WPC 2013… the future is here… and it’s awesome!

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (MS WPC) 2013 is over… and I am still coming down from the mountain top high.  As a Senior Solutions Architect for Uncommon, this was a tremendous source of great information and an awesome opportunity to network.  Like all technology events, each day started early and ended late… but time flew by because it seemed that every minute was packed with sessions, networking events, meetings, and Microsoft hosted parties.


Despite the heat and humidity of Houston in July, I was genuinely impressed with WPC.  Right from the beginning, Microsoft brought a professional feel to the conference.  Too often convention goers simply show up and then slack off.  Not here.  Microsoft fluidly managed over 15,000 attendees from 160 countries and quickly moved them from keynotes to sessions to meetings.  Each day brought forth new information and ideas about the vision of Microsoft, financial updates from the Microsoft leaders, and detailed product updates in individual sessions.


The conference opened with Steve Ballmer’s keynote address sharing what Microsoft vision for the next couple of years.  He opened with the idea that Microsoft is moving its identity and focus from a “software” company to a “devices and services” company.  The meaning of this is found in his keynote:


“Windows defined a class of devices called the PC. And we are certainly incredibly determined to have Windows define new classes of devices, tablets, phones, two-in-ones, living room devices, defined by Windows as a piece of software, but purchased and implemented by our partners as tested software. So we're in the transformation from delivering our software value one way to delivering it in a new form…”


Starting with Ballmer’s keynote, it became clear that the focus from here on out will be the Cloud, Big Data, and Mobility.  Over the days we heard from Kevin Turner (COO), Jon Roskill (VP – Worldwide Partner Group), Steve Clayton (Chief Storyteller), Laura Ipsen (VP – Worldwide Public Sector), Satya Nadella (President – Server & Tools Business), and Tami Reller (CMO & CFO – Windows).  Each of these people spoke of Microsoft’s vision for the future… and all of them agreed with the boss: Cloud, Big Data, and Mobility.


However, like any conference, the main question is always: What did you take away from the event?  In this case, the “Azure Elasticity” (as noted by Steve Balmer) is what truly blew my mind.  The readiness and power of Azure Cloud Services as it relates to Office 365, IaaS, and PaaS, as well as how Azure is integrated into each of the core products such a Dynamics, SharePoint, ADFS, and SQL Server is simply staggering.  Microsoft did over a billion dollars of revenue in O365 and Azure business in their last fiscal year.  And that was with only 22 thousand partners doing cloud transactions… out of 640 thousand partners.


Leaving the WPC, I feel more than ever that I can confidently communicate to my prospects and customers all that the Microsoft stack has to offer.  Uncommon Solutions can help them intelligently integrate with and/or migrate to O365 while still fully supporting their existing systems, whether they are on premise or in a public, private, or hybrid cloud.  Only Microsoft’s technology suite offers a managed private, public, or hybrid cloud experience… and only partners like Uncommon can support both the system integration and the custom development that is associated with customer engagements like this.


The possibilities available now through the Microsoft technologies are staggering.  I look forward to helping my clients achieve their mission goals by aligning available technology with their business needs.  But more than that, I can’t wait to see how much more awesome the Microsoft stack becomes and hearing about it at WPC 2014 in Washington DC.