I’m going to write a series of posts about Microsoft Inspire this year, my thoughts going in, one for each day, and then of course, a post-event summary.
So, here we are, first post, my thoughts going into MS Inspire 2017.
First and foremost, I’m a lot more excited for Inspire this year than I was last year, back when it was WPC. Maybe its the catchy name, maybe its because I know what to expect or maybe it is because I’m better prepared. Regardless, I’m really looking forward to next week, the sessions, the networking and the parties.
I do think a strong contributing factor to this is the spirit and moral of the South African contingent this year. Last year it felt very much that South Africa was lost in the MEA mix. But over the last year the local DX and Partner Team has done an amazing job in building the partner base and as well as the passion and interest of the partner base in engaging with each other and Microsoft. This is definitely reflected in the number of South Africans going this year, the organization of the local South African Microsoft Partner Team in assisting the South African partners and the tangible camaraderie and feeling of pride in the South African contingent. Well done Team Microsoft SA!!
From my side, I’m better prepared. I’ve got a number of meetings lined up. Some of them are wild shots in the dark, others I’m hoping will yield tangible value. I’ve sorted out my personal schedule in advance (as opposed to on the plane) and know this time to not try to do everything. I’m bringing along one of my superstars, Rey de Beer, in recognition of his stellar efforts over the last 12 months as well as to provide extra bandwidth at the conference. I’m looking forward to the networking opportunities presented by the various dinners and am feeling quite honoured to be invited to an event hosted by Dux Raymond Sy, a fellow RD and winner of the Partner of the Year Award for Public Sector.
I’m not looking forward to having sore feet, of the chaos of trying to do too much, not looking forward to being away from my beautiful family (really not looking forward to that), not looking forward to the long flight, not looking forward to lugging my luggage to my accommodation.
But, for those partners that haven’t attended WPC / Inspire before, I really can’t emphasize how much value this event has. Yes, a lot of it will be marketing brouhaha, some sessions will not be valuable, and you won’t see everything you wanted to see. But Inspire really performs an amazing role in educating partners about Microsoft’s strategy for the upcoming FY, the notable innovations and directions of technology, highlighting whats happening in other parts of the world and provides an amazing opportunity to network with other partners (even if it is only within your local region).
From a personal perspective WPC 2016 acted as a platform for amazing personal growth for me as a business man and a technologist over the last year. Maybe in a few years time, I’ll be “blah, blah, fish paste”, but as things stand, I cannot highly recommend this event enough.
Thats me for now. Looking forward to seeing everyone in D.C.
Managing Partner, Tangent Solutions
Microsoft Regional Director