Inspire 2019 Overview: The expansion of 2018's projects and visions

Despite coming out of the gates with a relatively anti-partner stance on software licensing, Microsoft used its Inspire 2019 conference to bolster this year's new features and partner support for the various products it's looking to embolden resellers with such as Azure Lighthouse, the expansion of the Intelligent Security Association program, new ISV Connect applications and more.

During the course of the opening day, various Microsoft executives touched upon how partners can take advantage of new monetization models, rewards programs for partners who publish SaaS software and services built on one more of Microsoft's clouds which include Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 Power Platform and of course Azure.

Speaking of Azure, there are new AI programs partners can leverage such as the Microsoft AI for Cultural Heritage which is part of the AI for Good program, used to help preserve and celebrate people, languages, places and historical artifacts from around the globe.

There were new Cloud Adoption frameworks introduced at Inspire this year which should greatly benefit partners who need to walk clients through their transition to the cloud. Going a step beyond, Microsoft is also providing an Acclerate program partners can opt into if they would like to create and bring their own AI solutions to market quicker which will leverage Azure machine learning, Knowledge Minning and other AI apps and agents.

Microsoft executives also spoke about the availability of a new open-source Quantum Developer Kit and  Azure Kinect developer kit.

Perhaps, the biggest news out of Inspire 2019 for the casual participant was the milestone Microsoft Teams reached for daily active users. The company was proud to announce that Teams had just crossed the 13 million daily active user mark.

After just over two years in the market, Microsoft Teams now has 13 million daily active users (DAUs) and 19 million weekly active users (WAUs). In addition, Teams is also now available in 52 languages across 181 markets, empowering a global workforce. Some of the world’s most successful and innovative companies are now using Teams, including The Adecco Group, Lexmark, KONE, and McCann Worldgroup.

Not only is reaching 13 million a huge marker for Teams, but today also marks the first time Microsoft has released daily and weekly active user numbers. We'll see if the trend continues. There were other Teams related news that include new prioritization features coming to the platform, as well as integrating contact center solutions into Teams and a partner-led Microsoft Teams trial.

Last up were some references to Microsoft's Software and Systems Academy which helps to train and transition U.S. Service members and veterans has now reached to 14 locations in North America.

The continued expansion of the Military Affairs Hiring Partner program will ensure that MSSA can reach its goal of graduating 1,000 participants a year, helping to transform the face of the IT industry.

There is plenty to take away from this year's Inspire conference by the biggest throughline appears to be Microsoft's continued expansion of most of its existing projects while rolling steamrolling on with its push to get partners to push its Azure cloud services as the backbone to most of its current and new technologies, however, with the new rules to licensing, it'll be interesting to see how proficient its partners become over time with the new software and programs.

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