Conferences and Events

A Guide to Making the Most of Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire 2018.

Microsoft Inspire 2018.

Article originally published on 30 May 2019 on the Microsoft Partner Network.

Every year Microsoft Inspire provides diverse opportunities for partners to network and learn with peers, and Microsoft teams and leaders from all over the world.

Last year was the largest conference yet with more than 17,000 partners in attendance from 130 countries. To maximise your Microsoft Inspire ROI, we asked three partners who attended last year’s event to share their top tips.

1. Be Clear

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Be clear on what you want to achieve.” Tim Goodman, CTO and Founder BizTech Enterprise Solutions

“Ideally”, Tim continues, “you should have one full day of scheduled meetings and one full day left open for networking and setting up meetings through your networking. Preparation made our Inspire experience so much better than we had expected.”

Tim recommends working closely with your Partner Account Manager to set goals for Microsoft Inspire and advice on how to reach them. He also suggests doing research on the partners you will/want to meet with and have a solid understanding of your desired meeting outcomes. Also deliver clarity, by preparing a 15-30 second elevator pitch to explain your business quickly and effectively.

2. Be Open

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“Be open to inspiration. This was the first time I was inspired by a CEO’s views on how technology companies should behave, what their role is in the world and what we as technology professionals should be striving for.” Michael Patishman, CEO BizTech Enterprise Solutions

Microsoft Inspire is a unique opportunity to hear directly from Microsoft executives, including CEO Satya Nadella, about the role of partners in Microsoft’s strategy; and the technology and partner strategies that are driving the most impactful change and transformation for customers. Michael believes being open to new ideas and new ways of thinking can give you a step ahead of your competitors.

This came to life for BizTech following Microsoft Inspire last year. As BizTech’s customers became more interested in the industry direction on AI, Michael and his team used insights from Microsoft Inspire to drive customer conversations. “AI is something a lot of our customers are wanting to talk about. We have the pleasure of demonstrating Microsoft AI and business intelligence tools and it has been received really well by our customers.”

3. Be Brave

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“Be brave. Chat to people. Find like-minded people to partner with.” Ben Creamer, General Manager Sharing Minds

“My Microsoft Inspire goal was to meet people and help other businesses deliver more Services! I wanted to meet businesses who were looking for capability and delivery services in the SharePoint and Office 365 space, and then discuss how we could provide value to them and their customers.”

There are no shortages of opportunities to meet partners and start a conversation while at Microsoft Inspire. Ben recalls that some of the best conversations happened in the most unlikely locations during the event. Whether it was across a lunchroom table, after a session finished, or even on a party bus while heading to the Bruno Mars concert; every moment provides an opportunity to reach out and connect with other partners.

As Sharing Minds provides specialised Microsoft SharePoint Services, Microsoft Inspire also helped Ben find partners to expand its own solution delivery capability: “By going to Inspire, I can meet partners who deliver complimentary services to ours. I can make trusted connections and that helps me build my standing as a trusted advisor to my customers. It also delivers a competitive advantage by having the latest Microsoft knowledge in your toolkit direct when its delivered, rather than wait for it to hit Australian shores.”

Ben credits his attendance at Microsoft Inspire with signing new partners, numerous new projects, and increased service delivery across Australia.

4. Be Better

“The way I measure my life is ‘Am I better than I was last year?’” Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft

Each year Microsoft Inspire evolves into a better and more inspiring event than it was the year before. And each year brings new industry insights, new ideas to be workshopped and new connections to be made.

Michael, Tim and Ben all agree that if you’re a Microsoft partner, then there is no question that there will be great value in attending Microsoft Inspire. As Ben puts it: “Where else do you get a chance to mingle and meet with that many people who are partner focused in the one room?”


Sharing Minds’ Ben Creamer and Adam Clark will be heading to Vegas for Microsoft Inspire 2019. If you would like to arrange a time to meet while there, please get in touch.

SharePoint Conference 2019 Wrap Up

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This year, I had the pleasure of attending the annual SharePoint Conference (SPC) with one of our Senior Consultants, Shannon Carey, in tow. SPC is the premier SharePoint event offering sessions with expert tips on how to best utilise the platform and updates about the product roadmap as well as providing opportunities for networking with colleagues across the industry. This year was no exception as it was the 20th year since SharePoint’s humble beginnings running on an old server under Jeff Teper’s desk.

 
SharePoint Home Sites. Image credit: Microsoft

SharePoint Home Sites. Image credit: Microsoft

 

SharePoint Home Sites

The keynote session opened the conference with a range of speakers from Microsoft, and so too came one of the biggest announcements of the event, the launch of SharePoint Home sites. Through leveraging Communication sites, Home sites combines news, events, content, conversations and video which will emphasise organisational priorities and branding. Home sites are intended to be used with one per Office 365 tenancy and will eventually become the Home page on the SharePoint mobile app. 15 SharePoint Home sites launch partners were announced to coincide with the release and we were proud to hear Sharing Minds partners LiveTiles, Hyperfish and Wizdom are part of this cohort.

SharePoint Search Updates

There are many improvements to the Search functionality rolled out across the Microsoft 365 suite. In December 2019 custom refiners and verticals, display templates, more extensibility, more scalability, more content types, inline @Office help assistance and many more updates will be made available. As a result, content will be searchable within 15 seconds of an addition or change.

Multi-Geo Capabilities. Image credit: Microsoft

Multi-Geo Capabilities. Image credit: Microsoft

Multi-Geo Capability

New multi-geo capabilities have been announced for Office 365 Groups and SharePoint, which will enable users to store data in one or more locations they have selected. These capabilities satisfy data sovereignty requirements in each location and the user requirement has been lowered to organisations with 500+ users. This makes this feature available to more businesses that before and provides enterprise functionality for mid-sized organisations.

SharePoint Admin Centre Site URL Rename Functionality. Image credit: Microsoft.

SharePoint Admin Centre Site URL Rename Functionality. Image credit: Microsoft.

SharePoint Admin Centre - Site URL Rename

A host of improvements and updates to the SharePoint Admin Centre were announced during Jeff Teper’s opening keynote address. The most notable of which, site URL rename, was met with a raucous applause by the room of SharePoint devotees. This change will allow for the URL address of a site to be updated simultaneously when the site name changes and all future requests redirected to the new URL.

OneDrive Updates

Rolling out later in 2019 will be OneDrive Differential Sync, a new functionality which will only sync changes to files within a OneDrive, avoiding the need for the whole listing to be synced. This will save data and time usage for OneDrive users on the move.

Between sessions, I managed to find a few friendly faces around the exhibition, including Sharing Minds partners AvePoint, LiveTiles, Nintex and ShareGate. Keep an eye out on the Sharing Minds social media channels for some exclusive interviews I recorded with each of the partners about their product roadmaps and exciting updates.

Ben Creamer with Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office, OneDrive SharePoint and Office Media Group.

Ben Creamer with Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office, OneDrive SharePoint and Office Media Group.

A personal highlight of the event for me was meeting the legendary Jeff Teper. Known in the industry as the Godfather of SharePoint, it was a real honour to meet with Jeff and have a quick chat about the journey of SharePoint and where its headed in the future.

Already looking forward to next year’s SPC!

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Cheers,
Ben
Ben.Creamer(at)sharingminds.com.au