Wrap up | Microsoft Strategy Outlook FY23 | Speaker slides
Entering more rooms in the house
On September 8th 2022, the partner ecosystem of Microsoft Denmark and Iceland gathered virtually and physically to get insights on new technology, products, and the latest trends and tendencies. 600 representatives from the partner organizations were taken through the highlights of the global Microsoft Inspire event held in July.
Microsoft Strategy Outlook was all about zooming in on the Danish and Icelandic markets and reflecting on how to optimize collaboration with our partners to help the customers leverage market opportunities the best way possible. Director for Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft Denmark, Morten Kvist Thomsen, hosted the hybrid partner event and moderated the dialogue around a wide range of topics, from product news within Azure to possibilities within the public sector and the newest Microsoft cloud partner program for Danish and Icelandic partners. CEO of Microsoft Denmark and Iceland, Nana Bule, entered the stage as the first speaker giving an update on megatrends affecting Microsoft and partners:
“Looking at the world today, the one word to describe it is ‘uncertainty’. We experience a cocktail of high inflation, rising material & energy prices, labour shortage – while at the same time, some industries show strong financial growth,” Nana Bule summarized before addressing the opportunities:
“Customers across the public and private sectors look to digitization to navigate this uncertainty. Both for optimizing operations and logistics, driving energy savings, and automating productions to mitigate the lack of employees,” she concluded.
Next up, Morten Kvist Thomsen gave a brief introduction to the outcome of the fiscal year 2022 taking a deep dive into the priorities shaping the coming year. One of the initiatives has a direct impact on the collaboration with partners in Denmark and Iceland: “To make collaboration with you simpler and easier, we have decided to upgrade our Partners Programs. In October, we launch the new partner program, where we have aligned the cloud partner program to our six solution areas to make it easier for you to navigate and collaborate when we go to market together,” he explained.
Product news from the Go-To-Market Managers
The next part of the program was all about new features and market insights from the solution areas. Sebastian Karlsson, Go-To-Market Manager for Azure & Data+AI, was first in line and shared the result of a small research his team did on LinkedIn. Here, they looked at how many people tagged Azure as a skill compared to competing solutions. They found that twice as many people had tagged Azure.
Kit Ingwersen, Go-To-Market Manager for Modern Work, went on stage to unfold her business area. She introduced the audience to three work patterns in the market: 1) ‘Enabling hybrid work’, when organizations empower their employees to work flexibly across time and space. 2) ‘Bringing collaborative experiences into the flow of work’ about data flows, business processes and workflows. And 3) ‘Creating the digital employee experience’, about making strong connections between the mission and the organizational culture while supporting the well-being of the employees.
Diving deeper into the area of Modern Work, Sonia Blanco-Hansen, the Go-To-Market Manager for Devices, presented the latest development within Surface. Here, she explained how Microsoft keeps improving its devices.
“With our launch in February 2022, we have included the learnings from the COVID-19 period to enable people to have the right device for any work setting: Surface Duo 2 for when you’re on the go, Surface Hub 2S for the hybrid meeting or Surface Laptop 4 for the busy business traveller,” she listed.
To present Business Applications Go-To-Market Manager for Dynamics 365 & Power Platform, Christian Koch-Bentzen was up next. He underlined the key focus areas for FY23 Business Applications Go-To-Market:
“With the strong AI capabilities from Azure and collaboration tools from M365 becoming more natively integrated with Dynamics365, we truly have a unique platform to drive digital transformation with our customers, setting us apart from all competition,” he concluded.
Lastly, Security and Compliance were covered by Kristoffer Rosenmeier, Senior Specialist Sales Manager for Security & Compliance, who talked about how the customers’ challenges within focus, people and skills can be turned into a possibility for Microsoft and partners:
“With the right technology and the partners in place, we can solve the first challenge by understanding where to focus and how to go about it. When it comes to both people and skills, no customer can succeed without our partners. And Microsoft can’t succeed without you,” Kristoffer Rosenmeier underlined.
How do we win customers over – together?
From the product-focused news to another crucial topic for both Microsoft and partners: How to win customers over - together. The subject was covered in a panel debate with Peter Skov, Enterprise Business Lead, Maria Damborg Hald, Public Sector Lead and Kristian Johansen, SMC Lead.
The three panellists shared their perspectives on how they see their segment in an FY23 context, focusing on main priorities, pain points, and solutions. “I believe we have the most coherent platform in the market. Going all the way from our collaboration platform to the data platform, AI, infrastructure, CRM, ERP, low-code/no-code platforms, process optimization, and industry cloud – there is full coherence. We must leverage this advantage together with you because it is our value proposition in the market,” Peter explained.
Maria shared some of the market trends in the public sector in Denmark, which affect the coming year for Microsoft and partners: “The health sector is right now experiencing strong demands from the five regions, but also from the extended health sector, such as larger municipalities. As you know, we are facing a very serious lack of labour, which is felt deeply in our healthcare sector. They are in desperate need of new ways of delivering healthcare solutions to the public,” she said before stressing the importance of a strong partner ecosystem in situations like this:
“We, together, as an ecosystem, can help the health sector by providing them with new ways of delivering health services,” she ended.
The last segment was covered by Kristian Johansen, leading the sales team Small, Medium & Corporate in Microsoft. Kristian talked about the main priorities within SMC:
“What it really comes down to in my segment is orchestration: How can we work together in a smarter and more structured way?“ Kristian said. He also shared his perspective on the development in the coming years and what demands Microsoft hear from the SMC segment: “In order for the municipalities to really lift their service obligations in the next ten years, they need help with their digital transformation. That’s not just an opportunity for us – it is an obligation. We must work super close together and do it in a smart way to be able to jointly solve these challenges for the 50-60 smaller municipalities across Denmark and Iceland. So let this be an invitation: We are open for business,” Kristian rounded off.
Rooms in the house
The following important question was: How then do we become better at opening more rooms in the house together? Meaning; how can Microsoft and partners be in dialogue with various business units within the same organization?
Peter Skov said: “We will still be engaging with IT, but we will also engage with new rooms of the house, such as R&D, marketing, sales, manufacturing etc. We do that because many decisions and the inspiration we need to drive customers forward will not come from IT alone, but from various stakeholders across the organization,” Peter explained.
Maria stressed how partners play an essential role when Microsoft enters new sales dialogues: “The connections you have are typically very strong. And you are speaking to other people than we are. So, I think we should leverage that opportunity and compare notes”, she said.
Peter concluded: “We need to acknowledge that our customers are not necessarily buying the product or the workload - they are buying solutions to their pains. Therefore, we need to understand carefully: What are their pains, what are the industry trends, and what happens in the particular room of the house that they belong to? Before we engage with customers, we need to engage with you – our partners,” he said.
Collaboration through sales and customer success
The last two presentations brought the partners up to date with specialist sales and customer success. The first on stage was Thomas Kjærsgaard, Director of the Specialist Team Unit.
“We don’t have the answers to many of the questions and challenges we hear from our customers. We know the answer lies with you. And we also know the answer lies somewhere between solutions and products. We need to explore this opportunity,” Thomas said.
Crilles Jansen, Director of Customer Success, introduced the audience to the latest trends in customer success. He elaborated on how the unit is working to ensure the best possible use of Microsoft technologies:
“While the customers are still excited about the innovations we bring to market, we step a little closer to advising them even better on how our technology can be used right. We do that using any experience or insight that we have from that particular customer. Both in terms of how they build the solution in the most optimal way or help them assess the skills needed when the customer eventually manages and operates these solutions themselves,” Crilles explained.
All in all, Microsoft Strategy Outlook geared the partner ecosystem to better leverage the market opportunities and each other’s strengths. Morten wrapped up the hybrid event by speaking directly to all partners:
“You are one of the most important differentiators for Microsoft in the strong competition
we are facing out there. And we have a real chance to accelerate the partnership and the business opportunities that we have together,” he said in a closing remark.