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Loving Las Vegas – tech takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2018

Las Vegas

More than 17,000 attendees, from 132 different countries, came together in the middle of the Nevada desert last week, for the annual Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas.​ Owais Ahmed, Cloud Solutions Architect for Halian, was there.

Microsoft Inspire, the conference aimed at Microsoft partners, is always a great opportunity to celebrate successes and identify future trends, gaining a better understanding of what tech topics will lead industry conversation in the near future. There are even one or two other things to do in Vegas itself, I hear.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave attendees food for thought during his excellent keynote. Aside from discussing Microsoft’s continually impressive growth (they’ve recently topped $100billion in revenue for the first time), he touched on the ethics of AI and the need for a ‘digital Geneva Convention’ when it comes to ensuring best practice in thorny areas like data security and user privacy.

As Halian’s ‘man on the ground’ in Vegas, it was great to see how much of the conversation (whether in speeches, breakout sessions or panel discussions) was dominated by subject matter which is so closely tied to what we’re doing around the world. Here are a few tech takeaways from an excellent (inspiring even) event:

Customer security is top priority for businesses

It looks like cybersecurity and data security will be a big focus again this year, with Microsoft security solutions seeing a huge increase in adoption in 2018. Privacy and security for customers is at the forefront of business strategy, as partners look to restore consumer faith in corporate data management, as well as shore up common security weaknesses. And in case you’d forgotten about GDPR, how it will be applied in different regions was a question on the lips of many.

Organizations need a strong roadmap for cloud migration

SQL Server and Windows Server 2008/R2 are coming to the end of their lives as usable systems. Just an example that indicates an upcoming rush in migrations to Azure, where Halian has recently carried out a large numbers of SAM assessments. It’s assessments like these which will be leveraged to provide customers with a roadmap for successful migration to the cloud. It’s interesting to see how Azure Managed Service Providers enjoy more growth and drive more cloud adoption than ‘pure’ SIs. There’s a market opportunity for partners to build and run MSP practices.

Datacenter launch is coming to MEA

OK, you’ve got me. This might not have been the headline news of Microsoft Inspire, but considering Halian’s presence in Africa and the Middle East, hearing that the MEA and Gulf Area focus is almost completely on datacenter launch was really exciting. It will be a big year for the region with launches in South Africa and UAE. Stay tuned.

What’s the bigger picture?

The International Data Corporation recently suggested that come 2019, technology spend will be $1.7trillion. For Microsoft Partners like Halian, who understand and can act on this amazing digital opportunity and show customers how to transform their companies, they should be well-positioned to capture a share of this spend. And after Microsoft Inspire 2018, I’m excited to see Halian playing a big part in companies’ ongoing digital transformation journeys for a long time to come.