I just got back from last week's Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 in Houston, Texas and it was one of the biggest Microsoft events that I have ever had the chance to be part of!
This event is completely dedicated to helping Microsoft Partners improve and grow their Partner Channels and it was just massive! This year's conference gathered more than 14,000 attendees from 150 countries.
Microsoft first started their Partner Program 20 years ago, and it has generated over 650 billion dollars in revenue...That's about 6.5% of growth each year!
The first keynote was presented by Steve Balmer himself. His speech was really interesting from a vision perspective, as he explained how Microsoft is going to help end customers implement the next big trends: Big Data, Cloud, Mobility and Enterprise Social.
- Cloud: The popularity of the cloud has become so well known that almost any company can adopt the public cloud. This can put a lot of pressure on a company to make sure they have a top-of-the-line system with a low cost, cloud infrastructure. He highlighted on how the cloud is significantly contributing to data security and protection. Just to give you a sense on the how big the datacenter is, Balmer said that there are 1 million servers at Microsoft's datacenter. That's smaller than Google but larger than Yahoo!
Azure is, of course, a part of Microsoft's solution to ease the life of end customers by moving their datacenter onto the cloud with high levels of speed and performance.
Sharepoint, Lync and Office 365 are the best products from Microsoft in terms of growth and support. Their strategy is to always provide help to end customers with enterprise solutions by increasing productivity and maintaining high reliability in the cloud.
- Big Data: Big Data is the large and complex data that is now challenging traditional database systems. The main point of data management is to have a scope on data of any type or size. SQL is the one of the major pillars of Microsoft's product strategy, along with other new technologies. For example, Hadoop has emerged to offer customers the opportunity to store and analyze petabytes of unstructured data inexpensively.
- Social: It's the new way of working. Social is all about how companies collaborate on project work at the same, or sometimes different, times. The addition of Yammer to their portfolio now allows real time communication from a productivity point of view.
- Mobility - It has taken a huge stride in the last year with the launch of Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows devices are now available, such as small Windows tablets that are almost like a "two in one" pc and tablet.
Beautiful and productive for customers, both Active Directory and Windows are still central focuses on Microsoft's products.
Microsoft always has a compelling proposition for Enterprise business, even if they are still pushing hard on the consumer side. The move to the cloud is going to change the IT industry completely. Therefore, the main challenge for Microsoft is how they can go from being known as a software company to a device and services company - all while finding a new way of delivering strong value to businesses with their products.
The main goal for Microsoft: help the end customer to get their job done whether they are an employee, training partner, developer, IT Partner focusing on analysis, conducting virtual meetings or ensuring the integrity of corporate information.
They always try to mix Serious Fun with Serious Business by putting the end customers in the center of the mix...