This year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) had it all. The conference included everything from virtual and augmented reality demonstrations to an exclusive concert by Gwen Stefani. And that’s before we even get into the jam-packed schedule, filled with exciting keynote speakers and educational sessions.
Attended by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals in the industry, you’re guaranteed to come away with unique and invaluable insights, and WPC didn’t disappoint.
It would be impossible to try and fit four days’ worth of information into a single blog post, so we thought we would share the following video that covers some main highlights:
The following are three key takeaways from Microsoft WPC 2016:
The Internet of Things Will Shape Our Lifestyle
Speculation on the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) has been at the forefront of our industry for years. At WPC, the conversation shifted one step closer to understanding the real implications of the technology for partners and end users alike. As we gathered information prior to the event, we spoke to Alexander Waldhause, Project Management and Distribution Specialist at Ideefix, who warned of the need for the channel to evolve.
“The Internet of Things will shape our lifestyle. Always available, always up-to-date, always connected to the world, no matter what gadget we use,” said Waldhause. “I think time is moving faster. The channel needs to prepare for this setting. The market dictates these requirements. Therefore we need to train ourselves accordingly in order not to lose track."
At Tech Data, we have been dedicated to working with our partners to monetize the connected opportunity for years, and IoT will only become more vital to the health of the channel in the years to come. "Everything we see and touch is going to have sensory data embedded into it, which is going to allow us and everybody to make decisions much, much quicker,” said David Newbould, Director of Cloud Services, Europe at Tech Data.
The implications of IoT on the way businesses operate globally are extensive. Rodney Clark, Global IoT Executive at Microsoft, spoke of how the expansion of data captured from IoT will play a central role in an organization’s critical decision-making abilities. Of course, it will be the channel’s job to facilitate businesses in harnessing that data and transforming it into actionable insight.
Helping to connect the dots for partners who are considering how to realize the opportunity, Rodney revealed that Microsoft is developing its products to support the connected technology advances through a four-stage process: Intelligent Devices, Intelligent Connectivity, Intelligent Insights and Intelligent Actions.
Communications Hold the Key for Businesses Looking to Capitalize on the Cloud
The cloud is opening up endless new opportunities for businesses across all sectors, and solution providers need to be able to provide the services and support necessary to capitalize on these opportunities. While the cloud is making its way into more and more areas of business, communication is an area seen as an immediate priority for businesses. As an increasing number of businesses look to switch to cloud-based communications, vendors and integrators need to switch their focus to meet these changing demands.
"We already see integrators starting to do lots of business in moving customers onto the cloud and integrating systems with cloud services,” said Jonathan Wagstaff, Country Manager at CONTEXTWorld. “That will continue for many years to come, especially in the small medium-sized (SMB) sector, where the ability to scale up and down quickly and easily is a really strong driver for adoption."
"One very positive factor for the whole channel is that customers, once they buy one service or a few seats, tend to come back for more, so there is real potential to grow subscription business substantially," he added, which is what he believes to be one of the key business benefits of cloud services from a commercial standpoint.
Security Continues to Be a Major Concern which Partners Need to Address
IoT and connected devices are changing the way organizations think about connectivity, which has the potential to revolutionize our lives and transform the way businesses operate around the globe. New levels of connectivity mean companies can have instant access to real-time data, bridging geographical and cultural barriers faster than ever before.
However, with increased connectivity comes increased security concerns. As the news continues to be filled with stories of high-profile hacks, businesses and end users will be looking to partners for assurances regarding security concerns.
As discussed in another one of the sessions at the Tech Data booth, it’s much easier for hackers to target end users, rather than servers, firewalls and applications. Because it’s people (rather than systems) that are being targeted, security awareness training has never been more important that it is today.
While businesses have a variety of different security concerns when it comes to IoT and connected devices, as demonstrated by our poll of Microsoft Partners, business leaders actually see employees as most vulnerable.
That's a wrap on WPC 2016. Looking forward to seeing everyone next year in Washington DC!