It’s been a very busy month, from wrapping up Q2 2015 business to attending two weeks of important Microsoft shows in Orlando, Florida. Last week we sent a strong team of individuals to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando to attend the 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).
We had many great meetings with Microsoft executives, field teams, and our own partners about how we can continue to work together to win in this new age of productivity and collaboration. Looking back on the week, I want to share with you the five most important lessons I learned from attending the Microsoft keynotes, WPC sessions, and meetings with Microsoft and our partners:
Microsoft is back! I’ve been to six Worldwide Partner Conferences, and it became evident to me as soon as I set foot into the conference center that there is a renewed swagger at Microsoft. The conference was abuzz with the company’s major push to innovate in productivity and business processes through an intelligent, cross-platform approach to cloud, hybrid, and devices. It’s no longer about hunkering down on its legacy of Windows desktop installations: The enthusiasm about really going after the cutting edge of technology and software trends was palpable among everyone from Microsoft – and by extension, the partner ecosystem. As an organization dedicated to Microsoft technologies for the last 14 years, this sentiment reaffirmed our decision to be a leading member of this partner ecosystem. Microsoft is truly focused on audacious goals and innovation once again.
AvePoint is in prime position to partner with Microsoft on CEO Satya Nadella’s first major aspiration of reinventing productivity and business process. In the opening keynote on Monday, Satya Nadella clearly explained where Microsoft is focused on productivity: Communications, Meetings & Collaboration, Content Creation, File Share & Content Management, and Business Apps. This matches our vision around improved information management from cradle to grave – a revitalized enterprise collaboration story we’ve been evangelizing with our customers and partners for some time now. Tying back into my first key lesson, I’m excited by the new investments in the Cortana Analytics Suite – a fully managed big data and analytics suite meant to help you take your data and transform it into actions that drive your business. There are tons of possibilities for how we can leverage those enhanced capabilities for our cloud offering today.
Microsoft still values SharePoint as the fabric of its productivity strategy. Of course, what made my day was Julia White’s proclamation of “SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint!” A big statement from the GM of Product Marketing for Office. There has been a lot of question as to Microsoft’s commitment to the platform, but the company has taken great pains to reaffirm SharePoint’s rightful place in its overall collaboration strategy. The story of enterprise productivity and collaboration is truly a hybrid one, where enterprises want to access information on the go but still have the flexibility and robustness of control and governance. Microsoft is committed to this hybrid story, and by extension we will continue to invest in building out our hybrid capabilities even more for managing information across data silos to enable better collaboration and productivity.
Our trusted advisor approach with Microsoft and our partners is working. As a Microsoft Partner of the Year for the second consecutive year, this time for Collaboration & Content, not only did I have the honor to meet Satya again, I also reaffirmed that our focus on execution resonates with Microsoft executives and partners alike. We are known for our ability to execute, and that goes much further than dishing out the latest soundbite with little action to back it up.
Microsoft is on the attack in a way we haven’t seen in recent years. I thoroughly enjoyed Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner’s talk on Microsoft’s FY 2016 attack plan for hitting a $20 billion annualized cloud run rate by FY 2018. Microsoft knows that the partner ecosystem, today contributing to 92 percent of the company’s revenue, is vital to this push. To that end, Microsoft continues to increase incentives year over year to help partners like ourselves drive the future of productivity and collaboration. We’ve already seen an uptick in our cloud business, and having Microsoft’s close partnership and assistance will only help us to expand our business further.
At the conclusion of Kevin Turner’s keynote address last week, he said, “… if you change the way you see the world, you change the world you see.” We live in a day and age where it’s not so much about the technology hardware you use or even the sheer amount of information available. It’s about taking that information, finding the context, and routing it to the appropriate people quickly and seamlessly so they can take action and drive business forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a Microsoft Lumia, Apple iPad, Google Chromebook, or HP desktop – information is where the key to innovation lies. That’s the future of productivity and collaboration – and it’s vital to leading in today’s disruptive information economy. AvePoint is better positioned than ever to work with Microsoft to make this aspiration a reality.