Top 10 Key Takeaways from Virtual Microsoft Inspire

The Microsoft Inspire FY21 has ended. It was a 2-day event with hundreds of sessions with industry leaders – both from Microsoft and outside Microsoft – talking about the current events in the tech space (e.g. COVID) and the direction ahead for Microsoft. Moreover, this was the first time that Inspire was a digital-only event so, that presented a unique (and fun) way of showcasing the various corenotes and other key sessions. After attending a ton of sessions and connecting with various attendees from all over world, we have compiled our top 10 key takeaways from Microsoft Inspire that will be useful for anyone who missed the event or wants to have a quick recap.

  1. ADVANCED SPECIALIZATIONS – The main priorities for Microsoft for FY21 include partners with Advanced Specializations and promoting their solutions with better SEO in AppSource and Azure Marketplace.
  2. AZURE UPDATE – The next generation of Azure is here. In his core-note address, Satya Nadella focused on Azure Stack HCI, new Azure Migrate features, Azure Lighthouse security enhancements. Moreover, there was a discussion on third-party connectors for Azure Sentinel, Microsoft’s security information and event management offering. Here’s a great article from CRN.
  3. PURPOSE-DRIVEN DIGITAL – Judson Altoff emphasized a lot on the phrase “Purpose-driven Digital” in his keynote address. Purpose-driven Digital is “The art and science of leveraging technology innovation to drive business and societal outcomes for good.”
  4. PRODUCTION PILOTS – Familiar with End-Customer-Investment-Funds (ECIF)? FY21 represents a shift in this program to all new ‘Production Pilots’.
  5. NEUROSCIENCE OF VIRTUAL CONNECTION – One of the must-watch sessions this Inspire was about the “Neuroscience of Virtual Connection”.  This session basically talks about effectively using the digital medium. In a digital experience, time compresses and our attention span maxes at about 30 minutes. We want shorter, more impactful, and cinematic content. 
  6. ISV GROWTH – Both Nick Parker and Casey McGee focused on ISV partner opportunity and growth. Casey shared that “we’ve reinvested in our partner engagement approach, shifting to proactive co-selling with nearly $10 billion in partner revenue last year.” Some important milestones mentioned include 95% of Fortune 500 companies using Azure, 90% of Fortune 500 using Dynamics 365 / Power Platform and 200M active Microsoft 365 commercial users.
  7. DIGITAL MARKETING INSIGHTS – Sarah Muckler-Visser and Wendy Ditmore, shared insights on the power of digital marketing. Did you know that 90% of B2B decision makers won’t respond to cold calls? Or that B2B buyers make an average of 12 searches before actually visiting a brand’s website? Sarah says it’s all “about earning the buyer’s trust with content you create.”
  8. CARBON NEGATIVE BY 2030 – Back in January, Brad Smith announced Microsoft’s commitment to being not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative by 2030. Today, he emphasized the need to act: “[b]efore you can build a big building, you first have to dig a deep hole. We are all in a pretty deep hole. But this is an opportunity not just to rebuild, but to re-imagine the future”. Last year, two of our clients – Enlighten Designs and Sustainable Coastlines – won a “Microsoft AI for Good Grant” and “Cloud for Good” awards. We’re thrilled to see Microsoft continuing their investment on this path – “we can’t empower everyone around the world if we can’t do what it takes to save the world.”
  9. CONNECTION ZONE – Microsoft’s digital networking portal, The Connection Zone, has far exceeded our expectations for virtual networking with each of our team members successfully making new connections and scheduling meetings. This being said, there are quite a few bugs Microsoft needs to sort, including the message total being capped at 20 every 24 hours, even when the messages are in an active conversation and not net new reach-outs. Also, the automated Teams meetings in the meeting scheduler have resulted in several missed connections.
  10. FINAL THOUGHTS – Overall, the virtual experience of Inspire was enjoyable with all the benefits of an in-person event without any travel costs so you can invite other people (whether from your organization or outside) to attend the same session thus giving you and your team ample opportunity to discuss follow-up working sessions and create action items.

When it comes to virtual events, Transcends Marketing Ltd. have extensive experience in supporting our partners. You can read more about our virtual event services here. If you would like to have a one-on-one with us, you can contact us here.

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