Microsoft

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.

Microsoft Ignite The Tour | Sydney Wrap-Up

L-R: Shannon Carey, Ben Creamer, Adam Clark and Geoff Boddington.

L-R: Shannon Carey, Ben Creamer, Adam Clark and Geoff Boddington.

Now that Ignite Sydney has come to a close for 2019, I’d like to share some of my experiences throughout the two days of the event. Firstly, I’ll start out by acknowledging everyone that made it such a special event for us - from mingling with our fellow industry colleagues, to our network of partners we were able to catch up with in and around the event, and of course the many, invaluable, one-on-one conversations we were able to have with the Microsoft experts.

To set the scene, The Hub is where we met with different vendors and partners showcasing their vast array of products and capabilities. AvePoint’s ‘The Claw’ vending machine was a favourite, as was, Logitech’s Microsoft Teams Meeting Room devices and Vive’s headsets.  

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As always, it was great to see our partners Rhipe and Nintex at their separate booths and the team at LiveTiles roaming around the exhibition floor. There were so many others we managed to catch up with over the two days; it’s always great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd.  

Adam Clark with Nintex Sales Engineer Mathew Johnson at the Nintex booth. Photo credit: Nintex.

Adam Clark with Nintex Sales Engineer Mathew Johnson at the Nintex booth. Photo credit: Nintex.

Of all the sessions, my favourite was a presentation from Brian Holt, all about designing resilient cloud applications. It really made me think about all the different possibilities when designing solutions. Brian is proficient at building out applications using node.js and showed how the infrastructure can be stood up in Azure in just a matter of minutes.  

He then showed how this could be made globally redundant and efficient using a new feature in Azure Front Door which was a highlight for me.  

It also got me thinking about how to incorporate Cosmos DB into applications, rather than relying on SQL. 

Logic Apps made its way into most of the sessions that I attended. Generally, this was spoken about as the glue that wires up application in Azure, or even to spin up Azure infrastructure. I hopped into a session on custom connectors that can be consumed in Logic Apps or Power Apps and was surprised by how easy this process is. Drop me a line if you would like some more information on this.

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It was refreshing to hear stories around how AI is being used for good and solving complex problems, never before possible.  

case study about the counting of rare fish using underwater drones and AI, which enables government policy to be written in a timely manner to protect the fish in the Northern Territory, really stood out as a perfect example of AI being embraced in a new and innovative way to help society.  

Finally, I’ll leave you with a learning which has really stuck with me since returning to the office after Ignite: 

Traditional monitoring and alerting are built from the server level up, modern monitoring and alerting happens from the client down. 

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Cheers

Shannon
Shannon.Carey(at)sharingminds.com.au

Why are we excited about SharePoint 2019?

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Some exciting news has been coming out of Microsoft's latest edition of the Ignite conference (Sept 2017), where more than 25,000 customers and partners converged to talk all things Microsoft.

Sharing Minds - SharePoint 2019

A great deal of announcements were made, including interesting applications of AI and mixed-reality into various products. As you might expect, the announcement we found the most exciting is the pending release of SharePoint 2019, expected in preview as soon as June this year.

Further announcements included big plans to better bridge the gap between on-premise environments and the cloud. While today only 35% of licenses are on-premise (reducing steadily from previous years), Microsoft is clearly still focused on providing businesses with both online and on-premises versions and supporting these with updates and improvements.

Reports from Microsoft MVPs give hope to the future availability of the modern experiences seen in SharePoint online in SharePoint Server 2019. This support could include the availability of modern Team and Communication Sites as well as the new Sync Client, which is said to be a vast improvement over its predecessor. SharePoint 2019 will also bring support for PowerApps, another tool which has become increasingly useful and powerful in SharePoint Online.

Communication Site

Communication Site

Team Site

Team Site

Broad plans also encompass the forthcoming Office 2019 productivity suite, as well as Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019 alongside the release of SharePoint Server 2019, outlined in a Collab365 Global Conference keynote talk hosted by Collaboris.

All of this means the next stage of releases will lay the groundwork for a better, more fully featured SharePoint experience no matter whether you are operating on-premise or online. With these platforms right around the corner, now is the time to begin planning how your organisation will evolve alongside.

Would you like some advice on your SharePoint 2019 roadmap?  We'd love to help, so please get in touch today.

Sharing Minds - Jordan Bell

Cheers,

Jordan
Jordan.Bell(at)sharingminds.com.au