Comms-care Blog

What happens in Vegas: Microsoft Inspire 2018

by Rob Darby

July 31, 2018

Returning back to the office after an exciting week in Las Vegas, Rob Darby, Commercial Director at Comms-care, shares his key takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2018.

When an event is held in Las Vegas, you know it’s going to be a great one. I recently attended Microsoft Inspire 2018, Microsoft’s annual partner conference with Simon Day, our Professional Services Director. Held this year in Las Vegas, Nevada, Inspire is one of the key events on the calendar for the industry, bringing together partners from over 132 countries for a week of networking, learning and fun.

We arrived in Vegas on Sunday for the pre-event UK Partners’ welcome session held outside by the pool at the iconic Bellagio hotel – and in 40 degree heat, you can imagine how glad we were to be handed venetian-style fans! We caught up with a few of our partners over drinks, and headed off to SkyKick’s evening party for our first taste of Vegas!

Day One – ready to be Inspired

On the opening day of the conference, Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President and Commercial Partner Channels & Programs, Microsoft, kicked things off at the T-Mobile Arena with the first “Corenote” (what Microsoft calls Keynote speeches), where thousands of Microsoft partners had gathered. Schuster shared a number of thought-provoking case studies demonstrating the extraordinary potential of IoT and AI.

Our afternoon was filled with valuable sessions and workshops at the buzzing Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, where the main exhibition was hosted. Ingram Micro’s stand was impressive – and hard to miss as one of the biggest there! Then we met with a few of our partners, before enjoying a brilliant evening at Ingram Micro’s event at The Cosmopolitan.

Day Two – shared success

After a packed first day, we reconvened at the T-Mobile Arena for the day two Corenotes. Gavriella Schuster announced new opportunities for partners to co-sell with Microsoft. We also heard from Jason Zander, Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Azure Team in the Cloud and AI Group, and Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft 365, about further initiatives that will help partners deliver unique and differentiated value to customers.

Following a productive afternoon of partner meetings, we headed to ‘The City of Light’ (the Vegas version!), for the Microsoft UK Partners’ party at the Paris hotel under the Eiffel Tower. Joined by all Microsoft UK employees, we watched a fantastic band from Atlanta perform. But, I must confess – I wanted to be totally switched on for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Corenote the next day, so it was an early night for me!

Day Three – the intelligent future

For the first time, they had combined Microsoft Inspire with Microsoft Ready –the annual Microsoft sales, marketing, and technical fiscal kick-off – to provide new opportunities for partners and field teams to connect. Events overlapped on day three, and everyone was eager to get into Satya’s Corenote – I was right to expect long queues!

Welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation from the crowd, Satya delivered the concluding Corenote, centred on empathy and making the world a better place through working together and empowerment. My main takeaway was that, with the huge breakthroughs we’ve already made and the capabilities we have at our fingertips, we are just at the beginning of the opportunity to transform the world. And what’s more, anyone with this desire and determination can work in IT today. This definitely rang true for a Heathrow Airport employee. Nadella shared a case study, where a security officer wanted to alleviate the burden of paper work – and so he did. Using Microsoft tools, he built an app that was rolled out across the airport, saving thousands of hours of manual input and transforming Heathrow Airport into a digital workplace … now he works in the IT team!

The final day concluded with the UK Partners’ session at the ARIA Hotel. It ended with a very moving and poignant speech, which resounded Nadella’s message, that anyone can use technology to transform lives, whatever the desired outcome may be.

Ending the event on a high, we were lucky enough to watch Bruno Mars perform at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway! I left certainly feeling inspired – there are so many possibilities waiting to be explored, and I’m excited to see us unlock the potential.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Comms-care offers expertise across a range of technical areas to meet channel partners’ service requirements. Our Professional Services include proven design, deployment, migration and support capabilities across four core technical pillars: Enterprise Platform; Modern Workplace; Enterprise Identity and Endpoint; and Enterprise Collaboration. If you would like to find out more about how we can support IT resellers, please get in touch.