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Highlights from
Microsoft
Inspire 2017

From new cloud technologies to an expanding mixed realities program, Microsoft alliance manager, Adam Limoges, gives us the inside scoop from Inspire 2017.

Adam Limoges | July 20, 2017

Last week, 17,000 leaders, partners, and innovators came together for Microsoft’s Inspire conference (previously called the World Partner Conference) in Washington D.C. Twenty of our Slalom leaders attended—from all of Slalom’s service areas—to hear Microsoft’s go-to-market strategies and focuses for fiscal year 2018. Below are highlights from the conference.

Slalom takes home the hardware

On opening day, we were proud to accept the award for the 2017 Global Collaboration and Content Partner of the Year, and to be a finalist in the Business Analytics category. As a Microsoft Gold Partner with over 10 Gold competencies, we’ve delivered over 900 projects for our clients over the past year.

A new cloud era

Big push for One Commercial Partner


In February, Microsoft executive vice president, Judson Althoff, appointed Ron Huddleston as the corporate vice president of One Commercial Partner—Microsoft’s new consolidations of partner groups including systems integrators, ISVs, services providers, and reseller-licensing provider. Potentially the most significant shift Microsoft has made in the past 10 years, this seems to be the start of a new cloud era—an era focused on accelerating a cloud-first approach across customers and partners.

Four solution-area focuses


While Microsoft’s mission statement of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more remains, it elaborated on four main solution areas to drive digital transformation: modern workplace; business applications; apps and infrastructure; and data and AI.

Digital transformation

Specifically, these solution areas relate to various services and processes as follows:

  • Modern workplace: collaboration, modern desktop, security and compliance, and cloud voice
  • Business applications: customer engagement, operations, and business applications
  • Apps & infrastructure: application innovation, cloud infrastructure, and cloud management
  • Data & AI: data platform and analytics

Announcing Microsoft 365


During the conference, Microsoft announced Microsoft 365, a modern workplace offering that brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver secure, simplified business solutions. We’ve helped our clients implement over three million Office 365 users over the years, and we’re looking forward to using this new offering to enable even more businesses and users.

“That evolution from big data and analytics to…cognitive services and true AI capabilities…is what’s going to define this next era.”

– Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

Moving toward the intelligent cloud


Microsoft leaders also elaborated on the company’s Build 2017 announcements from May. Satya emphasized Microsoft’s focus on serverless technology, democratization of AI, and user experiences across multi-device and multi-sense. Microsoft is well on its way to realizing its vision of the next wave of cloud computing.


Azure Stack launch


Other major news from the cloud: Azure Stack is now ready to order. It’s part of a hybrid cloud environment that enables application development on a consistent platform by connecting Azure data centers to on-premises environments. Microsoft also tripled its Azure SQL data warehouse compute scaling power from 6,000 DWU to 18,000 DWU, almost infinitely increasing analytical potential for both businesses and solutions.

Expanding realities

Microsoft announced the expansion of its Mixed Reality program, which includes HoloLens. As a partner currently delivering on HoloLens projects with our clients, this expansion is excellent to hear. We’re continuously asked to bring new and innovative ideas to help our clients differentiate themselves, and our conversations often lead to the digital experience spectrum: virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, and real reality.

Slalom is in the middle of an internal artificial intelligence hackathon, leveraging multiple platforms (including Microsoft Cognitive Services) and harnessing the creativity and passion of our people. Slalom’s four-month AI hackathon has over 150 resources in engineering, design, and product, building 23 concepts across 14 of our delivery centers and local markets. Look for more details in late August.

Next up: Vegas

Thank you to Microsoft and partners for an inspirational 2017 conference. We’ll be back next year for Inspire 2018 in Las Vegas. See you there!

Adam Limoges

Adam Limoges is Slalom’s Microsoft alliance manager. He’s been working closely with Microsoft for the past nine years. Follow him on Twitter.

            

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