Top Takeaways from the Microsoft Inspire Conference

Last week, Microsoft partners gathered in Washington D.C. for the Microsoft Inspire Conference. This annual event, formerly known as the Worldwide Partner Conference, brings attendees together to network, learn, and collaborate with thousands of channel partners, Microsoft personnel, and industry experts. We also gained insight into Microsoft’s vision for the future. Check out our top takeaways from the conference:

Digital Transformation

A major theme of this year’s conference was the concept of “digital transformation.” At last year’s conference, Microsoft identified “digital transformation” as a priority for the 2017 fiscal year. This year, Microsoft is continuing to reimagine how to enable digital transformations in organizations through various technologies, including Software-as-a-Service, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and cloud infrastructure. Microsoft views digital transformation as more than just embracing new technology; companies will have to restructure how they do business completely in this new landscape. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, spoke to this point at last year’s partner conference, saying, “Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you, yourself, thinking of your own future as a digital company.”

Microsoft partners are a core component of Microsoft’s digital transformation strategy. As a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, partners provide customers with consulting services and manage the process of change. Along these lines, Microsoft is reorganizing sales and channel management to assist partners in delivering transformative solutions across six core verticals of Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Government, Retail and Financial Services  We share Microsoft’s approach to digital transformation here at Datapipe. Microsoft partners, especially managed service providers (MSPs), play a pivotal role in guiding customers along their cloud journey. It’s why we have a whole team dedicated to providing our customers with expert advice and consulting about the cloud solutions that are right for them.

DevOps is More Critical Than Ever

Of course, what would “digital transformation” be without DevOps? Another hot topic at the conference was how Microsoft partners can help organizations restructure their IT department to embrace DevOps workflows and methodologies. At one session, Nicole Forsgren, CEO and chief scientist at the DevOps Research and Assessment Organization, said now, more than ever, “there are more DevOps opportunities because enterprises are seeing the benefit of bringing together people, process, technology, and culture to ensure continuous delivery.”

Forsgren cited DORA research that found “DevOps practitioners in commercial settings are two times more likely to achieve or exceed their goals in productivity, profitability, market share and number of customers.” She also noted that non-commercial organizations that practice DevOps are “twice as likely to achieve or exceed product and service quality goals, as well as operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and their organizational mission goals.”  especially when a DevOps culture is implemented the right way, according to the values of the Agile Manifesto.

Increased Focus on Security

Forsgren stressed the importance of integrating DevOps practices into security, such as building security measures into software delivery work, to address security concerns earlier in the software development cycle. The 2017 State of DevOps report found teams that use DevOps-like practices to their full potential spend “50 percent less time remediating security issues” than IT teams that incorporate DevOps practices either minimally or not at all.

Security was a big topic at Microsoft Inspire, both in and out of the context of DevOps. With high-profile attacks like WannaCry affecting hundreds of thousands of systems, security is increasingly top of mind for customers. Microsoft recently published a guide for partners attempting to navigate the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These regulations, which go into effect in May 2018, seek to provide a standard set of privacy protections across member nations. The regulation applies to companies that handle the personal data of EU residents regardless of if they have a physical office in Europe or not.

We have a long partnership with Microsoft and recently achieved eight Gold and three Silver Microsoft Partner Competencies for our expertise in Microsoft technologies. We were proud to exhibit at Microsoft Inspire, and look forward to what they have planned for the future. To stay up to date with Microsoft news, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

David Lucky is a Product Marketing leader at Rackspace for the Managed Public Cloud services group, a global business unit focused on delivering end-to-end digital transformation services on AWS, Azure, GCP and Alibaba. David came to Rackspace from Datapipe where as Director of Product Management for six years he led product development in building services to help enterprise clients leverage managed IT services to solve complex business challenges. David has unique insight into the latest product developments for private, public and hybrid cloud platforms and a keen understanding of industry trends and their impact on business development. He holds an engineering degree from Lehigh University and is based out of Jersey City, NJ. You can follow David on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/davidlucky and Twitter @Luckys_Blog.