Here are some things that I thought were noteworthy from Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2015 in Orlando this week. Keep reading even if you don’t work for a Microsoft partner, because this stuff affects anyone working in the Microsoft world.
These may be paraphrases because I wasn’t taking precise notes.
“Cortana is everyone’s assistant”
Not it’s not, when on the phone (the most mature version) it’s only supported in 10 countries. You can make it work internationally by screwing up your regional settings. This is what we call The Curse of Zune.
“I love my iPhone”
The Microsoft employee that said this live on a keynote stage was summarily executed backstage. Holy crap on a cracker!
“Cortana Analytics ….. <Snores>”
See The Curse of Zune. I’ll care when Cortana is relevant.
“Cortana Analytics will help businesses all over the planet”
Uh, no. It’ll help the USA at first, and then a max of 10 countries. Don’t believe me? Check out … I dunno … history.
Apparently, this is why 12,000+ Microsoft partners flew to Orlando this week, according to Terry Myerson. Strange, because Sea Otters are native to the Pacific coast.
“Laissez le bon Windows rollez”
My reaction to Bryan Roper’s Windows 10 demo. OK, he’s Cuban-American and not cajun, but that’s what I thought (and tweeted) at the time. Best demo of Windows 10 I’ve seen yet, and LOVED the energy. The hat beats the hair, easily. We need more Roper in keynotes.
“Microsoft to expand its Surface distributor count from a couple hundred to a few thousand worldwide”
This is huge news. It means nothing to most people, but for the last 3 years my employers have said “sorry, we can’t sell that” over and over and over. To finally open the sluice gates through the channel to business, Microsoft’s new $1 billion business could double or treble in a year.
Seriously, Microsoft, trim those keynotes down to 2 hours. Down … to … two … hours. Oh my!
“Soon you will see premium Microsoft phones designed for Windows 10”
Nice timing – I’m due an upgrade from my provider. Me wanty Continuum.
“CSP program to include Azure, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and CRM Online, in addition to Office 365”
Again, means nothing to most of you, but this opens up a joint syndication channel to end customers via the channel. It’ll simplify purchasing, and force big changes in the channel too.
“New sync engine coming to OneDrive for Business”
This is badly needed. Two reasons I hear from partners that use DropBox with customers instead:
- Constantly failing sync that is costly to repair
- Problems with file path limitations
“There will be 5 more
#Azure regions opening in the next few months”
Wowzas! South Korea is rumoured, though Finland was too. India is to come online with 2 regions before the end of this year. Canada is getting two in 2016 (Toronto and Quebec City).
“Microsoft cloud partner competencies shifting to adoption instead of sales”
Competencies are the incentive-based expertises that partners must qualify to achieve. One measure has been amount of associated licensing sold to the partner’s customers. This is changing, as it it internally with Microsoft’s sales people, from monetary value to adoption. This is to counter “shadow sales” of cloud services that are more like sneaky discounted inclusions in volume licensing deals rather than requested purchases.
“WPC 2016 will be in Toronto”
Start camping out for your sessions now. The reviews that I heard of of the last WPC in Toronto were horrific – big crowds, tiny rooms, and few people able to attend sessions.
“You’ve got to have technical people dedicated to keeping up with Azure”
Keeping up is my job. It’s impossible for one person to keep up. Either have a team of subject matter experts that have time allocated to do this, or get serious about attending regular tech updates. And this isn’t just Azure, it’s EVERYTHING Microsoft from 2 years ago onwards.
“We’ve got to become more technical”
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner told this to partner sales people, account managers, owners and Microsoft subsidiaries, many of which have drained away technical roles over the last 5 years. Fact is, folks, Azure is a technical sale. No solution design, no pricing, no sale. Please move on.
“Continuum is my favourite feature of Windows 10”
Satya Nadella agrees with me. If Continuum-capable flagship Windows phones can be put into the hands of enterprise users with Office 365, then we have a game changer. But Microsoft needs to fix the channel. Their fascination with telecoms companies ha crippled the phone. Even Apple is selling unlocked phones via distribution now.