addition to basic inking and keyboard support for writing out notes and ideas, Whiteboard includes the ability to add and manipulate images, shape recognition, and more. The app can also automatically recognize when you’re making a table, allowing collaborators to easily keep their ideas organized. After a brainstorming session is over, whiteboards can be saved and shared via the Microsoft cloud for team members to reference at any time.
  • Free Tier of Microsoft Teams: Teams’ free version is available around the world in 40 languages. And for the most part, the experience is largely similar to the paid version. Included are unlimited chat and search, audio and video calling, and 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal storage per person. The free version only supports up to 300 users.
  • Azure Data Box (Preview) to migrate data in Azure using a physical appliance.
  • Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is a new deployment option in Azure SQL Database that provides Full SQL Server compatibility and native virtual network support.

Regarding the Partner/Business side, Microsoft disclosed that co-selling efforts with partners have generated $5 billion in partner sales to date, while the company has supplied partners with more than 1 million customer leads since Inspire last year. Microsoft also said it now has 72,000 cloud partners in total, and reports that Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) revenue is up 234 percent compared with a year ago.

Microsoft is going to grow opportunities for partners by relying heavily on its marketplaces and making AppSource the “front door” for partners selling with the company.

The company also revealed it is expanding private offers in the Azure marketplace. With private offers, partners can confidentially share solutions with their customers that meet their unique buying needs.

Microsoft also is enhancing available incentives for partners to improve profitability with business applications. The company is announcing that fiscal 2019 incentives will allow partners to earn between 10 percent and 50 percent more on new customer acquisition for business apps (Dynamics 365 and Power BI).

Big announcements can still come as Satya Nadella will do his speech Wed 18th.



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