Guest blog post from WPC 2016 | Author: Chris Clark
We have just returned from the Microsoft World Partner Conference 2016 in Toronto, a little heavier, very tired but full of inspiration, innovation and actions regarding how we take our company forward into 2017 and beyond, continuing our journey as an enabling partner for our clients regarding their Digital transformation, helping them to reach new heights…
For many, attending WPC is about how they transition their business, for us at Prosperity 24.7 we were pretty much ‘born in the cloud’ therefore for us, WPC is about how the innovation Microsoft brings to the partner ecosystem can in turn have a positive effect on our wider community, both in business and socially. It is also a phenomenal opportunity to expand our own partner community internationally, re-igniting existing relationships or making great new friends.
Obviously, stepping back for just a second, there were some major launches such as Appsource and the evolution of CRM to Dynamics 365 providing business apps via a modern marketplace (hallelujah!) - the focus upon intelligent customer engagement is critical for everyone’s continued prosperity.
In addition to this, details regarding Cortana Intelligence, Azure IoT and Hololens helps us to ensure that we are investing in the right people with the right skills for the 4th Industrial revolution.
Coming back to my original thread, for us we attend the WPC as business leaders looking to derive insights regarding trends, technologies or strategic shifts which in turn will positively impact the economic aspirations of our International customers, this in turn generates a prosperous and virtuous circle for their staff and their wider community which in turn enables our continued prosperity.
Consolidating this message, if there was one phrase that was king this year it was…
Now this is not simply the adoption of computing, whether virtualised on premise or running in the cloud, this is the genuinely transformative effect modern working practices can have on an organisations economical and operational aspirations.
“Digital transformation impacts the wider gamut of an Executives responsibilities, from profitability to efficiency, from social engagement through to insightful analytics, from customer focus through to re-imagined business operating models – this is the transformative shift that can be enabled today leveraging Microsoft’s suite of business tools on any device, anywhere, at any time”.
If our clients are not leveraging the latest technologies and if we as their partners are not sharing the ‘art of the possible’ with them, then we are doing them a disservice.
It is our duty to evangelise and inform our business communities as ‘business led technologists’ – we have to have the ability to tell stories and inspire yet be pragmatic realists regarding the perception of technology projects which historically fail, for the broader areas that ‘change’ initiatives touch are often fraught with deep rooted cultural or historical behaviours…
…Yes, you know what I am getting at – people – they are often the greatest barrier when transformational change is being proposed and who can blame them?
Today, in a cloud based technology driven world all the rules regarding the pace of change have been thrown out of the window – change is now constant - a ‘Cloud’ year in technology evolution is now about six months in duration meaning businesses should be able to deliver twice as much transformation in a year than ever dreamt possible in the past yet still, we often see barriers put up to stem the flow of innovation and opportunity to transform businesses – people simply cannot keep up and this is something we have to support through robust change programmes led by true ‘change agents’ who can take a business through the entire cycle from inspiration through to innovation and delivery wrapped up with training, execution and then the quality circle of review, iterate, enhance and transform creating a continuum of enlightenment.
One great take-away from the WPC is that Microsoft recognise, as do we at Prosperity 24.7, that the integration of business and technology has to be facilitated ‘simply’ – this is the only way that people can keep up with this incredible pace of change.
For those in the historical role of IT Director or Chief Information Officer I am afraid to inform you that if you had not already realised it, your world is probably changing more than most …
“a CIO’s focus must be on functional operational improvement, not the technology or how it can be controlled - who can digitize their business the fastest is the modern business challenge for success”.
You may well be sitting there reeling from this message which when put simply means, complacency is not an option. Similarly, legacy ideas regarding command and control have fallen by the wayside in favour of the far more modern and positive ‘empower, trust and enable’ approach to technology adoption.
Upon reading this you may well be thinking ‘what is this guy on?’ My response to this is a healthy dose of WPC served with lashings of coffee - I am still five hours off Greenwich Mean Time at the end of the day but I am sure I will catch up soon!
For me, this was my third WPC but for my co-Director Geraldine Evans, this was her first experience of Microsoft first hand and for her, she challenged herself incredibly, pushing her own understanding and experiences to new heights which in turn saw the following tweet captured and illustrated by the Microsoft Partner Team as encapsulating what attendance at WPC is all about:
At the end of the conference the UK team asked me to sum up how I felt following the final UK team briefing which consolidated the week’s experiences, knowledge and learning – this is outlined below (the deterioration in audio quality is not a technology failure, more that my voice was failing following many meetings and much networking):
In closing, what I would say is that if you are not up for Digital Transformation, take heed of the Toronto road sign below, for me it summed up what to expect if you are a business that is not embracing change, digital transformation or, at the very least, a modern way of working…
I hope that you have found this synopsis regarding #WPC16 helpful and are feeling as inspired as we are for the year ahead - good luck to all the Microsoft Partners who are set to inspire their clients' with innovation, efficiency and digital transformation.
We look forward to meeting you all at #WPC17 in Washington D.C.