Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is the event that partners attend to better understand the often complicated interconnected business strategies of the various Microsoft product groups and the company’s operating divisions. However, the big question, as always, is whether the Microsoft ecosystem is still the place to be if you want to build a thriving IT business.
Microsoft sets out its stall for the year ahead and engages with its most important partners
WPC is arguably Microsoft’s most important event of the year, because it establishes the opportunities and expectations of the partner community. WPC is also an important networking and business development event, because it enables partners to find the connections they need to generate new business opportunities. Subject matter experts are also in attendance, sharing their wisdom and best practice through workshops and cases studies. And the Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience provides delegates with valuable insights and hands-on experience of how Microsoft’s offerings, combined with products and services from its partners, can deliver real-world value to business customers.
Services companies, independent software vendors, and systems integrators accounted for the lion’s share of delegates attending WPC, and more than 170 partners, exhibitors, and sponsors participated in the event’s showcase. Dell, HP, Ingram Micro (the world’s largest distributor of computer and technology products), and Nintex (workflow automation) were this year’s top-tier sponsors, with Brocade, Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, Rackspace, and IBM Softlayer also prominent. The participation of these companies at this event serves to illustrate and underline the importance of cloud and enterprise IT infrastructure vendors to the Microsoft ecosystem.
Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more was eloquently articulated by Satya Nadella, and he explained the significant role that partners play in accomplishing this. Now in full control of the business, Nadella believes that the transformation of individuals, organizations, and it must be said, Microsoft itself, starts with the reinvention of productivity and business process, leading to an era of greater intelligence through cloud-powered analytics and machine learning.
For partners, this means building their offerings on three primary platforms: Windows (desktop, devices that are mobile, and Internet of Things), Office 365 (Office, Skype for Business, SharePoint, Power BI, and so on) and Azure. So while this isn’t your “father’s Microsoft”, each of these platforms offers an array of opportunities and directions to provide services and product-based value-add. And so yes, the Microsoft ecosystem is clearly one of the places to be if you want to build a thriving IT business.
Analysis of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, IT0021-000099 (July 2015)
Richard Edwards, Principal Research Analyst, Enterprise Mobility & Productivity