With the home of British rugby Twickenham Stadium host to the Microsoft Partner Summit yesterday, Tuesday 4 October, the inspirational speech from Will Greenwood (ex-England rugby player and member of the 2003 World Cup winning squad) was a fitting way to conclude the event.
But before that, it was a programme of presentations and opportunities to network that made for a fantastic day of learning, sharing, meeting colleagues and making new contacts.
With the schedule divided into a business and a technical stream, the former began with keynote speeches.
Clare Barclay, General Manager of the Small and Mid Market Solutions and Partners Group, highlighted the UK’s as being the largest cloud market in Europe and set to double in value in the next four years, to $9.2bn in 2020.
She spoke about the power of cloud and how cloud is continuing to change people’s lives, identifying three main areas where effect is significant: physical (incorporating the creation of automatic vehicles, robots and 3D printing, for example); digital (mentioning in particular the IoT, Blockchain and disruptive models); and biological (with particular reference to advances in healthcare and engineering).
Cindy Rose, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer Microsoft UK, introduced herself with the reasoning behind accepting the Microsoft role – due to the Microsoft legacy and commitment, but also because with Microsoft it’s all about the customer lifecycle, not just the deal.
Declaring herself to be “very excited” about the opportunity for hyper growth in the UK and the “explosion of innovation”, when asked about Brexit and potential effects, Cindy Rose replied that times ahead could be turbulent, but it was up to all of us to be proactive with advice and help the government make the decisions required.
Her reference to the importance of addressing challenges facing the industry due to the technical skills gap, particularly in the light of the ‘hyper’ growth anticipated, was a theme returned to by a number of speakers, with the apprenticeship programme highlighted as being a major success and contributor to the growth of required talent.
Another topic frequently referenced was Microsoft’s provision of the UK datacentres. Mark Smith Senior Director Cloud and Enterprise Business Group, emphasised how this will help to open up whole new markets, removing data residency issues which had proved a barrier to a number of UK businesses and services moving to the cloud.
Julian Dyer, Vuzion’s Chief Technical Officer, says, “For me, the main theme emerging during the morning was the expected growth in the cloud market and the vital part Microsoft partners will play in supporting development of that growth.”
Speaking about cloud infrastructure and market opportunity, Glenn Woolaghan, Partner Business and Development lead, stressed the vital role of partners to Microsoft, and described how these relationships benefitted from the ability to leverage a range of different skills, to reach new customers and integrate specialist solutions.
“UK Office lead Richard Ellis’s emphasis was on unlocking features to enable customers to move to the cloud,” Julian Dyer continues, “and he talked about the ‘challenge’ to encouraging on-premise users to migrate.
“Alex Montgomery, Business Lead IoT and Advanced Anayltics, said that the customer’s question is no longer ‘Do I use cloud?’, but ‘How do I use cloud?’ And, Laura Bouchard (Director of Channel Sales) summed up her speech referring to the power of Microsoft, the culture of listening to customers, and the focus on selling solutions, not products – and emphasising the opportunity this represented for partners.”
The afternoon saw break-out sessions covering Skype for Business, Dynamics 365, Windows 10, and topics ranging from security to cloud application development.
A sponsor of the event, Vuzion was further delighted when Vuzion Managing Director Michael Frisby was invited to speak during the Hosting and Managed Service Providers session.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to be able to outline the Cobweb journey, the creation of the Vuzion brand and our transition to value add cloud aggregator, and talk about our central proposition of helping resellers build a profitable future proof business around the cloud, based on our 20 years of experience in delivering, managing and supporting cloud services,” Michael Frisby explains.
He continues, “Our three core pillars are:
- Platform – our integrated marketplace, billing automation and 24*7 support capabilities deliver a comprehensive platform that allow resellers to focus on growing their business while keeping operational costs low.
- Smart ecosystem – our ever-growing portfolio of cloud services coupled with professional and managed service offerings enables partners to build the solutions customers want, more quickly, and with greater value and profit.
- Business success – incorporating services ranging from marketing and capability development to pre-sales support, Vuzion provides all that’s required to win more customers and grow customer lifetime value.”
Jonas Kjellberg (Skype creator, author and US and Swedish university lecturer) was as motivational and entertaining during his morning speech about the creation of a winning sales culture as Will Geenwood later in the day. These talks together with the informative and visionary Microsoft-led sessions made for an excellent event.
Thank you to everyone who came to the Vuzion stand. We very much enjoyed meeting and chatting with you – and look forward to catching up again at future events.