Microsoft said its 2020 ‘Inspire’ conference has become the most inclusive it has ever been after going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to CRN, Microsoft Australia chief partner officer Rachel Bondi said registrations from Australia reached past 4000, compared to the usual 400-500 registrations from previous years.
“[This year’s Inspire is] one of the most inclusive experiences that I’ve come across for our partner ecosystem. “It used to require us to travel to go abroad, and the expense of that and the distance would limit the registrations to close to 400-500 only,” Bondi said.
“Now having some 4000-5000 people from Australia participating, the access to information is going to be even greater.”
Bondi also shared some insights on Microsoft’s new product announcements at Inspire, including some that had been a result of partner and customer feedback.
One such announcement was the pre-built Power Platform solution to support customers looking to bring their employees back to the office.
“We get a lot of requests from customers on how to quickly go to the market with some set templates where partners would then build off of that,” Bondi said.
“The role of [the offering] is to help partners envision what's possible and to also allow partners then to build upon that as well.”
Microsoft 365 had a slew of new features added, including Microsoft Lists, Universal Print and a newly designed Yammer. Microsoft Teams also added a premium version of Microsoft Teams Rooms, a Power BI personal app, Power Platform enhancements and an extended Teams meeting experience.
“We continue to see great adoption across all industries when it comes to Teams, and not just in terms of how they collaborate, but also how they have a meeting experience or a meeting room experience,” Bondi said.
“We’re also redefining what it means to have as a workplace, like the idea of workplaces has completely shifted to what it was even six months ago. So the additions are about how we get information into the right hands.
Microsoft also unveiled some new security enhancements to assist partners and customers with compliance, with improvements on Azure Sentinel, Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention, Communication Compliance, Double Key Encryption and Insider Risk Management in Microsoft 365.
“Inspire is a way for us to continue to talk about how we're investing in products and services, even if there aren’t any major changes to the partner program,” Bondi said.
“It’s all about our commitment to partnership and how we deliver a powerful ecosystem and how we have innovative products and services, and how we have a shared accountability and commitment to growth and profitability.”