Microsoft’s partner-focused Inspire 2022 has begun, with the tech giant making several new announcements, amid a period of big change for its partner program.
The company has one of the largest and most diverse partner programs in IT, with 400,000 partners employing 22 million people worldwide.
Here are some of the biggest announcements from Inspire 2022:
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Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform
A new contact center offering combines technology from Teams, Azure and other portfolio products with new speech-to-text company Nuance.
The platform integrates artificial intelligence (AI) to power self-service and live customer engagements, collaborative experiences with live and virtual agents, business process automation, fraud prevention and advanced telephony.
Nuance’s technology enhances conversational AI, security, and automation capabilities to resolve customer issues faster and with more personalized service.
Contact centers can also offer targeted incentives to improve customer loyalty and upsell opportunities for more revenue, according to Microsoft.
The platform uses AI and Microsoft’s Context IQ feature to anticipate customer demands and predict intent.
Customers are protected with integrated biometric identification, authentication and fraud prevention.
Users also receive customer journey analytics to improve experiences.
Teams connect shared channels
Inspire 2022 saw Microsoft make the Teams Connect shared channels feature generally available.
First announced last year, this feature allows Teams users to “collaborate with people inside and outside your organization in a shared space where everyone can work, chat, meet , share, co-author files and develop apps together,” Microsoft said. .
Teams Connect enables collaboration between multiple organizations.
It also allows Teams users to chat with people outside the work network with a personal account.
At last year’s Microsoft Ignite, the company’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, called Teams Connect an identity security effort.
Microsoft’s “fabric of trust” is “what makes experiences like Teams Connect possible today,” Nadella said.
“With Teams Connect, powered by our Identity Platform, you can establish seamless, secure, and reliable collaboration across organizational boundaries in minutes,” Nadella said.
Excel users can now collaborate on workbooks in real time in Teams meetings with the new Live feature.
Excel Live relies on the Live sharing in teams feature announced at Microsoft’s Build conference in May. Live sharing allows users to collaborate in a Teams meeting window.
Independent software vendors (ISVs) and developers can also build apps for Live Share with the new Teams SDK extensions.
Collaborative video clips and annotations for Teams
A new feature called Video Clip allows users to record, send, and view short videos in Teams chat and is now generally available.
Users can “capture your video and then deliver your message with just the push of a button,” Microsoft said.
With this feature, all Teams meeting participants can “draw, type, and react on content shared in a meeting using Microsoft Whiteboard’s rich set of tools.”
Early August will see the launch of Viva Goals which “is a goal setting and goal management solution that aligns teams with your organization’s strategic priorities to drive results,” Microsoft said.
Although Satya Nadella has long touted Teams as a revenue generator for the tech giant, during Microsoft’s quarterly earnings call in April, he Underline Viva as a member of “New Growth Engines to Meet the Demands of Hybrid Working”.
Teams gets Viva Engage
Microsoft used Inspire to announce a new Teams app called Viva Engage that “brings consumer-like social networking to the workplace, leveraging the power of Yammer to build community, drive engagement, and build relationships. personal networks, directly in the workflow”.
Company leaders and supervisors can share news, answer questions, and have conversations with employees through Engage.
The goal is to “build community and connection, while providing tools for self-expression,” according to Microsoft.
Azure Migration and Modernization Program Updates
Microsoft reported that more than 500 partners have signed up for its Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) on applications, data and infrastructure.
The tech giant will now offer up to 2.5x greater incentives for Windows Server and SQL Server migrations as part of a new effort for Microsoft commercial organizations to allocate them locally to their domains and offer partners more opportunities, best practice updates for the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure and Azure Well Architected Framework (WAF), and new Azure Migrate features.
Among the new features of Azure Migrate is the ability for ISVs to integrate their own intellectual property.
Last year, Microsoft announcement new security support, Azure Arc, migrations from SAP environment to Azure, and migration from Red Hat OpenShift environment to Azure as part of AMMP investment.
ISV Success Program
Microsoft has added new benefits to its ISV Success Program.
This helps independent software vendors (ISVs) build applications and publish them to Microsoft’s commercial marketplace.
The company also plans to announce industry designations for ISVs later this year,
These designations are based on performance with customers, technical maturity and customer success with the first for healthcare, retail and financial services.
ISV Success is in preview and should be widely available in the coming months.
The program can be used to access cloud sandboxes, developer tools, technical resources, business resources, and other offerings.
Participants can access nearly US$128,000 in software production benefits, Microsoft said.
In addition to the program, Microsoft updated its commercial marketplace to make margin sharing generally available.
He also announced a partnership with Tackle.io to help ISVs reach Microsoft customers.
Launch of the Azure Space partner community
A dedicated Azure Space partner community with exclusive access to technical support and scaling services launched at Inspire 2022.
Members of the space partner community include Nokia, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Airbus, SpaceX, Kratos and others.
The space partner ecosystem includes space operators, manufacturers, systems integrators, ISVs, data providers and others, Microsoft said.
Their capabilities range from connectivity to Earth observation and include ground infrastructure, virtualization, data processing, analytics and more.
Community members will receive Azure Space training, quarterly roadmap and ability to influence, and private preview programs, among other offerings.
Members receive integration of Microsoft products and add-ins with Teams, Power BI and other productivity tools, Azure Marketplace integration support, and other help.
Azure credits, sponsored accounts, and volume discounts are available for an Azure consumption commitment.
Members can participate in enterprise agreement programs such as Licensed Service Providers and Azure Online Services Government for discounts, and they can receive credits for skills and partner marketing benefits, Microsoft said. .
Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty
A new Cloud for Sovereignty, designed for the government sector, debuted at Inspire 2022.
The goal is to enable public sector customers to build and transform workloads in the Microsoft Cloud while meeting compliance, security, and policy requirements.
Customers get cloud-based resiliency, security, scalability, and capabilities, plus control over data, residency, and transparency.
The announcement comes as Microsoft invests in industry-focused cloud plans of software and tools, including clouds for healthcare, manufacturing, and nonprofit organizations.
CRN has contacted Microsoft Australia for local availability in Australia and New Zealand for all announcements.