As a first timer at a Microsoft conference, I was very excited about the 4 day event held in Sydney at ICC. Being a Microsoft event, I was expecting big things and true to expectations, Microsoft delivered in a big way. Beginning with a keynote speech from Dr. Brian Cox which was both interesting and inspirational, the conference kicked off with a great sense of excitement for the days to come.
According to colleagues, this year’s summit was a significant change to the previous format of Australian Partner Conference (APC). The event was spread across 4 days, with the first two days open only to partners and the second two days open to the broader tech community.
The focus at Partner Summit was very business oriented and painted a clear picture on the future of cloud computing as Microsoft envision it. For me, there were several key takeaways which will help drive Axiom IT’s strategy in 2018.
Microsoft 365 – get involved or be left behind
Number one is Microsoft 365. There was barely a mention of Office 365 throughout the conference which is a strong indication to partners that Office 365 is old news. There’s a new kid in town and Microsoft are pushing it hard. The value Microsoft 365 can offer to businesses, both large and small, is huge. Microsoft have delivered a killer product and Axiom IT can’t wait to embrace the opportunity.
With access to so much data in the cloud, it’s really not surprising that Microsoft are now so well positioned to disrupt existing players in the security space. One of the key features of Microsoft 365 is the inclusion of Enterprise Mobility & Security which provides many layers of security at the flick of a switch. I attended as many presentations I could on the topic of security and walked away from the conference head still spinning. There is so much to learn and so much opportunity.
Microsoft are making huge investments in delivering smarter technology through the cloud. More and more we are seeing AI baked in to Office 365, assisting people to work smarter and get more done. While there’s not much opportunity for us as partners in this area, it’s great to learn about what’s possible so that we can adapt our own work habits to best leverage the technology.
Things are changing, quickly
Technology aside, one thing that became glaringly obvious throughout the conference is the rate at which things are changing. There’s never been a more exciting, opportunity filled time to be a Microsoft partner. The transformation of the company under Satya Nadella is phenomenal and motivates me to take this message to our clients. If a company as big as Microsoft can digitally transform in the space of just a few years, then smaller organisations have absolutely no reason they can’t follow suit. Digital transformation is upon us and not many people understand what it means, how it looks or what it feels like – myself included. But what I took away from the summit is that we all need to start thinking about digital transformation and how that might look in our businesses.
Putting content aside, the conference was a great opportunity to connect with people in the IT community, many of whom I’d never met before. It was great to meet many new faces from the SMBIT Professionals community and reconnect with the familiar ones.
Having the opportunity to meet people from Microsoft who build the products we use everyday in Office 365 was invaluable. These people are so passionate about the products they build and it’s infectious. I’m definitely leaving with a renewed sense of motivation thanks to them.
All in all, the 4 days provided an incredible experience. My business partner and I walked away with so many ideas, so much enthusiasm and an invigorated passion for what we do. Will I be attending the summit next year? Without doubt.
Chatting to Mark O’Shea on Intune
Meeting Microsoft product managers
Meeting Marc Kean from the Need To Know Podcast (thanks for the power bank, Marc!)
rhipe beach party
The great BCS debate – Datto vs ASR thanks to Chris Shannon, Ben Hooker and Jarrod Mast.
Catching up and meeting interstate members of SMBIT
Reconnecting with rhipe team over dinner and drinks at Nola
Dinner and drinks final night with SMBIT crew – Palmer & Co followed by Mr. Wong.