Microsoft Inspire is Microsoft’s Partner conference. It’s to both celebrate the effort and win of Microsoft partners throughout the year and also for Microsoft to set out the partner opportunity and their areas of focus for their upcoming FY23.
It’s a really good opportunity to directly hear where Microsoft think the market is going and what they are focusing on. Which should also be your areas of focus as a partner if you want to be in with Microsoft.
Of course I follow all the Microsoft Teams/Modern workplace sessions and here are the key takeaways.
 
We didn’t hear any new numbers we haven’t heard before (maybe at Inspire in November), but there were some impressive numbers recapped:
 
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Nicole Herskowitz VP, Microsoft Teams gave a great session Unlock business growth with Microsoft Teams, where she really clearly laid out the areas Microsoft are focusing on and even how their field sellers team are being recognised in these areas.
 
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Microsoft is focusing on winning Microsoft Teams rooms with technology like front row and Intelligent Cameras. The Microsoft field metric for this is paid Teams Room licences. There was no mention if there is any preference to towards Microsoft Teams Room Premium over Microsoft Teams Room standard.
Less than 8% of the 90 million conference rooms around the world are currently video-enabled. Source: Frost & Sullivan, March 2021; State of the Global Video Conferencing Devices Market, Forecast to 2025
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Microsoft predicted that Cloud-based calling will overtake on-premises calling by 2026. Microsoft Customer Success teams are focusing on Enabling E5 customers who have the licences but haven’t yet enabled Teams Phone. Engaging with customers early in E5 renewal process to build intent to deploy Teams Phone. Selling the Teams Phone add-on to E3 customers.
Microsoft confirmed that Direct Routing is currently the most used option for PSTN connectivity in Microsoft Teams. I am confident that will move to Operator Connect being the dominant PSTN connectivity option over time.
The Microsoft field metrics here are Teams Phone revenue and the number of enabled users.
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Microsoft is looking at the opportunity of 2 Billion front-line workers worldwide. With Teams features like Shifts, Tasks, Approval, the new Updates app and no-code/low code apps are opportunities to add value here.
The field metric here is new frontline worker seats.
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Microsoft wants Microsoft Teams to be a platform for business apps and business process.  There are 1,500+ ISV applications available in the Teams’ App Store. Customers have used more than 80,000 unique custom build line of business apps in Microsoft Teams. Microsoft has also added payment options directly in the Teams app store, including in-app payments from free to paid.
Microsoft field metric is Active usage of apps in Teams.
 
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Microsoft announced their new Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform. This is not a single product/SKU, but more of a playbook combining some or all of Dynamics 365, Nuance, Power Platform, Teams, and Azure.
Microsoft stressed heavily in the launch that being open and interoperable is a priority for them. So the platform or parts of the platform can be integrated with existing contact center solutions. Indeed Nuance is already very commonly used alongside contact centers such as Avaya, Genesys, and NICE.
For more detail on Microsoft Digital Contact Center check out my blog here.
 
Excel Live allows all meeting attendees to view and interact with a workbook in real-time. Excel Live will be available for public preview in August
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Collaborative Annotations let all meeting participants draw, type, or react on top of the content being shared in the meeting powered by Microsoft Whiteboard. During desktop screen sharing, and with Annotation mode enabled, meeting attendees will see the Annotations toolbar and can start adding annotations to get input and drive discussion. Collaborative Annotations is now generally available. Learn more here.
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These capabilities will be available in public preview next month. Microsoft did a full blog on this here.
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Video clip is a new feature that allows you to easily record and send a short, lightweight video message in chat. Video clip will be in public preview in August and generally available in September.
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A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Founder and Principal at Empowering.Cloud as well as a Solutions Director at Pure IP.
Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his Tomtalks.blog, UC Today Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.
Great summary Tom. MS continue to invest in the right places. As we all move to ‘hybrid’ mode, it will be fascinating to see how the MS tech stack will develop.
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