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Microsoft Inspire 2017 partner conference: Key themes and impacts to customers

Microsoft | Posted on July 27, 2017 by Luke Black

Microsoft’s partner conference, now called Inspire, wrapped up July 14th.  Here are five key takeaways that customers should evaluate with the support of their Microsoft partner:

Microsoft 365

Microsoft unveiled a new bundled offering that brings together Office 365 along with Windows 10, device management and security. There are two versions — Microsoft 365 Enterprise for large organizations (rebranding of Secure Productive Enterprise), and Microsoft 365 Business for small and midsize businesses.  At first blush, this may just seem like Microsoft re-bundling products again, but it is also true that Microsoft 365 should be evaluated as an important evolution because of the progress made to manage three products as a complete solution.

Microsoft is changing how they manage customers

With this reorganization, there is a high probability that you will be working with either a partially or completely new Microsoft team.  Microsoft also wants to better understand your industry vertical and make sure that the conversations that the Microsoft account teams are having with you are more relevant.  Understanding if your Microsoft Account Team has changed and if so, getting introduced quickly will be what many of our Microsoft Specialists will be assisting with in the coming weeks.

Microsoft Account Managers will be more focused on consumption

Microsoft Account Managers will now be more focused on helping customers consume Cloud technology…not just making a monetary commitment.  What this means is that your Microsoft team will be much more motivated to ensure that you as a customer have a fully developed plan for implementing and using Azure and Office 365. We were very pleased to hear this at Softchoice since business and technology planning for cloud adoption is at the core of our Microsoft practice.

Azure Stack

Microsoft announced that Azure Stack, the company’s hybrid cloud platform, is available for ordering from initial hardware partners HPE, Dell EMC and Lenovo. Azure Stack enables hybrid application development and provides a consistent platform for connecting from Azure data centers to the edge.  Softchoice has been gaining much engineering and operations experience with Azure Stack from the start since so many of our customers are (or looking to) run in a hybrid environment before expanding a commitment to Azure.

Solutions built on Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)

The CSP program that Microsoft has had in the market for a couple years is maturing as the lead platform for partners to develop compelling & differentiated offerings for Microsoft Cloud services.  Softchoice currently has two solutions leveraging the CSP platform for Office 365.  Our solutions for Azure are coming in late Summer.  The CSP platform will continue to iterate and include the ability to license on-prem solutions as well as Cloud in the near future.


Shortly after Inspire, Microsoft announced on Thursday, July, 20th that Azure revenue growth was up 98% in constant currency.  This reflects the critical leaps in adoption of public cloud to run and transform businesses of all kinds. While many of our customers are still unsure how to plan their public cloud journey, Softchoice is excited to be working with them to identify the ideal outcomes and transition plan to get there, before their competition has leapt ahead.

If you would like to find out more information about these takeaways and how they may impact your organization, give your dedicated Softchoice Account Manager or Microsoft Specialist at Softchoice a call.  If you don’t know who that is, feel free to ping me and I’ll be more than happy to help.

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