Public sector verticals emerged as key target markets for Microsoft at this year's Australian Partner Conference in Port Douglas.
"In the small to medium business space as well as the enterprise space, public sector is a major strategy for us; they are important customers and partners for us," recently installed Microsoft director of small and mid-market solutions and partner group, Paul Voges, said.
At the three-day event the healthcare industry in particular was highlighted with keynote presentations offering video glimpses and demonstrations of Microsoft's vision - based predominantly on unified communications, SilverLight and Surface to automate business processes within the vertical.
"We see a big opportunity and that is why we innovated on that line. We want to get the message across that health is important, as is education," Voges said. "Coincidentally and perhaps not coincidentally, the two major areas of interest for the Rudd Government coming in were health and education, so we do see an opportunity there."
While a strong focus was maintained on products like the soon-to-be-launched Small Business Server 2008, other notable themes to emerge included an emphasis on innovation, corporate social responsibility (or as Microsoft calls it 'citizenship'), software-as-a-service (or software plus services) and green IT.
"The things I want to encourage is when they [partners] think about business opportunities is to also think about the impact on some of the social issues that we face," Voges said.
He added small business was a "huge opportunity" and pointed to the fact SMBs make up the vast majority of the Australian business population.
"It's one of the great things of Australian business and where you get a lot of the best innovation," Voges said. "People have the entrepreneurial spirit in the country to innovate."
More than 680 delegates from 300 companies attended the Microsoft Partner Conference at the Sheraton Mirage Resort.
Trevor Clarke travelled to the Microsoft Australian Partner Conference as a guest of Microsoft.