My top 10 highlights from Microsoft Inspire

It was electrifying to see the strength of our US Partner community in full force at Microsoft Inspire. I’m still riding a wave of energy and excitement – how great to start the new fiscal year with a week of learning, connecting, and celebrating with you, our partners! Here are my top highlights from the week.

1. Satya Nadella, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, on the enormous growth opportunity ahead

“We have to come together to help every business become great at digital technology,” Satya told us early in his Corenote. Technology spend will make up 10 percent of the GDP by 2030, an estimated $14 trillion. An even bigger opportunity is the other 90 percent of the GDP that will be digitally driven by you and Microsoft. Watch Satya Nadella’s Corenote on-demand

2. Buzzworthy demo: The magic of AI neural TTS and holograms

See the magic of Azure AI Services, HoloLens, and TTS come together in this mind-blowing demo with Microsoft’s Julia White, Corporate Vice President, Azure, featuring her life-sized hologram rendered in real-time, speaking Japanese.

3. A culture of listening and learning

Earlier this month, we announced changes to MPN benefits, and we immediately heard from you about the impact of those updates. Based on your feedback, we rolled back the planned changes. As Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, notes in her post, “We listened to you, and we have acted.” Thank you for helping us learn and adapt.


At the Diversity Hub in the US Lounge

4. Focus on inclusion and diversity

I’m proud to work for a company that is such a champion of inclusion & diversity. It was exciting to see the theme threaded through so many partner experiences. From the Diversity Hub to the first ever Change Maker pitch competition to the expansion of Women in Cloud, Microsoft and our partners showed we are dedicated to Diversity & Inclusion.

5. Powerful discussions at the Women in Tech & Women in Cloud Luncheon

It was incredibly powerful to hear Satya Nadella and Gavriella Schuster have a “fireside chat” Q&A with 800 attendees about inclusion, gender, and age parity issues in the tech industry. Thanks to author and CEO Linda Rose for initiating the thought-provoking discussion on age inclusion!


With author Linda Rose at WiT/WiC luncheon

6. Five attributes for successful partnering

Dave Willis, Corporate Vice President of US One Commercial Partner, shared five attributes to successful partnering with Microsoft: customer-obsessed, differentiated value proposition, alignment with Microsoft, leveraging the ecosystem, and culture alignment. The overwhelmingly positive response from partners is encouraging me to write more on this soon!

7. Partner to Partner (P2P) & industry focus

P2P & industry came up in all my partner meetings and throughout Microsoft Inspire – they are hot topics! We had 9 P2P sessions and three excellent P2P “speed partnering” sessions during the conference. Be sure to check out the new P2P collaboration tools we announced at the conference.

8. Unilever Digital Transformation on a vast scale

“If you make technology the empowering force, you put it to work, you enable human time and attention to solve the problems of the planet,” noted Microsoft’s Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President of the Worldwide Commercial Business organization during his Corenote. We got a behind-the-scenes look at digital transformation on a vast scale at Unilever. Watch the Corenote on-demand to see Unilever’s solution and learn how the company is democratizing digital to empower their people. (The Unilever demo starts at 19:00 minutes).

9. Democratizing technology thru AI for Good

I’m always inspired when I hear Microsoft President Brad Smith talk about our AI for Good programs including AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility and AI for Humanitarian Action. In his Corenote, Brad announced that Microsoft would add a fourth program to AI for Good called AI for Cultural Heritage. Check out this preview of how new technology can help societies around the world honor and celebrate their people, language, and places. Watch the full Corenote on-demand.


With Andrew Spradlin & David Cunningham at US Lounge

10. The US Area and Lounge in The Hub

The energy in the US Area and Lounge was off the charts this year! We had a Diversity and Inclusion Wall, “Ask the Expert” kiosks and sessions, and lots of space for networking. I loved seeing partners making connections and getting the resources they need to grow their business.


If you weren’t able to join us for Microsoft Inspire or want to catch any of the 400+ sessions you missed, you can watch them all on-demand. Thank you for your partnership – here’s to a great year!


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