Microsoft Partner Days: Data & AI and Applications & Infrastructure

Today marked the start of our third and final Microsoft Partner Days event for the year, with hundreds of partners once more joining us at Twickenham stadium for a day of insights, updates and networking.

The sessions for today focussed on two of our core solution areas: Data & AI and Application & Infrastructure, with a jam-packed agenda of solution aligned sessions, hands on labs and opportunities to connect with the UK partner ecosystem.

I joined the opening keynote to get a rundown of the day and hear the latest updates from Microsoft leaders.

The UK One Commercial Partner ambition

Joe Macri, VP One Commercial Partner UK opened the event by running through the aims of OCP:

1) Empower our partner ecosystem to grow their business

2) Leverage Intelligent Cloud & Intelligent Edge to create new markets

3) Transform our partner ecosystem to deliver customer lifetime value

Fuelled by the work we do together with our partners, we have had incredible year-on-year growth with Azure consumption. Customer acquisition is critical, and despite some beliefs in the market, Infrastructure-as-a-Service remains a huge opportunity.

Collaboration is key

With the objective of today's event very much on setting our joint businesses up for a successful new fiscal year, collaboration was a core theme throughout the keynote.

"Scale is not possible without our partners" - a key quote from Sue Preston, Director, Solution Sales, who ran through how we engage and collaborate with our joint customers. And that is why we have trained over 20,000 people in a new way of selling, to drive real value and focus on customer outcomes.

"Success is innovating and challenging both ourselves and our customers to deliver vertical solutions with defined business outcomes."

Engaging with the mainstream

Jointly with our partners, we have migrated a vast number of customer datacentres to the cloud. But migration isn't just about infrastructure - applications also need to be considered as part of this migration, and the 5 R's model outlines the number of options to do this:

1) Re-host: this is by far the easiest option.

2) Refactor: When we think about apps, there is a definite place for migration and rehosting, but the opportunity really exists in app modernisation and innovation.

3) Rearchitect: this enables us to modernise through embedding innovative intel such as AI, and provide the opportunity to deliver real value.

4) Rebuild: leveraging our Azure Platform-as-a-Service capability and using serverless tech to build apps without worrying about the infrastructure.

5) SAS model - effectively, replace.

Across these models we see a huge opportunity for Microsoft and our partners to advise and enable customers to build out innovative and creative platforms.

The importance of a 'Hack Culture'

With the engagement level moving more towards the development teams, Anna Fear, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, discussed the importance of creating a 'hack culture', that drives conversations through tech led demos and code.

With the word 'hack' getting thrown around a lot within the industry, what we mean here is the ability to connect our Microsoft and our partner devs teams in an informal and agile environment; that allows each side to bring new and innovative ideas to the surface. Within Microsoft we are investing in developing resources, with developer advocates within the teams and as an online resource to support our partners and drive innovation within this space.

AI is the new normal for Microsoft

"As an organisation we are hugely passionate about using AI for good in our society" , Sophie Richardson, Customer Success Lead - Data & AI.

At Microsoft we have spent the last 25 years learning, failing and reviewing as we develop break-through and innovative AI solutions.

But what does this mean for you as a Microsoft partner?

1) We believe we have the no1 platform for AI.

2) We have great development toolsets that enable our partners to build from the ground up in AI.

3) All of the above sits on world leading infrastructure.

Stronger together = No 1 in AI

AI is being imbedded into all our products to guide users and deliver an outstanding customer experience. By bringing together the AI & research group across the business to drive a single strategy and ensure cross-product innovation, running regular AI partner training sessions, and by providing free online resources, we are making huge investments to help support your projects and drive your customer transformations.

Thanks to all our sponsors for their support with the event, looking forward to another day back in Twickenham tomorrow, focussing on Modern Workplace, devices and Business Applications.

Hope to see you there!