Microsoft Inspire Recap: Inspiring the Future of IT
Over the past few years, Microsoft has been touting the features and capabilities of Office 365, Azure, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Each product has transformed how businesses operate and has contributed to collaboration, security, and innovation. At Microsoft Inspire 2017, the annual Microsoft partner conference, the messaging was clear.
While businesses need these technologies, IT needs to stop managing them and innovate with the business.
This conference used to be named WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference), but has been renamed this year to Inspire. While the name seems like a simple marketing rebrand, there is more going on. To be a successful partner to customers, Microsoft needs to invest in solutions that make customers successful.
There are still products, after all Microsoft is a cloud and software company, but the story has shifted to what you will do with the technology to impact your business, not just run your business.
The Proof is in the Sales Realignment
The biggest news at Microsoft Inspire was the Microsoft Sales Realignment. While this seems like it might be something with little value to customers, the ramifications are actually massive, but maybe not how you think.
Underpinning this change is a new driver that Microsoft realizes they need to succeed – namely, your success. When Office 365 and Azure were first released, the story was around moving IT out of the hardware and software management business. This is the most obvious benefit of cloud services, but it doesn’t necessarily provide the most value.
As customers moved, something amazing happened. The business started leveraging the cloud to do things that were out of their reach before. Business solutions were built to engage with customers and new revenue streams were developed. The most successful customers have already figured this out – the cloud is the great equalizer, allowing any customer to take advantage of nearly endless computing power and solutions.
Microsoft’s sales realignment shows a renewed focus on this potential, but customers must be willing to see it. Arraya can help you understand the changes to align IT with the business, helping you develop new ways to be successful.
Those that value technology as a business driver and not as a cost center will succeed, disrupt their industries and business and achieve more.
Azure Stack Up for Pre-order!
While Azure is a powerful cloud platform, not all workloads or use cases match a cloud only operating model. In 2015, Microsoft announced Azure Stack to meet this emerging customer need and promised they would be a leader in hybrid cloud. Arraya has been following this story closely as it spans multiple vendors we partner with.
At Inspire, Microsoft announced that Azure Stack pre-orders are now available. Arraya can help you understand and deploy Azure Stack, but let’s review what the use cases are and see how it augments the story of focusing IT on innovation.
Azure Stack is hardware with the same bits that are running in Azure. The hardware is managed by the vendor and the software is managed by a partner, like Arraya. This is a recurring monthly cost model, with the software paid for as you use it.
Azure Stack gives both developers and IT a layer of consistency between on-premises and cloud based workloads. The management and development plane are the same, meaning it doesn’t matter if it is Azure or Azure Stack, the experience and capabilities are aligned.
This translates into flexibility in deciding where you want your workloads to run. If you have regulatory or compliance requirements that are easier met on-premises, you can put that application locally on Azure Stack.
While Microsoft has the largest geographically dispersed cloud, Azure doesn’t exist in every market. Azure Stack can provide customers with an option to drop Azure on-site where they need it, lowering latency. In fact, Carnival Cruise Lines has been testing out Azure Stack on their ships. They can develop solutions for Azure and deploy them at scale across their fleet.
The last major announcement is targeted at customers looking to simplify their licensing models, but still hits at the heart of the messaging – getting IT onto more interesting things. Microsoft 365 is a single per user/per month cost for your employees’ desktops, collaboration stack and security.
Not only is Microsoft providing a single per use/per month license, but they are allowing partners, like Arraya Solutions, to layer on the management in a single cost. This means that you can completely get your IT out of supporting these commodity services and on to innovating business solutions (see the sales reorganization above).
Businesses can now truly understand easily what each employee’s cost to their business is, from salary to healthcare and retirement and now ongoing IT support and software costs.
Where Arraya Fits
As businesses demand more from technology, IT is becoming more and more critical. IT is poised to get out of firefighting mode and onto more innovative things that help deliver business value. Arraya can help you navigate the options out there and show how new models can help drive your business to success.
To learn more about these and other developments from Microsoft Inspire, contact out Microsoft team at https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/. We can also be reached through social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.