Microsoft Inspire is the partner event of the year which explores new advancements of the Microsoft Cloud and the opportunities it provides to Microsoft partners and their customers. Running digitally rather than in person for another year, Microsoft Inspire 2021 hosted a range of engaging sessions across two days covering a variety of technical and partner-focused topics.

Earlier this year, Redspire was acquired by Incremental Group, making the combined group one of the largest Microsoft partners in the UK. To celebrate Microsoft Inspire, we invited Incremental’s Chief Commercial Officer, Craig Donnelly, to share his key takeaways from the hotly anticipated event. With a range of exciting content available across the event, we wanted to find out from Craig what his top highlights were from Inspire 2021.

Microsoft Inspire 2021

Microsoft Inspire is always an exciting time of year for partners, giving us exclusive insight about Microsoft’s ambitions and its areas of focus for the year ahead.

Strategically, this time of the year is an important time for the Incremental leadership team, as we retrospectively examine the business performance of the previous financial year and look towards the future of the business. Earlier this month, Incremental Group released our 2021 Annual Review, a highlight of course being the acquisition of fellow Microsoft partner, Redspire. Our mission is to enable our customers to digitally transform their organisation, one step at a time with Microsoft. Microsoft Inspire is therefore always a key event for us.

Highlights from Inspire

Inspire 2021 was not a year for ‘landmark’ announcements, but rather served as an evolution of Microsoft’s core solutions and strategy.

Microsoft’s technology has supported thousands of organisations to maintain business continuity and support employees during a turbulent year. This continued commitment to supporting organisations was reflected in Inspire’s headlines. From my perspective the key announcements coming out of Inspire can be grouped into four categories: collaboration, security, employee experience and sustainability.

Collaboration

It is widely recognised that digital transformation has accelerated during the pandemic, including the explosion of Microsoft Teams. In 2020, Microsoft Teams saw a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day.

A welcome announcement at Inspire was that Microsoft Teams customers will receive no-cost data access to Microsoft Dynamics 365, meaning you can now access Dynamics 365 data within the Teams environment at no extra cost. This is a great step forward in enabling more organisations to optimise collaboration across Teams and Dynamics 365, removing what was a barrier for productivity across solutions and workflows.

Security

In an increasingly digital world, more than ever security is top of mind for organisations. Inspire reinforced how heavily Microsoft is investing in its security offering – expanding programmes and extending security updates to streamline and simplify cloud migration and modernisation.

Core to Microsoft’s security strategy is encouraging ‘Zero Trust’ principals to limit security risk within organisations. This approach means organisations focus on security best practice to strengthen digital defences throughout departments. As a Microsoft partner, we support our customers to embed these principles and deliver secure-by-design solutions that cover the six pillars: identity, endpoints, data, applications, network and infrastructure.

Employee experience

Microsoft recently launched Microsoft Viva, an employee experience platform that brings together tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge. Inspire taught us that the platform is being elevated even further, with new integrations with more than 20 partners, including ServiceNow, Headspace and Workday. This enables organisations to seamlessly connect Microsoft Viva with other external tools they are already using.

 

Sustainability

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will be made available later this year. This will help Microsoft, Incremental Group, Redspire and our customers meet their carbon reduction and sustainability goals. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability will allow organisations to record, report and reduce their emissions on their path to net zero. This is a hugely exciting announcement as we increasingly see digital technology playing a key role in the global fight against climate change.

To conclude, Microsoft Inspire 2021 demonstrated that Microsoft continues to be at the forefront of digital advancements across the technology industry and we are excited to put these announcements into practice for our customers. While the heat and jet lag of a trip to Las Vegas were not missed, I certainly missed the direct engagement with my Microsoft connections and the wider partner community. Hopefully, we will be back in person next year!

As Microsoft Gold Partners, the highly experienced teams at Redspire and Incremental are on hand to discuss the key highlights and announcements from Inspire with organisations looking to advance their digital transformation. Please get in touch to arrange a conversation.