Highlights from Inspire 2018: Invest in people and skills - our greatest assets

By Joe Macri, VP of Commercial Partner, Microsoft UK

'We are lucky to be in the tech industry', these are Satya Nadella's words from his Corenote at Inspire and Ready 2018 and I truly believe it is one of the most exciting times to be in this industry and be a Microsoft partner. We are empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more and it is with our partners that we make more happen. With every step we take on this journey we must task ourselves to ensure technology is used responsibly and ethically to make the world a better place.

We have an amazing opportunity to work together to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in this world such as climate change, energy and education. The ethics and principals we hold ourselves accountable for was a significant theme throughout Inspire 2018 and are fundamental factors I encourage each partner to embed in all practices including AI.

During our UK Regional Session I was joined on stage by Kainos, winners of our 2018 UK Country Partner of the Year award, where we talked about their journey and specifically the value and investment they placed on their people and skills from day one as an organisation. In the same session Cindy Rose (Area Vice President - Microsoft UK) announced our Partner Pledge, asking each of our UK partners to actively support the critical development of young people by joining our efforts to create more apprenticeship opportunities and increase the digital skills required for the fourth industrial revolution.

Another highlight of the week was the Women in Technology (WiT) charity lunch organised by Julie Simpson of ResourceiT and the IAMCP. It was fantastic to see such active engagement of over 1000 women and men at this event with the support of our Microsoft leadership team including Cindy Rose, Gavriella Schuster, Julia White, Jean-Philippe Courtois, Kathleen Hogan and Satya Nadella. Microsoft and WiT sponsors from the channel are taking responsibility to increase diversity of talent in the technology industry and the time invested by all clearly demonstrates our combined commitment to diversifying our teams and valuing the breadth of skills this brings. In order to continue building strength in our people for generations to come, I encourage each of you to take time to support the engagement of girls into STEM subjects. Sharing the exciting opportunities this could lead to and the impact they can drive as a result will help to inspire them to study and pursue STEM careers. DigiGirlz, our YouthSpark program, gives school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. By sharing this program with your colleagues, friends and local schools you will help us to ensure every child is able to pursue their ambitions with support and encouragement.

If you would like to show your commitment to our shared vision of responsible and ethical AI, digital skills, apprenticeships and diversity, or find out more about the Partner Pledge, please visit the website to pledge your support. My thanks to all our partners already working with us to develop our next generation and invest in employees, whilst empowering everyone to achieve more with strong values and unwavering ambition.

To hear more of the key messages from Inspire 2018, you can review the sessions on demand and for highlights from the event, visit the Microsoft Inspire news gallery to read the daily Inspire blogs.