Earlier this month, Microsoft held its annual World Partner Conference in Washington, DC.  It was marked by the winds of change.  Sifting through the buzzwords, we noticed three key takeaways from the conference.

  1. The “Cloud-First, Mobile First” philosophy extends to the Partner Program.  Microsoft under new CEO Satya Nadella has left no room for subtlety in the company’s “cloud-first, mobile first” philosophy, delivering this consistent message since Nadella took charge last winter.  Microsoft’s strategy has made traditional on-premise partners uncomfortable, but it is also attractive to adaptive partners and new “born in the cloud” partners who embrace new programs such as the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program.  Microsoft would like its users’ digital existence to revolve around Office, Windows, and Azure, and this new program helps this focus.
  2. Microsoft will play in the Big Data arena.  Nadella’s Wednesday keynote speech in Washington referenced the “next generation of productivity” based on people and devices consuming and generating “tons of zettabytes of data,” and Microsoft sees this as an opportunity for itself and its partners.
  3. Microsoft sees itself as a “challenger.”  In the eyes of a partner, a refreshing part about the new Nadella stewardship is the admission that Microsoft finds itself chasing some of its competitors.  As a “challenger” looking to win back market share, Microsoft is not afraid to reach out to some of its rivals, evident when it rolled out Office for iPad and Android devices.  Microsoft knows it must stay engaged with the “dual user,” the person who uses technology for business and personal purposes.

With major changes happening with Microsoft on a nearly-constant basis, it truly is an exciting time to be a Microsoft partner.  Surely the partners attending this month’s conference are ready to enjoy the ride.

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