Our 5 Key Takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2019

August 1, 2019

Our team was lucky enough to attend Microsoft’s annual partner conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft Inspire 2019. Microsoft presented lots of exciting product news, business ideas and partner initiatives.

Here are our 5 key takeaways from the event:

1. The future is now: Azure and HoloLens

If anyone had any doubts about Microsoft’s capacity for innovation, it’s hard to argue with a hologram that transforms someone into a digital speaker of another language.

Microsoft recently scanned Julia White, a company executive for Azure, at a Mixed Reality capture studio to transform her into an exact hologram replica.

During a keynote she wowed the audience when a digital replica of herself appeared on stage – and gave her presentation in Japanese. Yes, really.

Microsoft used its Azure AI and neural text-to-speech technologies to make this possible. It used recordings of Julia White’s voice, in order to create a personalized voice signature to create a Japanese version of her.

You can see the full presentation below:

2. Microsoft listens to its partners on “Internal Use Rights” program

Microsoft decided to make a U-turn after receiving “overwhelmingly negative” feedback from partners on the plan to eliminate internal use rights.

Gavriella Schuster said: “As you may know a couple weeks ago we announced changes to the program competencies and internal use rights. The response from you, our partner ecosystem, was overwhelmingly negative.

We clearly underestimated the value of those benefits and the impact that that would have on you and your businesses. You know, your partnership means more to us than anything. And we value the relationship and the trust that we’ve built in that partnership. Because it is based on commitment, integrity and trust. And it requires us to have ongoing communication, collaboration and accountability.

When I heard your response, and I listened to what you were saying—and I read every single blog and tweet and article—in my mind there was really no choice but for us to walk back on that change. So we are going to keep the FY19 competencies and internal use rights just as they are. And you have my commitment that I will continue—we will continue—to listen, to learn. And though we may stumble, we will grow together and we will celebrate our wins together.”

It shows that Microsoft is committed to investing in its partner ecosystem – and prioritizing long-term relationships and strong communities over short-term financial gains.

Dynasource at Microsoft Inspire 2019 in Las Vegas

3. Office 365 and Teams can help partners generate more revenue

The rapid growth of Microsoft Teams presents a significant opportunity for partners to grow their own businesses.

Schuster: “There are 76 million customers in SMB. It is an $80 billion market opportunity. And Office 365 is in less than 10 percent of those customers. That is a lot of upside for all of you. And now, once you have that secure socket from which to build, then you can start to add additional services, like Teams…

How many of you remember the explosive growth of SharePoint about a decade ago? Teams is already on a faster trajectory than that … You are able to bring the entire business process, and create a whole new user experience [with Teams]. You can bring all the business applications to the forefront of that user experience in one single shared workspace.”

4. SQL Database Hyperscale is a game-changer

Big data is becoming increasingly important – and Microsoft knows it.

The impressive demo of 200 terabytes in a single relational database in Azure by Rohan Kumar, Corporate Vice President of Azure Data, shows that the company is focusing their efforts on providing these services at scale.

In the demo during Nadella’s Corenote speech, Kumar showed off Azure SQL Database Hyperscale dealing with a huge amount of data. The demo involved feeding simulated data from a million vehicles into the relational database in the cloud to return operational insights across the entire fleet. Hyperscale can read, write and restore data at scale, very fast.

5. Satya Nadella gets weekend emails from Bill Gates

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made the crowd laugh when he admitted he still feels stressed when he hears from Microsoft co-founder. He talked about a weekend email he received that referred to the Azure SQL Database Hyperscale technology.

“Usually, when you get a weekend mail from Bill, you kind of wait and see, ‘Do I really want to open it now?’ And I opened it, and I’ve been working with Bill for a long time, and it started by saying, ‘Wow.’ I’ve never seen those words from him, I’ve never heard those words, and he was really thrilled to see us make progress. Of course, he had a long list of other things we need to be working on, as well.”

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