#WPC12: WWPC 2013 (#WPC13) will be in…Houston.
Darn, I can’t wait to get mugged again like last time. July 7-11.
#WPC12: I’ll admit, I got here a bit late arriving at the start of the Kevin Turner strategy discussion. I’ve heard a few people talk about Kevin’s public speeches and comment he doesn’t get it – I disagree.
Kevin focused on what FY14 execution needs to look like but don’t kid yourself – he was pitching the Partners on Microsoft. He did an awesome job – clean, tight, meaningful. He had ton’s of good info, but here’s what I picked out:
- XP goes away April 8 FY 14. As Kevin put it, “fifteen great years, but its time to put it to sleep.”
- SQL Server 2012 is a big data platform – and that is really, really important to MS.
- Office 365 is critical to the MS Enterprise strategy and is how they think they will hold of Google
- Dynamics AX and CRM are critical components to their productivity strategy as line of business apps. In fact, the slide said “We have to win with AX and CRM”. Hope you GP, SL and NAV partners hear that message. Time to start thinking about product expansion, services commoditization, or opex efficiencies.
- Sever 2012 is targeted straight at the heart of VMWare ESX
- System Center 2012 is going to be increasingly important to manage the plethora of devices and services being used in the enterprise, including those not run by a MS product.
- And, finally, keep repeating after me, Windows 8…Cloud…Windows 8…Cloud….Windows 8…Cloud…
- Kevin, I know you are closet TDOR fan and I thank you for it. You did an AWESOME job today – thanks for the preso.
- More later.
#WPC12: Lots of good content today but I spent most of my time with SQL Server looking at its big data capabilities and PowerView.
Without going into huge detail, suffice it to say that SQL12 is a much bigger release than you may think, providing an array of capabilities greater than I’ve seen in any other release. xVelocity in memory storage, tabular and dimensional data models, much bigger integration to Sharepoint, PowerView for data visualization, massive upgrade to SSRS, data streaming and adapters to Hadoop as the big data platform of choice. I could spend the next two years of my life buried in this product and still come away challenged and happy. I can’t wait.
The big news for AX…MS will now start (in September) selling AX under Enterprise Agreements. Partner margins for the next 12 mos will be 25% – that’s right, 25%. They then go down to 10% the following year unless you hit certain EA revenue targets (about $500K to MS). In addition, MS plans to continue strengthening the MS consulting capabilities in AX to provide service to the Enterprise Accounts.
Oh, wait….what’s that noise? I think it’s the collective jaws of the large Dynamics partners hitting the floor as they watch their existing business model disappear.
Its going to take a while for us all to work out what the EA announcement really means, but I think we can make some assumptions:
- We need to behave more like System Integrators and Global System Integrators (see the SAP business model as an example)
- The SMS&P market will be more about volume
- Presales will become more about services not product – MS will take the heavy lifting on product.
- Services gross margins will be critical but, at the same time, everyone is going to continue competing aggressively for CRM and AX resources – against each other and against MCS – driving costs ever higher and pushing down gross profit. Alternative methods for finding resources will be critical so start thinking about my previous comments about college recruiting.
#WPC12: Funniest demo failure…ever.
I have no idea what the guys name was, but we was a member of the MS research lab and was part of the last portion of today’s MS Keynote. He was demonstrating MS Translation and Photosynth (on-camera phone used to translate other languages and an on-camera photo stitching tool, respectively). During the demo, he repeatedly made fun of his boss, had a video connection failure, and got two failed (or really slow) demos. Never lost his cool, kept cracking jokes, and had the audience in stitches.
Anyone that thinks MS may be falling behind really needs to hit http://www.digitalwpc.com and see their preso. Big data exposed via Bing Maps, MAVIS used to do video and audio content indexing, Kinnect being used as a portable 3D scanner connected to a 3d printer creating physical models of the scanned object, Ubi projecting Kinnect so you get a touch screen experience on ANY surface and Illumishare to allow vitual sharing of physical objects via a USB plug in that looks like a lamp.
I am impressed. Makes me wish I was smart and 20-something again so I could go work with those guys.
#WPC12 : Huge energy to start the morning with an oddly face painted band called the Tribals screaming a drum driven rock anthem while the Partners of the Year marched to the stage looking as cool as middle aged, white fat guys can when confronted with live rock music. No fire and no bikes, so that was a pleasant change.
The big message on server is that Windows Server 2012 RTMs in August with GA in September. They demonstrated the Azure management portal (very cool) and the new System Center 2012 product that allows centralized management of systems across public, provider or private clouds. Sounds esoteric, but trust me, its really cool.
Kirill’s session on Dynamics was a 22min stomach emptying barf of absolutely nothing. No new announcements. No new features. Nothing relevant for Windows 8 either than some mockups that looked live but weren’t.
I nodded off when it came to Public Sector. Sorry.
Next preso was on Windows Phone 8. Apparently it will make you cooler, smarter, and better looking. For that alone, I’m going to buy one (I need all the help I can get). The big announcements, imho, are:
1. Encryption: Using a combination of BitLocker and a few other things, they are promising enterprise grade security and encryption.
2. Private app publishing: Partners and customers can privately publish apps without exposing them in the Marketplace. That’s a big problem resolved for internal development efforts.
All kidding aside, I’ve been a Droid user for 3 years. I’m dumping Droid and moving the WP 8 as soon as its out – its that awesome.
#WPC12:As you can imagine, a ton of stuff on Windows 8. I managed to hit 3 that had nothing to do with 8.
Nothing of huge significance, but some nicely done fine tuning. Sharepoint drops to what is essentially a single competency, combining Content and Collaboration. Digital Marketing gets reinvented and very Bing oriented. Application Development is added and covers ALL development while ISV gets collapsed into the relevant application competencies and disappears as a standalone. Small Business is added (read that as focusing on Office in the cloud for small biz) and, finally, Dekstop is renamed Devices and Deployment.
Attracting Fresh Young Talent
Presented as a panel discussion by the MS Canada Mach program, this was advertised as a briefing on how to recruit college kids. The panel members were all recent college grads working for MS and were all very excited about their jobs.
Rant follows: However, MS still doesn’t get it. Hiring college grads is awesome and works brilliantly, but they get that we can’t do it the same way they do because WE AREN’T FRIGGIN’ MICROSOFT. Don Morton’s group, abysmally underfunded, is the only team at MS that understands this – everyone else just f****g preaches. I think its about time Don got some funding from MPN. Or, at a minimum, MS needs to get a speaker that has actually done this before. Me, of course.
Sharepoint Social Networking
With the announced acquisition of Yammer, MS is a credible player in the corporate social networking space. The purchase is so new that they have no road map yet, but look to a complete re-imagining of My Sites and collaboration much sooner than a standard release cycle would normally permit.
#WPC12: Andy V talking about the benefits of MPN.
#WPC12: Just finished with the keynote. A predictable event chock full of Ballmer energy, weak marketing-run corporate humor (was it really funny that Roskill came in on a bike?), and introduced by a well executed but astonishingly random Cirque du Soleil performance (fire and drums as a metaphor for MS commitment to partners?).
Looking past that, the content was solid. Here’s what I picked out:
1. Office 365 Open licensing: We can now resell on our own invoice O365. Not certain if CRM is included in this (it should be), but this is a big step.
2. Social Enterprise and Office 15. They are hanging a lot of hopes on both, esp Yammer and Sharepoint. As a big fan of SP and new adoptee of Yammer, I think this is well guided.
3. Windows 8: Tami Reller did a fantastic hands on overview, with surprisingly good detail, on feature set and new hardware devices. GA is Oct – color me smitten.
4. MS = Hardware: Ballmer announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel, a cutting edge large format, touch screen hardware vendor. Think Surface on steroids on a wall. It is just flat out AWESOME.
I’m in Toronto at WPC 2012 to find out what new delights Microsoft has in store for us (lower margins? MCS competing against us in AX deals? Another cut in partner benefits?). The keynote starts in 15 min, but a few thousand aren’t going to make it - MS only setup about 10 registration lines at Air Canada Centre to service the 20,000 attendees.