Microsoft Inspire 2020

Microsoft Inspire 2020 Recap – SkyKick’s Perspective

A look back at Inspire and its impact on Partners

A few key trends emerged at Inspire 2020, Microsoft’s annual partner conference – conducted virtually for the first time ever. With the event having concluded just over a week ago, we’re taking a closer look at these emerging trends and their impact on the SkyKick Partner community.

Partners play a critical role in moving to the cloud

As we discussed in a previous blog post, MSPs have been playing a key role in supporting their customers during the COVID-19 crisis – whether managing a growing support ticket volume, dealing with cost pressures of their own, and most importantly helping their SMB clients transition to the cloud.  As customers continue to be increasingly uneasy about paying for upfront project costs, MSPs who are committed to a cloud model can become heroes for these customers. Short term dips in MSP revenue are being offset by the addition of new customers looking to engage deeper in cloud related activities. Unveiled as one of Microsoft’s key ecosystem priorities for the coming year, the move to the cloud has become a business imperative in today’s modern work scenarios. Microsoft execs pointed to the fact that it can open “up to a $200 per user per month opportunity” for Partners who execute accordingly. (Jared Spataro, CVP, Microsoft 365).

To hear Microsoft call MSPs ‘digital first responders’ was also gratifying, it clearly acknowledged the value and mission of MSPs. Justin Althoff, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Worldwide Commercial Business even stated that he’s seen more “digital transformation happen out of necessity in the last two months than we’ve seen in the last two years alone.” This bodes well for Partners’ overall role in the IT industry and ongoing investments in the MSP cloud practice.

Microsoft Teams is at the core of remote work

Also mentioned as a key priority for Microsoft’s FY 2021, is further enabling remote work – with the Teams collaboration platform being key in this effort. Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the One Commercial Partner Group, noted during her keynote that the COVID-19 pandemic has offered partners “a huge opportunity to come in with a change management and managed services mindset”  to push Microsoft 365 as the “world’s productivity cloud” for end customers. Microsoft Teams was singled out as a key linchpin for it’s service value and enabler of collaboration.

Data released at Inspire served to reinforce the incredible momentum behind the shift to remote work:

    • 4.1 billion Teams meeting minutes per day
    • 75 million daily active Teams users
    • 200 million Office 365 commercial active users globally.


As Schuster confidently stated, the pandemic has clearly “changed the way we work forever,” with MSPs at the forefront of this transition. However, all this positive momentum surrounding Teams does come with a potentially significant downside – higher risk for cloud security. Although, this too creates an opportunity for MSPs to help customers navigate solutions to enhance security and data recovery, as we’ll cover next.

Microsoft Inspire 2020

Microsoft 365 delivers on security for remote workers

Microsoft dialed in another priority – security. Microsoft delivered stats that clearly showed COVID-19 is a driver for increased IT complexity and cyberattacks.

    • The FBI reported daily cybersecurity complaints rose from 1,000 before the crisis to as high as 4,000.
    • The World Health Organization found a 5x increase in the number of attacks directed at its staff and organization.
    • Over 62% of businesses lack the skills to deal with heightened security risks

All of which, once again, highlights an global opportunity for MSPs. As Schuster indicated, security-related services provide an entry point into the MSP space – as many businesses feel they have lost control over users’ security and have a strong desire to bolster security infrastructure across desktops, data, and everything in between. As concerns mount, SMBs demand and seek out advanced security services – which has translated into a 29% increase in Partner revenues of late.

This, combined with comprehensive security services available in Microsoft 365 Business Premium has made it possible for partners to reduce their overall support and operational costs with an all-in-one solution, integrated with Office apps, and Windows to increase margins with new security offerings that tie into these features over and above the licensing cost.

Advanced security services, include:
– Endpoint Manager (formerly Intune)
– Azure Information Protection
– Windows Defender (antivirus)
– Conditional Access
– Windows Virtual Desktop

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft also announced the availability of a comprehensive Partner Kit and a variety of Microsoft 365 Business Premium resources, including consulting tools and calculators to help partners effectively move customers to and manage them in Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

SkyKick is here to help

With these priorities standing out as key messages during Inspire 2020 in mind, SkyKick reminds MSPs that our suite of offerings dovetails well into the expanded roles that Microsoft has mapped out for Partners. Whether it’s providing MSPs the automation platform to help Partners migrate SMBs to Microsoft 365, back up the full range of critical productivity data (Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams), or secure and manage Microsoft 365, Azure or other SaaS services across customers– SkyKick has you covered. Check out a few of our most popular resources linked below. We look forward to helping you accelerate your MSP practice into next year!

– Migrations: How To Perform Office 365 Migrations Remotely with SkyKick (blog post)
– Cloud Backup: MSP Guide to Selling & Marketing Cloud Backup (e-book)
– Cloud Manager: SkyKick Cloud Manager Quick Start Guide for Teams (infographic)
SkyKick Readiness Hub: Full suite of marketing assets, for registered SkyKick Partners only