Microsoft WPC 2016: “Today, opportunity means the cloud, which is driving digital transformation across industries and in businesses of all sizes.”
That is how Gavriella Schuster, the recently promoted Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, introduced the World Partner Conference in Toronto. The theme for the conference also mentioned digital transformation: “How digital transformation can help ignite higher margins and faster growth for Microsoft partners”
From Bullsh*t Bingo to Reality
Now, digital transformation is one of those vague business terms that would do excellent in bullsh*t bingo. If there is no substantiation of exactly what digital transformation is, it will easily remain as fluffy and intangible as real life clouds. Luckily, Microsoft is a technology company and there were plenty of examples of how digital transformation via cloud technology is taking place.
Go With The Flow
One example is Ecolab who is using the recently announced Microsoft Flow to combine different Microsoft technologies such as Azure IoT Suite, Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Dynamics 365 in an integrated workflow.
This helps Ecolab bring together solutions that will enable it to collect, analyse and share data across its customers’ multiple locations worldwide in order to ultimately save the scarce water resources on Earth.
But Microsoft Flow is not only for “save the world tasks”. It can be used to automate a number of more mundane scenarios, such as automatically send a text message whenever you get an email from important connections, copying files from OneDrive to SharePoint and other tasks. If you are aware of the most popular automation tool for web services you will probably say IFTTT, as Microsoft Flow is certainly inspired by the If-This-Then-That-tool.
From Monolithic Suite to Services
Microsoft Flow pulls different services together in a coherent workflow or as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it at the conference’s opening keynote:
“It is no longer a question about one monolithic suite and its deployment, it is a continuous wiring and re-wiring of the digital feedback loop. That’s where the power of the cloud, the power of the graph, the data in the cloud underneath all our applications and tools; that’s where BI, power apps and Flow come to bear.”
Industrial Internet to Azure
Even though the Ecolab-showcase was very Microsoft-centric, Satya Nadella is aware that Microsoft technology should be compatible with non-Microsoft technology. To underline that Microsoft is opening its Azure cloud platform for other vendor solutions. Microsoft announced a partnership with GE to bring GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet to Azure.
“Connecting industrial machines to the internet through the cloud is a huge step toward simplifying business processes and re-imagining how work gets done. GE is helping its customers extract value from the vast quantities of data coming out of those machines,” said Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE.
More Money in The Cloud
OK. So all this is very well. Saving water, automating workflows and make interoperability work, but what does it mean for the partners’ profits?
According to Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft partners are realising 20 percent higher margins than the closest competitor. To make that margin even bigger, she urges Microsoft partners to embrace cloud technology:
“Microsoft partners with more than 50 percent of their revenue in the cloud are attaching $5.87 of their own services for every $1.00 of Microsoft cloud solutions sold.”
To rephrase an old adage with some of Satya Nadella’s words, “When the cloud brings digital transformation, some people build walls around their monolithic systems, while others wire and re-wire the digital feedback loop.”
Report on Technology Trends and Challenges
The majority of Microsoft Partners seem to have spotted the opportunities in the cloud. Curo Talent has made a survey of Microsoft Partners, which will be published in the report “MS Partner Technology Trends and Challenges”. One of the findings is that 60 percent of the Microsoft Partners mentioned Cloud Services as their key growth area over the next 12 months; Content & Collaboration was second with just 10 percent. The report will be published in September 2016.
Saving water with Microsoft technologies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O7tuQp_BZs
Satya Nadellas keynote: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-GB/wpc/wpc-2016-vision-keynotes
Info about Microsoft Flow: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-microsoft-flow-and-announcing-the-public-preview-of-powerapps/
Gavriella Schuster’s blog: https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/07/11/digital-transformation-ignites-higher-margins-faster-growth-for-microsoft-partners