Microsoft Inspire 2018 day two: shared success in ‘the age of partnerships’

Check out our highlights from Microsoft Inspire 2018 day two, as well as some inspiring words from Gavriella Schuster.

Martina Greco
3 MIN|July 26, 2018
Microsoft Inspire 2018 day two

Here’s Fifty Five and Five’s take on day two of Microsoft Inspire 2018 – a memorable day in Las Vegas, bookended by an early morning beatboxing session and an evening under the Eiffel Tower. In between, we enjoyed another busy day at our booth in The Commons and the Corenote session from Microsoft’s Gavriella Shuster.

Beatboxing at 8am

Microsoft Inspire 2018 day two kicked off with a 15-minute set from musician, stand-up and beatboxer, Reggie Watts. Known to many as the band leader from The Late Late Show with James Corden, Reggie added some humour to proceedings with a satirical take on a Corenote speech. This cameo performance went down extremely well with the crowd and set the day up with a great start.

The ‘who’s who’ of Microsoft SLT

Tuesday’s Corenote session was both a comprehensive who’s who of Microsoft’s senior leadership team and a what’s what of Microsoft’s key product areas. The speakers included:

  • Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, Commercial Partner Channels & Programs
  • Jason Zander, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Azure
  • Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365 Marketing
  • Raji Rajagopalan, Partner Software Engineering Manager
  • Alyssa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications and Global Industry
  • Anand Eswaran, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise

Each speaker offered valuable insight into each core area of the Microsoft offering – from Azure to Microsoft 365 to real life demonstrations showing how Microsoft’s technology is revolutionising the capabilities on offer to workers.

Opportunity vs fear

From a partner perspective, the most valuable part of the Corenote was Gavriella Schuster’s session, which outlined the successes of the Partner Network in 2018 and the goals for 2019.

Gavriella began by discussing what she believes to be at the centre of what the Microsoft Partner Network is all about and why it continues to bring about success for all involved:

  • Community
  • Partnership
  • Conversation

Specifically, it’s about driving community and partnership through conversation. This is the key to the shared successes enjoyed not only by Microsoft and partners but also the customers they both have in common. Since last year’s conference, Gavriella is proud to have had over 1,000 conversations with partners.

[Conversations with partners] are my lifeblood, fuel me with energy and inform everything we do.
– Gavriella Schuster

Gavriella then spoke about the enormous opportunity facing the Partner Network, and how this generated a mixture of excitement and fear. Excitement about the opportunity that new digital technology affords and fear about making the most of this opportunity.

The cloud is the modern gold rush

Just how big is the opportunity? Gavriella likened it to the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, saying that the cloud and data are the precious commodities being mined.

With the original gold rush, most fortunes weren’t made from the gold itself. They were made from the communities of businesses that spawned and developed around the gold rush. The businesses and partnerships that were formed in this ecosystem built the fortunes of those who migrated to California at this time. In the same way, it is the partnerships we build around the cloud that offer the best opportunity to businesses working in digital technology today.

A year of success for the Microsoft Partner Network

At Inspire 2017, Gavriella announced major changes to how Microsoft and the Partner Network would work together – including the creation of the One Commercial Partner organization. With a re-focus on three essential foundations:

  • Build-with
  • Go-to-market
  • Sell-with

…the new set up was a big change for partners. Today, Gavriella admitted to being nervous about these changes when making her Corenote session twelve months ago in Washington. However, the success of the last year has blown away all expectations. The numbers don’t lie. In the past fiscal year, Microsoft has:

  • Built 28,000 solutions, services and applications with partners
  • Generated over 3 million leads for partners
  • Jointly developed over 100,000 co-sell opportunities
  • Landed over $5 billion in partner sales

As Gavriella said: “That’s not bad for a first-year start!”

Partners leading the way at Microsoft Inspire 2018 day two

A key theme of Microsoft Inspire 2018 day two was the importance of partnership. It is the unique opportunity afforded by Microsoft Inspire that everyone can come together in one conference hall to celebrate.

Anand Eswaran said in the closing session of the Corenote that this era will be defined as the “age of partnerships”. We couldn’t agree more.

Check back up with us tomorrow where we re-cap the final corenote of Microsoft Inspire 2018, led by CEO Satya Nadella.

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