Highlights from Microsoft WPC 2016 – Day 2
We continued to learn more of what Microsoft has in store for us on Day 2 of WPC. While yesterday was full of vision today was more about the practical application of what partners and customers are doing together with some of the newer toys in the Microsoft stack.
Improving Lives with Azure and Big Data
In the US partner session we saw how the Azure platform is being used to aggregate data in terms of CRM for sporting events in Tampa. We also saw how they are able to use the same platform in combination with an energy grid in Hawaii to store power in every day water heaters and reduce CO2 emissions by millions of pounds annually. Microsoft also showed us how machine learning in Azure is being used to do physical therapy without leaving the comfort of your living room. But, the most powerful application we saw was how missing children and Amber alerts are quickly logged and communicated through social networks in Canada and how the system literally had a great effect on returning a 14 year old girl home after being abducted in Calgary earlier this week.
While these solutions are more broad based than what we typically see in the mid-market customers we serve, it won’t be long until partners like ourselves figure out how to bring more broad based solutions across an entire ecosystem of customers for every day solutions that will provide benefits to growing and emerging companies. More importantly, we are now seeing how “big data” is being harnessed to improve all of our lives.
Power BI (Business Intelligence)
Earlier in the day we saw some unique applications of templates in Power BI with systems like Salesforce and other ERP systems that do give some real benefit to any size customer. Using Office 365 the Power BI licensing model is very affordable for any size organization to get a handle on really any data set. We sat down with the DX and Industry teams at a private lunch to discuss how we can think about using these tools in our CRM vertical for accounting firms.
Changing Licensing Models
The other interesting part of the day was learning how the licensing models are changing and how customers are more empowered with the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) program and how companies are seeing the benefits of being able to go to more of a consumption based model for licensing with productivity tools rather than traditional Enterprise Agreements (EA) that have been historically leveraged by larger companies. The impact to small and medium size businesses that take advantage of Office 365 will mean a lot more bang for the buck in the coming years.
Now that we see the roadmap and vision of Microsoft as a cloud first, mobile first company going forward we can start to bring more of those solutions to our customers and we will start to have more events to show you the power of these tools. Stay tuned in the coming months to see what Microsoft can do for your business.