Top Trends for Partners from Microsoft Inspire 2023
August 29, 2023
With over 400,000 partners worldwide, the annual Microsoft Inspire conference provides a center for collaboration and engagement for the global Microsoft partner ecosystem. Partners attending the conference can explore opportunities to grow their businesses by understanding Microsoft’s strategic direction, aligning their offerings with Microsoft’s roadmap, and identifying potential customers and markets.
Continuing this year in a virtual format, the crisp keynotes and programming—especially when paired with interactive Q&A—provided attendees the chance to ask questions and have experts break down the latest updates and most important news.
Our team of partner GTM experts was present and taking note of the top trends laid out below.
Trend #1: Artificial Intelligence
The first theme that jumped out was Microsoft’s commitment to Artificial Intelligence. Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella announced product news with Bing Chat Enterprise & Microsoft 365 Copilot pricing. Products are still in preview, but Partners are encouraged to ready themselves and consider managed service and other business opportunities. Microsoft’s focus on AI was evident in the rebranding of the partner program to Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program.
Partners are encouraged to download the AI Transformation Partner Playbook to “get guidance on how to scale your AI offerings and help transform excitement into real, cross-functional customer opportunities” and infuse AI into their solutions or deliver AI services. Partners that develop expertise in these new Microsoft AI technologies will be at the forefront of the next disruptive technology.
Trend #2: Solution Play Alignment
The second big theme was the orchestration of business priorities through solution plays as Microsoft’s coordinated Go-to-Market (GTM) motions.
18 mainstream and nine future growth solution plays cover the six solution areas (Modern Work, Security, Infrastructure, Business Applications, Data & AI, and Digital & App Innovation) and they send a clear signal of Microsoft’s priorities (and areas of investment), which can help partners align their business strategies and offerings accordingly.
In the Microsoft Inspire keynote, Nicole Dezen, Chief Partner Officer and Corporate Vice President, Global Partner Solutions for Microsoft, announced the through-partner campaign materials supporting each play are rolling out in the coming months (campaigns that happen to be created by Bridge Partners!).
Partners are encouraged to visit the Microsoft Customer Engagement Methodology (MCEM) site for partners and download the six solution area partner playbooks for detailed GTM guidance. The 27 solution plays are detailed within those playbooks. Check out the resources, align your GTM with Microsoft’s solution plays, and develop your joint Microsoft + Partner value proposition.
Trend #3: The Year of Marketplace
The final theme was “the Year of Marketplace” which included partner incentives and co-sell opportunities for partners listing their services and solutions on the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace.
Partners transacted over 70,000 deals worth over $1 Billion through their marketplace, and industry estimates project significant growth in all marketplaces as a channel. The roadmap includes multi-party offerings to provide a platform for ISVs to partner with service providers. A Marketplace transactable offer is now a requirement for co-selling, and there are several pathways to getting listed. To learn more about the criteria for each pathway, you can visit the Marketplace publisher | Microsoft Learn.
Investigate the requirements and resources for getting listed on Marketplace, register your deals in Partner Center, and broadcast your wins. Microsoft wants to work with partners who have demonstrated success, and this will lead to a strong co-selling relationship.
Additional Partner GTM Resources
Overall, attending Microsoft Inspire enables partners to stay up-to-date with the Microsoft ecosystem, enhance their business strategies, build relationships, and leverage the collective knowledge and experience of the partner community. It is an essential event for Microsoft partners looking to grow and thrive in the Microsoft ecosystem.
The ISV and SI partners we work with often ask for help with their Microsoft GTM strategy and content. There are great tools available through the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program, but navigating the system can seem daunting. Hopefully, this blog helps a bit, but please reach out to our experts at Bridge Partners to help you elevate your partner programs.