Review of Microsoft New Zealand Partner Connect 2016
By Lucy Farrington, Marketing Manager
So that’s what a Microsoft Partner Connect Conference is all about? The following write up is a summary of the presentations I attended.
NZ Partner Connect, now in its third year, is promoted as the largest Microsoft NZ partner event and its goals are “to foster partnership, to stimulate innovative ideas, and to create a collaborative environment where you can network, explore your business strategies, and engage in highly productive discussions with like-minded people.”
As a non-technical marketing person who would probably have felt overwhelmed if I'd attended the recent Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016 conference, I was excited to be able to attend this conference that promised less of a focus on ‘techie’ content, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience as both a networking and informative occasion.
The core topics of the conference themed ‘How to drive game-changing transformation’, included:
- The Digital Revolution and Business Transformation
- The Modern Microsoft Partner: Building a Profitable Cloud Business with Microsoft
- Microsoft’s three bold ambitions: Create More Personal Computing; Reinvent Productivity and Business Processes; Build the Intelligent Cloud
- The power of partnering with other IT providers to meet customer needs while carving out a differentiated niche for your business
- Making the most of your partnership with Microsoft and taking advantage of the benefits available to help build your business
The agenda included a mix of blend of external and internal Microsoft speakers, from NZ and overseas. A welcome note was delivered by Jared Pedersen, Partner Business and Development Manager, Microsoft New Zealand in which he highlighted how the greater cloud market is forecasted by IDC to be $500B by 2020 and almost 80% of businesses are deploying or fully embracing cloud technology today. Great news for Cloud Services Providers such as Lucidity.
The conference was headlined by Jonathan MacDonald, professional speaker, author, advisor and owner of The Thought Expansion Network, who advised the channel on how to “drive game-changing transformation in an age of perpetual change”. All presenters were of great calibre, but I rate Jonathan’s as 10/10 for being the most engaging and entertaining, with excellent examples to illustrate ROI (Risk of Inaction), the need for radical innovation and importance of staff engagement.
In addition, Managing Director, Dr. Harold Hillman of Sigmoid Curve Consulting Group delivered a thought provoking keynote on the topic of “Being your Authentic Self”, drawing on his books ‘The Impostor Syndrome’ and ‘Fitting In Standing Out’, and his career in the US Military.
Travis Barket, Co-Founder of Stellar Consulting Group delivered a moving presentation on his organisation’s work with Microsoft to grow awareness of child abuse, as part of the initiative, ‘A Cloud for Global Good’.
A host of Microsoft speakers provided insight into utilising the benefits of cloud, while developing strategic business models for ongoing success in the channel. Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President of the Worldwide Partner Group offered advice on how Microsoft Partner Program Members can differentiate, modernise and optimise their operations to deliver customer lifetime value.
Brad Larsen, Director Product Marketing, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group outlined what learning and support Microsoft can offer partners such as the Partner University and Learning Paths.
The business group leads for Windows and Devices Group, Cloud and Enterprise Group, and Applications and Services Group, briefly outlined the initiatives and new developments for partners to be aware of in each of these key product areas.
We also heard a lot of buzz around Azure and sessions were delivered on how we can leverage Azure solutions to our customers as part of Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Another session demonstrated how we can help our customers evolve their businesses to best capitalise on the data and analytics capabilities of the fast-growing Power BI solutions.
Finally, Chris Auld, Chief Technology Officer at Empired, demonstrated examples of how New Zealand businesses have embraced the Internet of Things and created new services.
As appropriate, I took the opportunity to enjoy networking and drinks at the end of the day and reflect with everyone on what a great conference it was and my acquired ‘game-changing’ learnings on how we can maximise our relationship with Microsoft as both a CSP program member and Gold Partner, for the benefit of our customers.