The 5 key announcements from Microsoft Inspire

Rob Gray and Justin Tomlin
Tags: Azure Dynamics 365 Hybrid Microsoft 365 Microsoft Inspire Microsoft Teams Microsoft Viva Security Windows 365

Vuzion Business Development Managers, Rob Gray and Justin Tomlin, write…

Last week our colleague, Head of Vuzion Craig Gordon, posted a blog about looking forward to the forthcoming Microsoft Partner event, Inspire (14-15 July 2021).

Well, the event has come and gone, and certainly didn’t disappoint!

As part of his blog, Craig said that we’d be bringing you news of the major updates and announcements - and which we’re summarising now, around Microsoft’s five main themes:

  • Digital transformation across industries
  • The future of work
  • Innovating from cloud to edge
  • Building a foundation for trust and security
  • Driving growth via a partner-focused platform.
Digital transformation across industries
  • Announced earlier in the year, Microsoft has launched a series of industry-specific cloud offerings, enabling organisations to build their own digital capability and thereby improve time to value, lower costs, and increase agility.
  • Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is a SaaS offering enabling organisations to work towards achieving net zero emissions more easily, through effective management, recording and reporting, with plans underway to support water and waste tracking. The offering incorporates connection to real-time data sources, accelerates data integration and reporting, provides accurate carbon accounting, shows performance against goals, and delivers intelligent insights.
The future of work

Teams has been a life-saver for businesses across industry forced to move to remote working following the onset of the pandemic, enabling many of these businesses to carry on working and in many cases remain viable. We see Teams continuing to remain vital for businesses moving to a hybrid work model, as well as those embracing a full return to the office.

In addition, Microsoft announced:  

  • Windows 365: available from 2 August 2021, Windows 365 delivers Windows 10 and Windows 11, streaming personalised apps, settings, and content from the Microsoft cloud to any device. Pricing is per-user per-month, making purchasing easier. Windows 365 is natively integrated across Azure AD, Microsoft Defender, Microsoft 365 applications, and Microsoft Endpoint Manager for Enterprise customers, while Business customers can leverage a simplified self-service experience on the web. You can find further details at Microsoft’s Introducing a new era of hybrid personal computing: the Windows 365 Cloud PC.
  • Microsoft Teams + Dynamics 365: these collaborative apps enable organisations to ensure that they’re working efficiently within Teams. Microsoft partners can develop within the apps to incorporate business and vertical functions for their customers, while any Teams user is now able to view and collaborate on Dynamics 365 records directly within Teams, at no additional cost with the elimination of the need to purchase underlying software licences.
  • Microsoft Viva: Employee Experience: Viva puts people at the business centre, connecting them to company information, workplace insights, knowledge, and learning. Viva can be easily integrated using existing tools and systems and customised for business needs. Following on from the announcement earlier this year of a number of Viva partner integrations, Microsoft gave details at Inspire of a further 21 Viva partnerships plus new research available from The Bersin Academy.

For more information, visit Microsoft’s From collaborative apps in Microsoft Teams to Windows 365—here’s what’s new in Microsoft 365 at Inspire.

Innovating from cloud to edge

Companies across industry are transforming their businesses using Azure - see Microsoft’s blog Innovate from cloud to edge on your terms with Azure.

Announcements from Inspire include:

  • Free extended security updates for 2008/R2 and 2012 serversonly on Azure: customers running 2012 releases of Windows Server and SQL Server on-premises will have the option to purchase Extended Security Updates, while customers who need more time to upgrade and modernise Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/R2 will have one additional year of free extended security updates.
  • Azure Migration Program (AMP) is now Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP): the last two years have seen AMP help 4500+ customers successfully move to Azure utilising expert help and best practice guidance. Many of these customers asked for support with modernising their applications and hence the development with the Azure Migration Program becoming the Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP). Expanded support for app modernisation is included, and newly added is support for Azure Spring Cloud and Azure Cosmos DB.
  • Enabling seamless hybrid working: with the general availability of Azure SQL enabled by Azure Arc on 30 July 2021, managed service providers using Azure Lighthouse will be able to manage cloud data services (alongside Windows, Linux, and Kubernetes) on any on-premises infrastructure or in any cloud environment without having to change existing tools or processes.
  • Modernising datacenters with Azure Stack HCI: guest licensing activation is simplified with Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA). Secured-core server provides advanced protection across hardware, firmware, and OS, while new partner resources and programs for Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc include advanced specialisations.
Build a foundation of trust and security

Microsoft has surpassed $10 billion in security business revenue, representing more than 40% year-over-year growth, and were recognised as a leader in 5 Gartner Magic Quadrants and 7 Forrester Waves - demonstrating Microsoft’s commitment to providing best-in-class security solutions. For more information, see Microsoft’s blog, How Microsoft Security empowers partners to build customer trust.

Inspire announcements include:

  • Microsoft 365 Lighthouse (now in public preview): providing managed service providers with one central location and standard security configuration templates to secure devices, data, and users for small and medium business customers using Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Microsoft 365 Lighthouse enables partners to quickly identify and act on threats, anomalous sign-in, and device compliance alerts, with proactive management improving the security posture for the customers.
  • Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection with Azure AD B2C: protection scope has been extended to include fraudulent activities by integrating Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection with Azure AD B2C. By combining the power of Azure AD Identity Protection and Dynamics Fraud Protection's account protection capabilities, customers can help protect end customers from account abuse, and thereby also protect their own business.
  • Applications and data: the app governance add-on feature to Microsoft Cloud App Security and an extension to the priority user group capability in Insider Risk Management includes fine-grained role-based access control (RBAC), with both now in public preview.
Driving growth via a partner-focused platform

These announcements build on Microsoft’s commitment to helping partners get to market faster, build the apps their customers need, and drive their own business growth.

Microsoft’s Drive growth with the most partner-focused business platform has more information.

Announcements from Inspire include:

  • Reducing transaction fees—from an industry standard of 20% to 3%: this applies to all marketplace fees for transactable offers, beginning this month. More margin means more investment for partner growth! Microsoft is also expanding the payment instruments available in Microsoft AppSource giving customers the flexibility to purchase using credit card or invoice, and enabling ISVs to offer custom pricing using private plans.
  • Simplifying the Business Applications ISV Connect program: most notably, Microsoft is reducing the revenue sharing fees required to receive benefits and aligning to the newly announced standardised 3% transaction fee with commercial marketplace. Business Applications ISV Connect gives details about how to join the program.
  • New build-with and go-to-market benefits for Microsoft 365: Microsoft is investing in supporting ISVs with the release of new benefits, including access to: Microsoft technology; one-on-one consultations with Microsoft experts to help design and build collaborative applications; marketing resources; and help to achieve co-sell status. Build apps for Microsoft 365 has more information.
  • ISVs can activate 90K+ resellers: new capabilities (available in private preview) will enable ISVs to create new private offers to resellers (Cloud Solution Providers) and extend margin to resellers (incentivising resellers to sell their applications). This opportunity will be generally available later this year. The Inspire session, Better together: the evolution of partner-to-partner selling at Microsoft is available for on-demand view with more details.
For more information

If you’d like more information about any of the above, call us (0333 009 5939) or email (, and we’ll be happy to chat through any of your questions.  


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