I have many fond memories of Microsoft Inspire. Having attended Inspire the last two years its something I recommend to anyone should they have the opportunity and resources to do so. Yes, it’s in Vegas, and yes it’s super long days, next-to-no sleep and probably 20,000 plus steps a day. But you have to be there to experience it. It’s a truly immersive experience beyond anything I thought it would be. And when I think of Inspire today, I don’t particularly think of things like particular sessions, or even the speakers. I think of things like grabbing a bagel in the Tropicana on the way over the T, the route I usually took to get to the ballrooms through the Mandalay after getting off the monorail past the Luxor, or waiting in line for a cab at the Delano getting ready for a meeting at somewhere like the Aria. For me, Inspire is all about direction and logistics, evaluating how far we have come, understanding where we are all headed and how prepared we are to do so in that regard

Of course, the virtual experience this year cannot compare to the previous years – but then again, neither should it be comparable. We all now live and work in incomparable and unprecedented times and, for me, it’s a case of hats off to Microsoft for committing to a programme which will deliver over 500 high quality sessions including breakouts and ask the experts. As the experience is online and free to register, it would be interesting to see a piece on the reach and global distribution of the audience compared to other years should Microsoft ever decide to release that

In terms of Teams, there are roughly two dozen sessions which – when taking repeats into account – breaks down into seven or eight which are key. This may be surprising to some given Teams meteoric rise over the last 6 months which has seen it surpass 75 million daily active users and 200 million meeting members per day. Many would think that Teams would have more. However, the sessions which are here will be loaded and  the titles and descriptions already give us an indication of what to expect and what Microsoft need partners to focus on. Firstly, session IDB1S8 by Jared Spatero – which could be considered the Teams keynote – will focus on the success of Teams, how it is supporting business continuity, the changing workplace and may very well cover and demo new functionalities such as Together Mode and large gallery view which have been the focus of several recent M365 blogs. Secondly sessions like IDB157 with Gio Mezgec and IDB154 with Uriel Rootshtain will dig into the numbers, set out Microsoft’s targets for Teams, explore Teams opportunities and focus on practice building. Thirdly, the remainder of the sessions will hone in on specific areas Microsoft feel are the biggest opportunities and what Microsoft want partners to engage with – meetings and calling, firstline workers and Teams as a platform for apps

The theme which binds all these sessions together and the message will be clear. Teams is helping businesses, workers and Microsoft Partners survive and even thrive in these unprecedented times.

The direction will be: keep driving forward with Teams.

Sign up for Inspire today at: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/inspire

Recommended Teams Sessions

1. Helping our customers with Microsoft 365 and Teams

Session Code: IDB158
Session Page: Here

Description: COVID-19 and the global move to remote work have accelerated digital transformation trends across organizations of every size and in every industry. In the Modern Work keynote, Jared Spataro lays out the new opportunity this presents for partners with Microsoft 365 and Teams, and explores how Microsoft is reinventing productivity to help our customers meet the evolving demands of the “next normal.”

2. Working together to support SMBs with Microsoft 365 and Teams

Session Code: IDB156
Session Page: Here

Description: In recent months, small and medium-sized businesses around the globe have navigated a rapid digital transformation to remote work. These businesses are essential to the economy and Microsoft partners are uniquely positioned to help them succeed in this new normal. With Microsoft 365 and Teams, customers can enable secure remote work, simplify IT, and reduce costs. Let’s reimagine productivity with Microsoft 365

3. Go to market priorities for Modern Work and Security

Session Code: IDB157
Session Page: Here

Description: This session will cover new investments for the next year focused on partner recognition programs, co-sell go-to-market offerings, and managed services co-investment with the Microsoft 365 and Security usage incentives. Learn about new programs to both help you build new business opportunities and drive ongoing success.

4. Grow your Business with Teams

Session Code: IDB154
Session Page: Here

Description: Customers are rapidly adopting Microsoft Teams to enable secure remote work and transform organizational productivity. Join this session to learn how to leverage the latest product innovation and partner program investments

5. Build on the Microsoft Teams momentum to develop your Meetings, Calling and Devices practice

Session Code: IDB151
Session Page: Here

Description: This session will provide a product strategy update and overview of the latest innovations in Teams Calling, Meetings, and Devices. We’ll also showcase the strategies partners can leverage to identify and grow their business opportunities, along with the key investments and programs for FY21

6. Capturing the SMB UCaaS opportunity with Microsoft 365 Business Voice and Teams

Session Code: IOD181
Session Page: Here

Description: The demand for unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions is higher than ever and small and medium businesses (SMBs) have accelerated their digital transformations to accommodate remote work. Join this session to unlock new business opportunities with Microsoft 365 Business Voice, the cloud-based phone system designed for SMBs and built for productivity

7. Grow your business by enabling new Firstline Worker solutions with Microsoft Teams

Session Code: IOD185
Session Page: Here

Description: Firstline Workers are the backbone of organizations, yet they’re often overlooked and underserved in essential technology needs. Enable customers to reimagine their experience with the powerful, intuitive, and integrated capabilities of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. We will share exciting product innovations, partner opportunities with custom app development, tools, and resources you can leverage to accelerate the growth of your business in the Firstline Worker space

8. The world has gone remote: 10 steps to building a Microsoft Teams practice

Session Code: IOD120
Session Page: Here

Description: Many of your clients have shifted to working at home and communicating remotely. During the month of March alone the number of minutes spent in Microsoft Teams per day increased from 560 million to 2.7 billion. In this session you will learn best practices to capitalize on this immense opportunity and how to get started

9. Expand the reach of your apps with new opportunities in Microsoft Teams

Session Code: IDB153
Session Page: Here

Description: Customers are looking for solutions for their teams – find out how you can expand the reach of your applications with Microsoft Teams through the Marketplace, and with additional programs to drive success for your apps

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