Microsoft Inspire 2017 recap

Hard to believe it has already been a month since our whirlwind week in Washington D.C. for Microsoft’s Inspire (formally known as WPC). We loved every minute of this year’s Inspire and are already making plans for 2018 in Vegas.

With preparations underway, we’re taking a moment to reflect on this year’s event and the moments we’re still talking about: from great Partner conversations at our booth; to Microsoft’s encouraging message of Partners first; to the numerous Partner appreciation events we held during the week. It was another amazing year.


An Inspiring Inspire

July 9: Partner Connect Workshop

We hit the ground running with a jam-packed Sunday, welcoming approximately 30 SkyKick partners to our 2nd Annual Partner Connect Workshop. The event brought together SkyKick executives from Marketing and Product to discuss how partners could accelerate their cloud sales. DSC01502.jpg

VP of Marketing, Chike Farrell, and Sales Director, AJ Briant, kicked off the session with a look across the partner network and key challenges Partners reported in 2017 around:

  1. Technology
  2. Selling & Marketing
  3. Business Transformation & Customer Strategy
  4. Operational Efficiency

Up next was SkyKick’s Product team, to discuss product innovation. The team focused on three key areas: Efficiency, Profitability, and Customer Value.DSC01637.jpg

Attendees were the first at Inspire to see a live demo of our new Migration Suites Dashboard and Cloud Backup updates. The 2-hour workshop ended with a Partner led Q&A session.


July 9: Partner Celebration

From one event to the next, we dashed across downtown D.C. to the W Hotel for our rooftop Partner Celebration, where almost 600 partners and guests joined SkyKick for the best views in D.C. …and one heck of a party. DJ AXL (all the way from Dusseldorf, Germany) kept the house vibes going until 1:00am. It was a real treat to connect, relax, and kick off Inspire2017 with our amazing Partners. Below are just a few highlights from the event.


July 10: Cloud, Security, and the Future of Tech- What Every CEO Needs to Know

Probably one of the more awe-inspiring and humbling experiences we had at Inspire this year was being invited to host an off-the-record (sorry, no photos or details) discussion with visionary leaders across cloud, tech, and security at one of the world’s leading non-partisan thinktanks – Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Hosted by our co-CEO’s Todd Schwartz and Evan Richman, Dr. John Hamre from CSIS, and moderated by global tech investor Navin Thukkaram, we welcomed some of our top Partners to join our world-class panelists from private and public sectors, for this special cloud event.

Joining us for this event, were panelists:

profile-Gavriella-sm.png Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft’s Corporate VP on the new One Commercial Partner team, who is responsible for global partner channels and programs.
profile-Cartwright-sm.png General James Cartwright, retired general and former Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, before being nominated and appointed as the 8th Vice Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the nation’s second highest military officer.
profile-KT-sm.png Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the Chairman of Spitzberg Partners LLC and former Minister of Economics and Technology and then as Minister of Defense in the cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The panel covered a variety of topics, pertinent to the world’s advancement in cloud infrastructure and social responsibility and dug deep into how Microsoft, SkyKick, and our Partners will, and can, play a center role in global security and the future of the cloud.

July 9 – 12: Booth Demos & New SkyKick Product Features

It was hard to find a moment of downtime at the SkyKick booth, which kept us energized and fueled for great conversations and interactions with Partners all week long.

SkyKick is always innovating to bring Partners more ways to save time and increase profitability. Inspire is a great opportunity for us to have these invaluable discussions – and this year was no different. Heading into Inspire we were eager to show Partners updates to our Migration Suites and Cloud Backup.

demo.jpgPartner feedback at the booth was welcomed with an echoing theme around “transparency and control.”  As our capabilities have grown over the years, we’ve enabled a lot more features in our Migration Suites. Our new Migration Dashboard exposes Partners to numerous scenarios and choices, all with a clean new look, that puts the Partner in control and offers greater transparency to reduce risk. Partners can feel confident that their customers’ migrations are on track every step of the way.

We also talked quite a bit about Cloud Backup this year, as we’ve added more depth and functionality to Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint for backup and restore. Partners were shown they can now browse through mailboxes and OneDrive folders with our powerful search functionality, saving time and mitigating customer concerns faster than before. In addition, we unveiled how we’re continuing to make our licensing simpler, by breaking out our bundles to create a OneDrive-only license at the user level.

Partners First

Microsoft wowed Partners with several keynotes detailing how they plan to help Partners capitalize on a digital transformation in the cloud; one that will not only be Partner-focused, but Partner led. Just how great is this transformation? Microsoft estimates a $4.5 trillion market opportunity.  Day 1 of Inspire was the launch of Microsoft 365 – “… a new set of commercial offerings that brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security.”

Mircosoft revealed other Partner-focused applications and infrastructure, like the expansion of the Azure eco system; co-selling opportunities; embeddable business application services; and the re-alignment of all Partner-facing roles within Microsoft to ensure a, “…Build-With, Go-To-Market, and Sell-With” strategy is executed moving forward.

This Partner-focused obsession resonated very well with us. Since SkyKick’s inception, we’ve remained steadfast in our desire to be a 100% Partner-focused. Which means we never compete, only compliment, Partner efforts for a more profitable cloud business.

In less than 2minutes, see what some of our Partners had to say about SkyKick and our Partner-focused commitment at this year’s Inspire.


So many great moments to look back on from this year’s event. We truly had a wonderful time and know Inspire 2018 will be even bigger and better.



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