​How a digitally driven Microsoft is building a channel of the future

​How a digitally driven Microsoft is building a channel of the future

Digital agenda lures new breed of partners to 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.

Satya Nadella - CEO, Microsoft

Satya Nadella - CEO, Microsoft

“That’s the change and in this new world, partners need to focus on becoming specific and creating unique IP as a result.”

Dynamics 365

Central to Microsoft’s blueprint for future growth is Dynamics 365, and its ability to provide built-in insight and intelligence within business applications, through apps such as field service, sales, finance and operations.

Following its release last week, Microsoft is bundling its CRM and ERP solutions into one new cloud platform, providing the vendor with new ammunition to gun down industry rival Salesforce.

Key to the success of Dynamics 365 will be its ability to unlock data stored in silos, and through its integration with Office 365, provide purpose-built Software-as-a-Service applications with intelligence built it.

“Each system of intelligence needs to be centred around a person and encompass anything that the person needs to do in the context of their role,” Nadella explained.

“This means removing the impedances that exist between the business solutions people work across today; breaking down barriers between productivity, collaboration and business processes; and creating a new customer-centric business model aligned to the realities of these roles today.”

Nadella said the systems of intelligence require a platform where any business or ISV can add unique value to a company’s digital transformation by extending and integrating its existing systems and business processes.

“The world is digitising and when you look ahead there is an increasing drive for better productivity and efficiency, creating a new for digital services and products,” he added.

“Business leaders, imagine a world where your employees are empowered with predictive insights, prescriptive advice and actionable next steps. IT professionals, imagine a world where you can quickly build and deploy what you want and pay for just the capabilities you need.

“Developers and ISVs, imagine a world where you can build systems of intelligence to transform business for every company of every size in every industry.

Gavriella Schuster - CVP, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group with Partner of the Year Award winners
Gavriella Schuster - CVP, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group with Partner of the Year Award winners

"Partners, imagine a world where your SaaS apps can be easily discovered by millions of customers and other partners.”


In looking ahead, Nadella predicted ongoing change in how businesses approach digital transformation, and how it will be played out in the Cloud.

As customers embark on digital deployments, the art of making bots understand natural language stands tall as the new way to utilise compute power.

Revealed at the Build developer conference earlier this year, Microsoft played out the bot use case on stage, demonstrating the value of Conversation-as-a-Platform (CaaP) and how humans and computers can form complementary ways of working, in a Man with Machine type scenario.

“Digital transformation requires the continuous wiring and rewiring of digital feedback which taps into the power of the Cloud, the power of the graph and the power of data,” he said.

“We still have to navigate operating systems, use individual applications and learn about menu structures but what if we could teach computers to understand human language.

“Everyone today who's building applications, whether they be desktop apps, mobile apps or websites, will build bots as the new interface.”


Exposing the industry further to its future way of better enabling productivity, Microsoft also made its biggest pitch yet for HoloLens to be used as a business computing device, evident through the vendor’s on stage demonstration focused around jet engine training.

In showcasing a workplace similar to a huge multi-monitor desktop setup, through the tap of a finger a jet engine model emerged, detailing the intrinsic nature of the model and how to navigate around its complex structure.

Yet this was no traditional desktop, rather played out in front of an empty table on stage, visualised through an augmented reality headset that threatens to reshape the way businesses maximise the notion of mixed reality.

“When you change the way you see the world, you change the world you see,” Nadella added.

With digital transformation at its core, Microsoft is becoming smarter as it builds the business brain of the future.

But as the ecosystem transforms in tandem, partners are faced with two options; lead or leave.

James Henderson is attending 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto as a guest of Microsoft.

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