Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told channel partners Wednesday that the company is seeking to show how “you as partners can build more successful businesses,” across fast-growing segments including Azure, Teams and security.
Nadella offered a half-hour keynote address during Microsoft’s Inspire 2020 global partner conference--which is being held this week in an online-only format—and then made a second appearance to answer questions posed by Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster.
“For Microsoft to do well, you all as partners have to do well. That’s ingrained in our business model,” Nadella said during the conversation with Schuster. “That’s why I always talk about us being a partner-led company.”
What follows are Nadella’s five biggest statements at the Inspire 2020 partner conference.
Microsoft is “innovating to address customer needs across the cloud and edge,” Nadella said during his Inspire keynote.
“For example, Azure AI and its responsible machine-learning capabilities are helping customers better understand, protect and control data and models -- [which is] super critical in today’s world. With Azure Arc, we are providing a single control plane between Azure and the workloads on any data center or any cloud,” Nadella said. “With Azure Stack, you can modernize your data center with validated hardware that runs Azure cloud services. And now, we are re-imagining Azure Stack HCI to deliver that hyper converged infrastructure software as a native Azure service--providing an easy way to manage your clusters and VMs from your Azure portal, and seamlessly move between local or cloud management tools.”
Because Azure Stack HCI is now an Azure service, “that means you will get regular feature and security updates. We have a choice of validated hardware from server-class systems for data center racks, to small form factors for the edge and remote offices,” Nadella said.
Overall, when it comes to Microsoft’s infrastructure “across the cloud and the edge,” there is an “incredible impact our partners and customers can have with it,” he said.
Nadella also discussed some of the new and forthcoming updates for the Teams collaboration app during his Inspire keynote, including “Together Mode,” which is expected to launch in general availability in August.
“Together Mode is a new experience in Teams that uses AI to digitally place participants in a shared background. This makes it feel like you’re sitting in the same room--reducing background distractions [and making] it easier to pick up the nonverbal cues that we miss,” Nadella said. “So conversations are much more natural--and more importantly, more inclusive. Our research shows that the brain exerts less effort when participating in a meeting using the Together Mode, compared to the standard grid view.”
Meanwhile, “we’re also enabling an entirely new category of apps and bots by integrating Teams with Power Platform more closely than ever before,” Nadella said. “The new Microsoft Dataflex brings together the rapid application development capabilities of Power Apps with relational databases, so anyone can create an intelligent app right inside of Teams.”
Additionally, “we’re making it easier to create intelligent chatbots with seamless access to Power Virtual Agents within Teams as well. Teams is the only platform with this capability enabling both citizen--as well as pro—developers to build enterprise-grade apps that provide immediate business value,” Nadella said.
Security And Compliance
Businesses of all sizes “depend on partners to provide critical security and compliance services,” Nadella said.
“We are helping customers meet compliance requirements and protect their most sensitive information. The new Endpoint Data Loss Prevention in Microsoft 365 helps organizations identify and protect sensitive information across all their endpoints,” Nadella said. “A great example is how this is built into our new Edge browser. I’m loving using it. [It’s] allowing that granular controller data, without any additional plugins or agents.”
Partner Revenue Opportunities
“A recent study shows that for every dollar our cloud generates in revenue in the local region, our local partner ecosystem generates as much as nine additional dollars,” Nadella said. “Our customers are using the power of the cloud to generate even more revenue. That means even more local economic success. That’s at the core of what we do.”
Ultimately, Microsoft’s intertwining technology focus areas offer “a tremendous opportunity for our partners--because I think the architectural coherence of our tech stack and our solution areas make us so much more relevant as an ecosystem to our customers,” Nadella said during the conversation with Schuster.
That’s never been more the case than during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where “digital technology and transformation is key,” he said.
“I would say, digital tech intensity is key to both resilience as well as transformation,” Nadella said. “And that’s what you see with the partner opportunity, in fact. Partners are able to work with businesses, both [to] create that business continuity and transformation.”