The Missing Link
Last year, as General Manager of The Missing Link, I attended Microsoft Inspire in Washington DC. Although we have been a premium provider of information technology solutions for 20 years and a Microsoft Partner for all that time, 2017 was the first time I attended the Microsoft global conference.
Why attend in the first place?
At The Missing Link we deal with a lot of vendors but when we find one that is truly aligned to our ‘go-to-markets’, it means we can decide how much time we should invest in that specific vendor. This decision is made, not just in terms of attending conferences, but also around resources for training and making sure we’re engaged at different levels of the business. Last year we saw how closely Microsoft’s product solutions resonated with our client base and, given we are so closely aligned to Microsoft, the decision was made to attend Microsoft Inspire in 2017 thus developing and further investing in the partnership.
I am a firm believer in goal setting. In order to get the most out of Microsoft Inspire, the team at The Missing Link sat down and discussed direction and strategy. We came up with a couple of practices we were interested in developing, and from there we could focus on what we wanted to achieve at the conference. I then set as a goal for Microsoft Inspire to understand who it was that headed that particular division, what their plans were and what they looked for in a partner. (For me the idea of a successful partnership is based on equal contribution so it’s not just about what you can get from the vendor, it’s also what they want from you and that has to align for it to be a successful partnership).
Microsoft Inspire also provides unmatched opportunities for partners looking to grow their business and so the decision to attend was an easy one to make.
- It provided an amazing opportunity to engage with a diverse range of members of the Microsoft team. I got to speak to, and spend time with, key Microsoft personnel outside of the team I usually deal with. The face-to-face contact was invaluable and new relationships were developed while old ones were reinforced and strengthened.
- Attending Microsoft Inspire gave me the opportunity to take time out from the busyness of the day-to-day to find out what Microsoft’s roadmap is and think about how we can align our business strategies with that. It also allowed me to immerse myself in the Microsoft story for a couple of days so that I could take full advantage of the Vision Keynotes, sessions, workshops, panels and networking events.
- There were a lot of business style sessions that didn’t focus on the Microsoft story and their solution set. It was clear Microsoft want to invest in their partners and support them by giving them sessions that are going to actively help them grow their business and do things like develop their marketing. From a global perspective that was really interesting; there were some renowned speakers who gave amazing speeches and I took away a lot from them.
- From a personal development perspective it is always good to put yourself in a position of learning. I have been with The Missing Link for 15 years so I found it particularly useful and invigorating to be a part of something different where I could pick up new ideas and learn about ground-breaking developments and the acceleration of digital transformation. Being in a completely different environment took me out of my comfort zone and helped me learn which was an incredible bonus for my personal development.
The icing on the cake!
Looking back at Microsoft Inspire 2017 the one thing that stands out was the time I got to spend with other Australian and New Zealand Partners. Learning best practices and seeing how other businesses are doing things is incredibly valuable and Inspire provides the kind of environment that encourages such sharing.
Even though some of us are competitors in the same space, people were incredibly open about their learnings and sharing what has worked and what has failed. This kind of learning extended above and beyond how they leveraged the Microsoft partnership; it also included their solutions and their challenges, making the learning experience relatable and significant.
It is these partner-to-partner connections, the wealth and depth of learning and the opportunity to drive true business transformation for our business and our customers that has me committed to attending Microsoft Inspire 2018.
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ATTENTION GOLD CLOUD COMPETENCY PARTNERS
By attaining Gold status in a cloud competency, you’ve shown your commitment to providing your customers with the best solutions built on Microsoft cloud technology. We’d like to thank you for your achievements by extending to you the discounted price of USD1,995 for a Microsoft Inspire All Access pass when you register before March 31, 2018. This is a savings of USD300 off the current price, only for partners with a gold cloud competency like you. If you have not received your Gold Cloud Competency discount code via email, drop me an email email@example.com