5 Takeaways from the Microsoft World Partner Conference 2016

By Ryan Barton | August 12, 2016

Microsoft World Partner Conference 2016

Two of our team members attended Microsoft’s annual World Partner Conference last month.  This year it was held in Toronto Canada and featured an impressive list of speakers (plus, Gwen Stefani! Because, you know… thousands of geeks in one room need a good pop show).

As Microsoft goes, so goes the world. Microsoft products power small businesses around the globe, and Microsoft’s focuses dramatically impact us all. Overall, we are impressed with Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) and the ever-evolving vision for the company.  For those interested, you can watch the keynotes here.

5 takeaways from Microsoft WPC you should know about:

1. Azure, Azure, Azure.

Microsoft continues to invest heavily in Azure, its cloud offering. Microsoft is clearly gunning for Amazon Web Services and Google, attempting to establish itself as the premier provider of cloud services.  As Azure users ourselves, we can attest to how far it has come and how flexible, powerful, and reliable it is.  From app hosting to entire infrastructure hosting, Azure is fast becoming the cloud solution for small and mid-sized businesses.

2. More Microsoft software moving to subscription based.

Office 365 users are already familiar with the concept of Microsoft software and service as a monthly cost.  O365 plans provide for not just email, but also for the full Microsoft Office suite at a low monthly cost, ensuring staff always have the latest version and turning capital costs to operational costs.  Microsoft is clearly pushing more and more of its software this direction – announcing at WPC that Windows 10 is now available on a subscription basis. Windows 10 subscription is currently only a fit for specific use cases, but expect to see more of the software you buy turned into a monthly charge over time.

3. Office 365 evolves – security, communication, and more.

Microsoft is continuing to add security layers to its Office 365 offering, with advanced threat protection on email, mobile device management, outbound encryption, and more, available as add-ons to the O365 suite.  It all reinforces the power of Office 365 and the great number of organizations it suits.

4. Power BI is legit.

Power BI is an enterprise-grade business intelligence system, available to small businesses.  It is free with certain restrictions, and only ~$10 per month per user for the pro version.  It quickly ties into spreadsheets and databases and visually represents data, with a high degree of customization and granular control.  It can tie into SharePoint and is an extremely versatile tool. Microsoft showed off some great looking dashboards and use cases – it’s all about giving managers and decision makers the data they need, in the format they need, to make the best decisions.

5. Augmented reality will be better than you think.

The use cases for hololens are extremely exciting. This device is real, and it will not just impact gaming and entertainment.  Augmented reality will fundamentally change business and how it operates.  Imagine working on a car, and being able to pull up a virtual engine next to the real one, pull it apart, zoom in, and see exactly how it is built.  Or interact with remote workers as if they were actually in front of you. Or explore Mars, in your office (worth watching the video on the hololens site). It’s coming!

…And of course, Server 2016 is on the way, SQL 2016 is out, the Surface is improving, there are a host of new 3rd party products that tie into the Microsoft suite, and much more.

Mainstay is already a Microsoft Certified Partner with multiple competencies and a Cloud Solution Provider with Microsoft.  This fall, we are gaining additional certifications and competencies (specifically in the cloud) as our goal is to be at the forefront of our industry and leverage our relationship with Microsoft as well as we can for the benefit of our clients.

To find out more about any of these technologies or to talk about what working with a Microsoft Certified Partner looks like, please give us a call at 603.524.4774!

An excellent conference, and exciting times ahead for Microsoft partners like Mainstay, and our clients.

Onward and upward!

– Ryan Barton, CEO of Mainstay Technologies

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