Microsoft Partners: Client obsession the key to success

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Umbrellar Connect

Day Two of Microsoft Inspire and key takeaways included Microsoft's principles and strategy for the channel in FY23. We've gathered the highlights so you don't need to go looking for yourself!

But just in case, you DID want to go looking, just click on the button below. 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

So, what did Day Two of the biggest partner event in the Microsoft calendar offer? Just a couple of things …

  • Listen, collaborate with and improve the digital literacy of your clients.
  • Empower the modern workforce.
  • Secure Data.
  • Use dedicated industry-specific solutions to do more with less.
  • Drive innovation and social impact by leveraging the cloud for nonprofits. Start focusing on future sustainability to scale your business and impact.

Microsoft FY23 Priorities

Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, kicked off Day 2 by showcasing Microsoft’s principles and strategy for the year ahead.

FY23 Principles
Microsoft emphasised the need for partners in the channel to remain client-obsessed throughout this fiscal year. It will be imperative for partners to listen and consult with clients to inspire their digital transformation and design complete solution stacks. Businesses can maximise the value of Microsoft cloud solutions if given the ability to control and optimise the way they manage their day-to-day operations. Another core principle highlighted on Day Two was around upskilling organisations at scale.

Digital Literacy
This is considered key to understanding the foundations of security and innovation within Microsoft cloud solutions. Microsoft is focusing on growth for partners and organisations selling and utilising Microsoft solutions in a digital-first world. This is expected to increase partner revenue pipelines, allowing partners and businesses the opportunity to simplify and optimise the digital journey by leveraging all the best solutions across the Microsoft ecosystem.

FY23 Strategy
Addressing Microsoft’s FY23 principles highlights the strategy underlying how the partner community will achieve success this fiscal year. Microsoft cloud solutions are viewed as a stack of building blocks creating a solid foundation for an organisation’s digital world before layering additional solutions and services from independent software vendors (ISVs) within Microsoft’s marketplace on top of that foundation. Microsoft believes this strategy will help businesses not only complete their digital transformation but allow them to plan for a future in which technology delivers more for the client and further extends industry value across solution areas.

Empowering the Modern Workforce
From Day One’s emphasis on the digital imperative of hybrid work, Microsoft doubled down on the concept of empowering the modern workforce and inspiring creativity and innovation as a key driver for success in FY23. Today’s hybrid work solutions are helping companies move from remote to hybrid work with scale and confidence. We are not just surviving hybrid work — we are thriving! Microsoft Teams levels the playing field of remote work, allowing for full immersion from anywhere on any device. Teams will be the place we live, hang out, work, and interact.

Securing Data
The last position of strategy for Microsoft in FY23 is surrounding data. Data is everywhere and needs to be secured fully from the source to the endpoint. Clients need an integrated security suite and a compliance system that responds to global and ever-changing regulatory rules that are fundamental to business digital evolution. Microsoft allows clients the chance to control and manage when, where, and how they use their data.

Microsoft + Oracle

Clients across the globe have relied on Microsoft and Oracle software working together to run business-critical applications. On Day Two, Microsoft announced that they have expanded their partnership with Oracle to introduce Oracle Database Services for Microsoft Azure. With this new technology, Microsoft Azure clients will be able to provision, access, and monitor Oracle Database Services in the Oracle cloud with more ease and a familiar platform. This extension of the Microsoft and Oracle partnership will offer more choice for multi-cloud architecture and will let clients use the best capabilities of both clouds.

Win with Dedicated Industry Solutions

Microsoft continued to highlight the importance of vertical-specific solutions that support industry needs, backing this up with their industry-specific clouds. Industry clouds aim to tackle gaps unique to the respective industry while empowering organisations to enjoy the work they do and thrive while doing it. Some of the key clouds mentioned were:

Cloud for Nonprofit
This connects intelligent and integrated cloud functionality of the Microsoft stack to the most common nonprofit organisational scenarios, including constituent and supporter management, award management, fundraising, volunteer management, program design and delivery, operations, and data management. By unifying data across the organisation, nonprofits can benefit from accelerated mission outcomes based on the recommendations and insights they receive from the platform.

Cloud for Manufacturing
This is designed to deliver capabilities that support the core processes and requirements of the manufacturing industry. The Cloud for Manufacturing is unique as a result of the industry-specific standards and communities, like the Open Manufacturing Platform and Digital Twins paired with Microsoft’s ecosystem of partners that deliver additional value.

Cloud for Retail
This is designed to accelerate business growth by providing trusted retail industry solutions that integrate with existing retailer systems. With the Cloud for Retail, organisations can maximise the value of their data and elevate their clients’ shopping experience while building a real-time, sustainable supply chain with data across the ecosystem.

This is an innovative new way of viewing the Microsoft cloud landscape – and you’re probably asking “Why create industry solutions at all?”

The answer lies in Satya’s opening address – being able to do more with less. Industry-specific solutions build horizontal capabilities that can be extended to build and deliver vertical value, all while giving small to medium organisations the chance to maximise their potential.

Digital Perseverance

Microsoft used the event to highlight some of the major successes of the channel, including a 31% growth in GSI (Global System Integrators) revenue. In addition to this major growth in GSI, Windows 11 truly came to life this past year. Despite the channel’s upheaval with NCE, partners persevered and delivered at scale.

Microsoft is committed to helping partners across the channel navigate uncertain times in an uncertain market in a global economy that’s all tied together. No business is 100% resilient, but businesses that are more fortified with technology can pivot and persevere through any challenge. Companies that are digitally prepared stand to gain the best possible outcomes and have a greater ability to innovate and prioritise their business through:

  • Addressing the future of work by threading the needle between growth and employee needs and satisfaction.
  • Assessing long-term solutions to supply chain issues that impact businesses across the globe.
  • Creating a sustainable work environment to positively affect change throughout the world.
  • Increasing cybersecurity to create a foundation to operate in the digital world by helping organisations operate more securely and safely in uncertain times.

Drive Innovation and Social Impact

The new suite of applications and support in the form of Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit are set to be key to driving growth in the nonprofit industry by leveraging the new Microsoft industry-specific cloud focus and using the common data model to provide nonprofits the support they need immediately with data they already have within their organisation.

Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit was the first industry-specific cloud tool launched by Microsoft in October 2021, and Microsoft is constantly providing updates and new features within the application suite. Partners and their nonprofit organisations get access to deeper skilling and enablement resources through Microsoft Learn that take advantages of opportunities included in the applications.

It gives partners and nonprofits an opportunity to differentiate their clients’ positioning, in both the free basic plan as well as the standard plans’ advanced support. Utilising the common data model, Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit provides deeper platform integrations with industry-specific tools to enhance a nonprofit’s reach to donors and supporters.

Coming soon to Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit will be an improved user experience, including a new “getting started” page for when a nonprofit first begins their journey into the suite. Nonprofits can access a new marketing insights integration to maximise the potential of the Fundraising and Engagement app, available for free in the basic version. Improvements will also be made to the donation import process for nonprofits, allowing greater insight into their donors and supporters. In addition to those new features, Microsoft has simplified the deployment process for nonprofit organisations and their partners.

Scale your business and impact with Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

Microsoft delved into their sustainability story and the new opportunities it creates for partners as businesses face complex sustainability challenges. Businesses must actively think about how to re-engineer the energy and economic system that has been in place since the Industrial Revolution. This will require new forms of energy and new technologies with a shorter timeline for development and implementation.

Organisations face a complex task and will need to balance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments while continuing to grow business revenue, market share, and shareholder value. In short, we’re all learning we have to transform existing business practices to meet new sustainability imperatives.

Microsoft sees the following areas as key to navigate business sustainability:

  • Understanding differing guidelines and reporting practices — not just globally and regionally, but within industries as well.
  • Mandatory carbon reporting is on the horizon. The challenge for this may involve gaps arising from manual processes for reporting that do not provide timely insights and are not auditable.
  • Siloed data, such as data returning in multiple formats leads to additional complexity when collecting and reporting data.

No single company can solve the challenges of building a sustainable future alone. Companies of all sizes — large and small — will have to work together to tackle what we should see as a growing opportunity.

It’s this attitude of opportunity that had Microsoft investing in building the world’s leading platform to help solve environmental sustainability challenges together with the partner ecosystem. In addition to the Cloud for Sustainability, Microsoft is also releasing Microsoft Sustainability Manager.

Microsoft Sustainability Manager
This solution is built on top of the Cloud for Sustainability in order to unify data intelligence and offer organisations an increasingly automated and comprehensive view into the emissions impact of their operations. The initial launch will focus on carbon emissions, moving to support water and waste tracking in future iterations.

What makes the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability partner opportunity unique is the flexibility of the platform partnered with the features of security, privacy, and compliance built-in to empower partners to quickly and easily build, extend, and connect sustainability solutions. The platform also has the ability to extend to support more ESG capabilities. It’s also able to provide insight tracking for other sustainability solutions powered by the Microsoft Cloud.

Still feeling overwhelmed?

It’s certainly a lot to take in – 240 sessions in 48 hours is a wealth of information! But if there’s something in our summary that you’d like to know more about, reach out to the cloud specialists at Umbrellar. They’re ready to help you take the next steps into the cloud.

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Read our summary of Day One: Microsoft Inspires to do more with less

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