What we learned at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013

By Riley O'Brien Wolff | July 17, 2013

The annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is a great opportunity to catch up with our partners, make some new mutually beneficial connections, and learn about Microsoft priorities and plans.

This year President and CEO Peter Duff, VP Strategic Alliances Brian Kernohan, Product Manager Jeff Brand, and Channel Business Development Manager Ahson Kazi accompanied me to the event at the Houston Convention Center.

Adlib earned a presentation slot for being a finalist in the 2013 Office 365/SharePoint Application Developer of the Year award.

 MSFT PotY blue

Always eager to step up to the podium, Jeff Brand presented Isn't PDF Free?

That’s a common question from those who aren’t aware of the differences between free or cheap desktop PDF conversion applications, and the automated, server-based, Adlib PDF. Jeff’s 20-minute presentation highlighted the differences.

The sad lack of output fidelity of the free versions is always a revelation. It seems everybody has experienced disappointment in the poor output quality of, and the unintended changes introduced by free PDF conversions. 

During WPC, three key themes emerged.

1) Microsoft continued to stress that it is now a Devices and Services company. As such, it is aligning business to four “Megatrends”. These are…

 a) Big Data
There was a lot of discussion around Hadoop and the recent Microsoft partnership with Oracle. The bottom line is that Microsoft now is able to take data from anywhere and incorporate it into business solutions for its customers.
 b) Cloud
 c) Devices/Mobility
 d) Enterprise Social

2) Microsoft sees the opportunities for partners to support those four Megatrends falling into three categories…


a) Windows 8 Apps and Devices
Partner opportunities include building Windows 8 client and phone apps… securely managing Windows & non-windows devices and apps… and embracing the Modern Desktop by migrating to Windows 8, and soon, to 8.1

 b) Cloud OS Infrastructure
The cloud offers partners  a chance to optimize customer datacenter infrastructure with the Cloud OS platform… manage workloads in private, public, and hybrid clouds… and to migrate apps to the Azure Public Cloud.
 
c) Solutions and Apps for Business Decision Makers and IT Decision Makers
The CIO is no longer the only decision maker. CMOs and CFOs are now in the decision-making process for purchasing software and solutions.

For partners the opportunities lie in building solutions to address Social and Analytics megatrends… providing productivity solutions that extend Office 365… and developing ISV and custom vertical and horizontal applications.

3) Microsoft recognizes that the cloud will not work for every organization in every scenario. Microsoft executives encouraged us as partners to lead with the cloud and close with a hybrid solution — a combination of cloud and on-premises solutions.

Full disclosure: I worked at Microsoft from 1997 to 2002. Over the past 15 years, I’ve seen Microsoft go from an “our way or the highway” attitude toward customers and partners to a more realistic and (customer) business-friendly approach. They’ve heard feedback that individuals like their iPhones and Droids, that corporations have invested heavily in Oracle and open source platforms, and will not rip/replace just to ensure Microsoft platform compatibility. And they heard clearly that users like their Windows/Start buttons. This new Microsoft is making it easier for businesses to have access to their information when and where they need it, on their own terms. Makes perfect business sense to me.

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