Key Announcements Made at WPC 2015
Key Announcements made at WPC 2015 | CloudAlly

Microsoft WPC

The much-awaited, Microsoft WPC – Conference held last week in Orlando, Florida saw more than 16,000 attendees and was an enormous success!

I am a bit bios of course, since CloudAlly attended, and exhibited for the 1st time!

We really loved meeting our partners, and making new connections. The sessions were super interesting and the parties were awesome!  Roll down to the end of this blog to check out some of CloudAlly WPC 2015 pics!

Microsoft made a couple of interesting product announcements and shared its plan to empower its partners. If you’ve missed the conference, we’ve compiled a list of all the significant announcements made there. Let’s take a look at them (and too bad we didn’t get to meet you!).

Product Announcements

Project GigJam

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduced Project GigJam, which will help users to carry out business tasks and revolutionize business processes by breaking down the roadblocks between apps, devices, and people.

“GigJam is simple to use: you just summon the information you need, circle and cross to divvy up, and tap on people to involve them.” said Darryl Rubin, Vijay Mital, and the Ambient Computing Team in the official blog post.

They also said, “GigJam is designed for the emerging workforce that is more connected, more available and more social than ever before. With GigJam, a business can expect a dramatic transformation of every process where humans have the potential to exercise discretion and work with others, colleagues as well as customers.”

It doesn’t matter whether the users are available by phone, face-to-face or are busy at the moment – each user will get the tools and information they require, and their work will be easily synchronized.

Gigjam is not available for the public yet, but you can register for the upcoming preview at the website here.

Cortana Analytics Suite

When Cortana, an intelligent digital personal assistant, was launched last year, it created quite a buzz. At WPC, Microsoft announced the Cortana Analytics Suite that integrates with Cortana to help enterprises transform data into intelligent action.

Cortana Analytics Suite combines leading technology infrastructure, including capabilities such as big data storage and cloud-based processing, machine learning, perceptual intelligence, face and speech analysis, and vision, to accelerate the decision making process for enterprises. It will be available through a monthly subscription model later this fall.

“The offering, while customizable to fit the unique needs of organizations, will also provide preconfigured solutions to speed deployment of common scenarios we see across many industries, such as fraud detection, churn analysis, and recommendations. I encourage you to get started immediately with many of its individual services that are already available,” said Takeshi Numoto, CVP – Cloud & Enterprise, in the official blog post.

3D Microsoft HoloLens Demo

At Build 2015, Microsoft unveiled HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computing device powered by Windows 10, and during the WPC 2015 keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella showcased some usage scenarios. Nadella demonstrated how the HoloLens would integrate with Autodesk’s Maya 3D animation software and the use of HoloLens at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Announcement for Microsoft Partners

Expansion of CSP Program

Microsoft announced the expansion of its Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program to new markets to enable partners to sell the company’s cloud solutions, including Windows Intune, CRM Online, Azure, and Enterprise Mobility suite (EMS) in new geographies.

New Office 365 E5 Offering

The company announced E5, a new premium Office 365 enterprise suite will be launched before the end of this year. E5 will come with new features such as Power BI and Delve Organizational Analytics, as well as Power BI Pro, new Skype for Business services such as Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast, and advanced security features such as Customer LockboxAdvanced Threat ProtectioneDiscovery, and Data Loss Protection (DLP).

Additionally, a new usage category will be added into the Partner’s MPN Online Services Dashboard, which will help Partners view their customers’ usage reports directly.

“The new usage dashboard will help Partners identify opportunities for helping their customers realize the full value of Office 365 by taking full advantage of all of the services delivered within the suite. This investment also aligns with changes in our competency and incentive models to drive active usage,” said John Case, CVP for Microsoft Office in the official blog post.

Changes in Microsoft Partner Network (MPN)

A couple of changes have been announced in MPN, which is a new app certification platform, that will help partners certify their applications for competency requirements, a new Microsoft Azure Certified Hybrid Cloud program, and new Azure incentives designed to drive active usage.

According to Microsoft, these changes will help service providers deliver Microsoft-certified hybrid solutions to make it easier for their customer’s to leverage the cloud on their own terms.

Elimination of Unique MCP Requirements/Sales Assessment

Microsoft has announced the removal of the sales assessment requirement to help partners cut down administration time and focus more on learning. The company will now allow businesses to use the same Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP) towards meeting technical requirements in multiple abilities.

New Competencies for Windows 10 and EMS

New competencies for the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and Windows 10 will be launched soon to help partners meet the increasing customer demands for mobile and cloud solutions, as per Microsoft.

While the Windows and Device competency will give partners interested in building custom offers around Windows 10, access to key resources such as Windows Accelerate, dedicated learning path, and additional Windows 10 software for internal use, EMS is the final and latest addition to the cloud competencies announced last year at WPC.

ISV Enablement

Microsoft revealed that they are working on enabling the app builder and ISV partners to form their own IP on Microsoft solutions. According to the company, the new resources will help partners with their recurring revenue strategies, application pricing, go-to-market tools, and business models.

Moreover, to provide the relevant tools and resources that app builders and ISVs need, Microsoft is adding Visual Studio Enterprise edition to Partner Internal Use Rights (IURs).

New Benchmarking Tool

Microsoft announced that they have created a benchmarking tool that is available on the Microsoft Partner Network Portal to help partners capture their cloud market share. The company already provides several useful resources to guide its partners based on best practices from successful cloud partners, and this tool is the latest addition to the MPN resources.

Digital Marketing Services

In this digital era, online marketing plays a crucial role in the success of every business and so Microsoft has announced Digital Stride, a packaged set of digital marketing services to help partners improve customer acquisition, and SEO.

Additionally, the company has launched ModernBiz, a marketing campaign to demonstrate to customers how they can grow their business.

Expansion of Online Exam Proctoring

Currently, online exam proctoring is available in only 21 countries and Microsoft shared its plan to expand it in the coming months to increase its coverage globally.

New Partnerships to Help Partners Interconnect

Microsoft has announced its initiative to help its partners find and connect with other qualified partners, by collaborating with an organization called Dynasource. Companies just need to specify key talent areas for a specific period, and Dynasource will find a suitable partner to help manage their client’s requirements.

The next Microsoft WPC will be held in Toronto, Canada around July 10-14, 2016. You can register for their upcoming event here, (its at a discounted price for an all-access pass now).

We are definitely planning to attend next year! Hope to see you at Toronto!

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