Microsoft inspires to do more with less

Umbrellar Connect

Satya Nadella's opening address for Microsoft Inspire centered on the theme "Do more with less". Microsoft's largest partner event of the year is a huge two days of information - so we've collected the highlights just for you.

Microsoft Inspire, the largest annual partner event, has just finished delivering two days of information focused on the Microsoft Cloud, partner programs and opportunities for Microsoft partners to grow their business in the year ahead.  It’s a lot to take in … so here’s the key takeaways from Day One to help you digest!

If you missed it, that’s no problem. The benefits of being an entirely online event means you can still register and take advantage of the on-demand content stored on the Microsoft Inspire website.

Catch up on Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire opening address with Satya Nadella

Satya’s opening address for Microsoft Inspire emphasised the point that Microsoft is focusing on doing more with less in FY23. With the new Cloud Partner Program, Microsoft is focusing on six solution areas to grow and accelerate partners’ businesses. They announced many new programs for FY23 including Cloud for Sovereignty, Azure space partner community, the ISV success program, and more.

Microsoft acknowledged that hybrid work is here to stay and introduced more enhancements to Microsoft Teams to help drive collaboration in this hybrid world. With over 24 trillion security threat signals each day, they’re also building up their security solutions with Microsoft Entra, Microsoft Purview, Microsoft Priva, Microsoft Defender, and Microsoft Sentinel.

The digital imperative in hybrid work

Many organisations purchased and deployed technologies during the pandemic to bridge the gap when moving to full remote work. Because of this Microsoft will continue to drive the importance of hybrid collaboration and technologies to support organisations as they enhance their hybrid workplaces.

The technology enabling hybrid work is core to new business norms and processes foundational to business growth. Interestingly, 38% of hybrid workers say the greatest challenge is knowing when they should join a meeting virtually, in person, or why they should go into the office. Additionally, 43% of remote workers say they don’t feel included, but only 27% of companies are creating team norms around hybrid work and hybrid meeting etiquette.

Microsoft announced Digital Contact Center as a tool that can help organisations bring collaborative experiences into their workflow. Digital Contact Center creates a secure omnichannel experience for the end client, while integrations with other Microsoft tools that add automation and platform intelligence make it easy for employees to access the data they need right when they need it.

Microsoft stressed the value of employee experience platforms and how they can help ensure that employees excel in their roles. Employee engagement platforms such as Viva provide a holistic employee experience that allows employees to stay connected with each other, their work, and themselves. Our experiences over the past two years have reshaped priorities, and now more than ever, it is imperative that we use technology to bridge the gap between work and our personal lives.

53% of employees are now more likely to prioritise their health and well-being over work than before the pandemic, putting the onus on employers to make work “worth it”. The most observed aspect of remote and hybrid work is its impact on employee relationships.

Workplace teams have become more siloed and while a majority of hybrid employees seem to be maintaining their work relationships, only half of remote workers say they have a thriving relationship with their direct team, and even fewer have a strong relationship with those outside their team.

In a digital-first work world, where 51% of hybrid employees are considering a shift to remote work in the year ahead, we can no longer rely solely on the office to recoup the social capital we’ve lost. Leaders need to be intentional about reconnecting both hybrid and remote employees into the fabric of the organisation – certainly not a trivial task with 43% of leaders noting relationship-building is the greatest challenge in hybrid and remote work – but it’s one worth focusing on.

Growing your business with the Microsoft Cloud Partner Platform

Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, launching on October 3, 2022. Please note that while Silver and Gold competencies will expire on September 30, 2022, partners can choose to renew their membership for an additional year.

Incentives and rebates on the old program will be available until December 31, 2022. After this date, only IURs will remain as a benefit. Partners must attain at least 70 points in one of the six designations to be eligible for the new program.

If you want to see your current score, sign into the  Microsoft Partner Center dashboard  and select the Membership workspace. If you don’t see the Membership workspace, check your assigned roles in Partner Center. You must have the Global admin or MPN partner admin role to view the Membership workspace.

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Select Solutions Partner > Overview on the navigation menu.
  2. Select View Details for any of the solution area cards on the page or select any solution area of interest on the navigation menu. Take the time to read through each section to get an understanding of where you currently stand. If you’re partnered with Umbrellar, please reach out to us to look over your current standing and see how we can help you get where you want to be. You can also use the score simulator to forecast and plan ahead.

The  Solutions Partner Score Simulator  will help you to identify how upcoming projects will impact your score and gain insight as to where you stand on your path in obtaining your new designation.

More Key Announcements and Highlights

Multilayering is key to future cybersecurity
Microsoft is dedicated to going multilayered with their security approach to threat protection, identity and access management, as well as compliance and privacy management. The ability to have numerous security solutions in place over a single network is high on their list. The recent announcements of Microsoft Entra and Microsoft Purview offerings were highlighted as opportunities for partners to drive enterprise security while reducing complexity for customers.

For partners, this could mean the ability to earn up to $36 of additional revenue per seat by stacking Microsoft 365 security solutions such as Defender for Business and Defender for Endpoint with Entra, Purview and Microsoft Priva.

The core of Microsoft’s digital fabric is Microsoft Teams
Thanks to two years of disruption and WFH, Teams has cemented its place at the core of the Microsoft experience and will continue to be updated to provide added value. New features include:

  • Teams Connect – allowing for two tenants to connect to one another without having to toggle back and forth
  • Video Clip – users can record a short video message for a more personalised chat experience
  • Collaborative Annotations – Teams meeting participants can annotate together while sharing their screen in meetings.

These features are designed to make collaboration seamless. With shared channels, you’ll be able to provide a gateway for external organisations to share files, hold conversations, meet and review documents just the same as if they were part of your internal organisation. The flow of work is retained as these external shared channels show up alongside channels from your organisation, giving you the freedom of working together without compromising your security.

Project Orland promises to help partners better nurture their clients
First announced at last years’ Microsoft Inspire, Project Orland was once again highlighted this year and promises to help resellers analyse their CSP client base by applying data models built by Microsoft data scientists to surface prioritised opportunities to act on. Using AI, you’ll be able to identify potential opportunities to help your clients acquire new users, minimise churn and harvest growth. With ML-based prioritisation, CSP providers can focus on opportunities that promise the most impact.

Digital sovereignty for the public sector needs to be flexible
Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty is a new solution enabling public sector clients to build and digitally transform workloads in the cloud while meeting their compliance, security and policy requirements. This will give public sector clients the ability to harness the full power of the cloud while enjoying the flexibility of broad platform capabilities, resiliency, agility and security.

The heart of every business is the employee experience
Microsoft Viva, the employee engagement experience platform, continues its evolution with three new main offerings available now or coming soon. Currently the Microsoft Viva suite includes Viva Insights, Viva Learnings, Viva Topics and Viva Goals, with Viva Engage and Viva Sales announced at Inspire last week.

Key highlights of the announcement include:

  • Viva Goals scheduled for general availability as of next Monday August 1, 2022. It will be directly integrated into Microsoft Teams for easy sharing of OKRs (objectives and key responsibilities) via dashboards, as well as leading conversations across your organisation. Viva Goals will communicate with AI integrations to automatically update OKRs in real time based on integrated applications such as Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Viva Engage will be coming in late August this year. It’s designed to allow users to build meaningful relationships and communities through the fully integrated platform on Microsoft Teams and is predicted to make it easier than ever for your business to create a culture and location for digital sharing and hosting virtual events.
  • Viva Sales, announced in June, is separate from the Viva suite but set to be a great tool that optimises the partner opportunity.

Yep – that was just Day One! If something in here piqued your interest, take advantage of the knowledge base that Umbrellar Clouds’ skilled specialists possess and schedule a chat session. The team with their heads firmly in the cloud have been on high alert with all the announcements coming out of Microsoft Inspire and are happy to talk about them!

Schedule a Call

For a summary of announcements for Day Two, read our Recap Microsoft Partners: Client obsession the key to success

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Cloud Governance

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The cloud creates new paradigms for the technologies that support the business. These new paradigms also change how those technologies are adopted, managed, and governed. When entire datacenters can be virtually torn down and rebuilt with one line of code executed by an unattended process, we have to rethink traditional approaches. This is especially true for governance. Cloud governance is an iterative process. For organizations with existing policies that govern on-premises IT environments, cloud governance should complement those policies. The level of corporate policy integration between on-premises and the cloud varies depending on cloud governance maturity and a digital estate in the cloud. As the cloud estate changes over time, so do cloud governance processes and policies.

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Cloud compliance is the general principle that cloud-delivered systems must be compliant with standards that the cloud customers face. Essentially, cloud customers need to look at the effective security provisions of their vendors the same way they would look at their own internal security. They will need to figure out whether their cloud vendor services match the compliance that they need. There are several ways to go about this. In some cases, companies can just look for vendors that certify compliance, and choose their services without any further input. However, sometimes clients may need to actually get involved in accessing the cloud vendor's security, to make sure that it complies with the industry standards and regulations.

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