An Inside View of Microsoft’s Australian Partner Conference

The Microsoft’s Australian Partner Conference is the event of the year for the local partner ecosystem. Microsoft has partners all over the world, yet seven of the 30 that were awarded the Global Microsoft Partner Award were Australian partners. This year’s Microsoft’s Australian Partner Conference rewarded 26 Australian partners, many being small to medium-size organisations. It is fair to say that the APAC region matters to Microsoft, and the partner ecosystem is healthy.

This year’s theme was “Define your future” and a lot of the presentations focused on equipping partners with the tools needed to build great, job-creating businesses and a strong customer base.

Microsoft clearly wants to attract and keep the best partners. Its commitment to a cloud-based platform and a connected world is clear with Office 365®, Dynamics™ 365, Azure®, Power BI, PowerApps™ and Flow as well as the number of new data centres frequently opening and of course, Microsoft’s first flagship retail store outside of the US, which opened in Sydney in November 2015.

The following are some IDC facts and figures that might be of interest:

  • The role of CIOs is evolving. Few are now considered “Chief Innovation Officers” and “more than half are expected to fill this role by 2018. IT departments are shifting their focus from managing costs and risk to revenue growth and business transformation.”
  • “By 2020, 60% of Global 2000 companies will double their productivity by digitally transforming business processes from human-based to software-based delivery.”
  • “By 2020, buyer-behaviour analytics will validate 80% of all digital transactions and reduce password requirements by 50%.”
  • “The average selling price of an industrial robot will be one fifth of what it is today, but have five times the capability!”
  • We should also expect at least 20 sensors in our homes over the next 20 months as the Internet of Things (IoT) increases its acceptance and presence.

As the Trekkies amongst us celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, Gene Roddenberry would be proud to see the first generation of his universal translator in Skype Translator.

In this year’s opening keynote, Pip Marlow, Microsoft Australia Managing Director, set the scene for the 1,300 partners who were present by saying, “The time is right to put ourselves at the centre of the conversation with our customers about digital transformation.”

Innovation, customer experience and particularly customer lifetime value were at the heart of many presentations, and we were told to “disrupt yourself”.

Microsoft is clearly well positioned to provide a solid, cloud-based platform and spectrum of applications and technology, but the key to its strength is evidently in its partner ecosystem.