This is the first part in a 3-part series about Microsoft Inspire. Read Part 2 here and Part 3 here
 
Microsoft’s annual partner conference, Inspire, is around the corner –  Microsoft’s position, and I’d agree, is that it’s essential attendance for any partner who’s in the Microsoft ecosystem, whether you are deploying, reselling or developing your own solutions (we do all three).  Let me explore the who and the why.
 
Microsoft is all we do as an organisation, so Inspire is a good fit for us, but it’s not entirely practical to ship thirty people off to Las Vegas so:


Who should go and why?

Inspire is not a technical conference: if you’re technically focused then Ignite is the conference for you – or consider specialist deep-dive events such as the Business Apps Summit in Seattle.

Based on 5+ years of attending Inspire, it is an event designed for those members of your organisation that form part of the leadership, marketing and sales teams.  We aim to take representatives from across all three teams.

Leaders and marketeers can expect to hear Microsoft’s key focus for the FY ahead: using this knowledge you can evaluate how to align with Microsoft’s marketing efforts and then support their local team in achieving their goals, and in return that local team can support you.

Our Sales team have created a good partner-to-partner network: even though we are based out of the UK we deliver SharePoint & Microsoft 365 work for partners in the USA, Canada and Australia as well as the UK, and we use Inspire to reinforce those relationships as well as build new ones.

How we engage the rest of the team?

Given that 90% of our organisation won’t be attending, we look to engage the rest of our team in various ways to ensure the learnings are shared and the value maximised.

Prior to the event we circle around and speak to our leadership team to understand what they would like us to understand – that could be understanding the roadmap of supporting vendor technologies, such as our partner SkyKick, or working out how we increase the depth of our engagements with our strategic partners.

During Inspire, straight after each meeting or keynote event, we record a short video which we snappily call “Insights on Insight” – these are often filmed in hotel lobbies, in the back of an Uber or once in a casino – until security disagreed with our filming location.

These short videos are uploaded into our intranet using Microsoft Stream – ensuring the top of mind content quickly gets captured and distributed, allowing our team to continue the conversation through our intranet.

In my next post I explore 5 Ways to make the most out of the conference

Originally published June 18 2019, Updated July 10, 2019

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