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Microsoft Inspire 2021 Hero Announcements

Inspire is Microsoft’s annual event for you, our partners. This year’s conference illustrates ways Microsoft collaborates with you to provide a best-in-class experience for your customers. Our story for Inspire is anchored in the Microsoft Cloud and the opportunities it provides you to build differentiated solutions and grow your business.


Our key announcements this year are around 5 main themes: the digital transformation we see across industries, the future of work, innovating from cloud to edge, building a foundation for trust and security, and driving growth with the most partner-focused platform.


These 5 themes tell our connected Microsoft story and are the basis for the event session lineup.


Digital transformation across industries


Earlier this year, we announced a selection of industry-specific cloud offerings to bring together capabilities that both you and your customers need as a base for further innovation. These industry clouds are an aggregation of our solution areas represented as vertical expressions of the Microsoft Cloud. They enable organizations to rapidly build their own digital capability and ultimately improve time to value, lower costs, and increase agility.

·        Announcing Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability: a SaaS offering that enables organizations to more easily and effectively record, report, and reduce their emissions towards net zero, with plans to support water and waste tracking. The packaged offering includes SaaS offerings that connect to real-time data sources, accelerate data integration and reporting, provide accurate carbon accounting, show performance against goals, and provide intelligent insights to enable any organization to take more effective action on sustainability. Learn more in today’s blog post.


The future of work


Since the start of the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has become the new front end for a new world of work. Today, we are sharing announcements on three products that are creating new categories and new possibilities for customers and partners: Collaborative apps (Dynamics 365 + Teams), Employee Experience (Microsoft Viva), and Windows 365. Learn more in today’s blog post.


·        Windows 365: Today we are announcing that we are bringing Windows to the cloud with Windows 365. Windows 365 is a new way to deliver Windows 10 or Windows 11, streaming your personalized apps, settings, and content from the Microsoft cloud, to any device. It makes purchasing Cloud PCs easy with predictable with per-user per-month pricing, and is natively integrated across Azure AD, Microsoft Defender, Microsoft 365 applications, and Microsoft Endpoint Manager for Enterprise customers, while Business customers can leverage a simplified self-service experience on the web. Windows 365 will be available on August 2nd. Learn more in today’s blog post and partner webinar on August 18th.

·        Build collaborative apps with Microsoft Teams + Dynamics 365: In this new category of collaborative apps, customers can stay in the flow of work by getting everything done right within Teams. And for partners, they can bring in all their rich business and vertical functions directly into the Teams application. Today we are announcing that any Teams user will be able to view and collaborate on Dynamics 365 records directly within Teams, at no additional cost. This eliminates the tax that has historically held organizations back from connecting collaboration and business process, enabling organizations to bring rich Dynamics 365 experiences into the flow of work with Teams without the need to pay for multiple underlying software licenses.

Employee Experience: A first-class example of the brand-new collaborative apps you can build in Teams is Microsoft Viva. Viva puts people at the center, connecting them to company information, workplace insights, knowledge, and learning. Customers value Viva as an open platform that can be easily integrated with existing tools and systems and customized for business needs. Earlier this year, we announced a number of Viva partner integrations, and today, we are announcing the second wave of 21 Viva partnerships and new research from The Bersin Academy.



Innovate from cloud to edge


Companies are transforming their businesses using Azure. The announcements outlined below are proof of Azure’s commitment to help every organization be future ready, build on their terms, and operate hybrid seamlessly. Learn more in today’s blog post.


  • Free extended security updates for 2008/R2 and 2012 servers – only on Azure. We are announcing Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2012, free only on Azure. Customers running 2012 releases of Windows Server and SQL Server on-premises will have the option to purchase Extended Security Updates.  In addition, for customers who need more time to upgrade and modernize Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/R2, we will now provide one additional year of free extended security updates only on Azure.
  • Azure Migration Program (AMP) is now Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP): Over the last 24 months, AMP has helped 4500+ customers successfully move to Azure with the right mix of expert help and best practice guidance.  As we worked with these customers, they also asked for help with modernizing their applications. As a result, Azure Migration Program is evolving to become the Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) with expanded support for app modernization scenarios, including newly added support for Azure Spring Cloud and Azure Cosmos DB
  • Help customers operate hybrid seamlessly: With the general availability of Azure SQL enabled by Azure Arc on July 30, 2021, managed service providers using Azure Lighthouse will be able to manage cloud data services (alongside Windows, Linux, and Kubernetes) on any on-premises infrastructure or in any cloud environment a customer needs without having to change existing tools or processes.  
  • Help customers modernize datacenters with Azure Stack HCI. It’s now possible to simplify guest licensing activation with Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) and provide advanced protection across hardware, firmware, and OS with Secured-core server. We’ve also announced new partner resources and programs for Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc, including advanced specializations.


Build a foundation of trust and security


Our world is changing, and Microsoft Security is rising to the challenges of a new normal. We surpassed $10 billion in security business revenue, representing more than 40 percent year-over-year growth, and were recognized as a leader in 5 Gartner Magic Quadrants and 7 Forrester Waves. This not only demonstrates our commitment to providing best-in-class security solutions but also underscored the trust our customers have placed in Microsoft and our partners. Today’s announcements showcase our commitment to empowering our partners to be successful in building trust with customers and enabling business growth. Learn more in today’s blog post.


  • Microsoft 365 Lighthouse (now in public preview): Microsoft 365 Lighthouse provides managed service providers with one central location and standard security configuration templates to secure devices, data, and users for small and medium business customers that are using Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Specifically, Microsoft 365 Lighthouse empowers partners to quickly identify and act on threats, anomalous sign-in, and device compliance alerts. Reducing management complexity as our partners scale and driving standardization across customers will allow partners to proactively manage risks and improve the security posture for the customers.
  • Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection with Azure AD B2C: We are excited to extend the scope of protection of Azure AD B2C to include fraudulent activities by integrating Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection with Azure AD B2C. By combining the power of Azure AD Identity Protection and Dynamics Fraud Protection's account protection capabilities, customers can help protect end customers from account abuse, thus protecting their own business.
  • Applications and data: The app governance add-on feature to Microsoft Cloud App Security and an extension to the priority user group capability in Insider Risk Management to include fine-grained role-based access control (RBAC) are both now in public preview.


Drive business growth with the most partner-focused business platform


Today we made announcements reinforcing our commitment to help our partners get to market faster, build apps for every customer need, and scale through our channels to help reach new business heights. Learn more in today’s blog post.

  • Reducing transaction fees—from 20% to 3%: We are excited to announce that we are reducing marketplace fees for transactable offers from an industry standard 20% to 3% for all transactions starting this month—simple and predictable. This reduced transaction fee demonstrates our commitment to the success of partners creating value on our platform—and helps you, our partners keep more margin to invest in your growth. In addition to the transaction fee reduction, we are expanding the payment instruments available in Microsoft AppSource. This means customers have the flexibility to purchase using credit card or invoice, and ISVs can offer custom pricing using private plans.  Learn how partners can publish to the commercial marketplace.
  • Simplifying the Business Applications ISV Connect program: We are announcing simplification and enhancements to the Business Applications ISV Connect program—most notably, we are reducing the revenue sharing fees required to receive benefits and aligning to the newly announced standardized 3% transaction fee with commercial marketplace. Learn how partners can join the Business Applications ISV Connect program.
  • New build-with and go-to-market benefits for Microsoft 365: There is an untapped opportunity to build productivity and collaborative applications in the new hybrid-work reality. Microsoft is investing in helping ISVs accelerate their success with new benefits. These benefits include access to Microsoft technology, one-on-one consults with Microsoft experts to help design and build collaborative applications and employee experience about, marketing resources to scale to new customers, and support to achieve co-sell status. Learn about benefits to build Microsoft 365 apps.
  • ISVs can activate 90K+ resellers: With over 90,000 Cloud Solution Providers, this is a massive channel for our ISVs to instantly scale their application to new customers. At Microsoft Inspire we are announcing the private preview of new capabilities to help ISVs activate this channel. ISVs will be able to create new private offers to resellers (Cloud Solution Providers) and extend margin to resellers—incentivizing resellers to sell their applications. This opportunity is in private preview and will be generally available for all our ISVs and Cloud Solution Providers later this year. Get the details in this session.