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In this Podcast, Microsoft Inspire 2019 Takeaways.. Just Wow, we discuss…

1:40Takeaway 1: Microsoft Teams
6:00Takeaway 2: Moving current business applications to the cloud
8:37Takeaway 3: Continuation of user rights licensing for Microsoft partners


Danny Ryan: It’s Friday, August 2nd and today I sit down with Jeff Meyer, VP of Solutions from ThreeWill and we talk about the three takeaways from the Inspire Conference. Enjoy. 


 Hi and welcome to the Work Together Better Podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan. This is ThreeWills official podcast about enterprise collaboration. How people, process, and technology combine to help organizations, departments, and teams work together better. 


 Hello, I am here with Jeff Meyer, the VP of Solutions for ThreeWill. How are you doing, Jeff Myer? 


Jeff Myer: I am great, Danny Ryan. 


Danny Ryan: VP of Solutions for ThreeWill. 


Jeff Myer: Always good to see you and talk to you. 


Danny Ryan: It’s good to be here in person. This is cut number two, right? Now. 


Jeff Myer: Yes. 


Danny Ryan: We were doing it via the Internet and now we’re going to be doing it via the same room and all together now. 


 So, let’s do this. We want to follow up from one of those conferences with an I. Ignite. Not inspire. Inspire, not ignite. 


Jeff Myer: Alright. Let’s just be quiet and start over. 


Danny Ryan: Okay, let’s go. Let’s just … let’s just get … let’s just get into this. 


 Three takeaways that you have from Inspire, the Inspire Conference. You’re shaking your head now. 


 Give me the first takeaway. What do you have for the first takeaway? 


Jeff Myer: Danny, I think one of the most exciting things I heard about was the modern workplace initiative at Microsoft and how ThreeWill and other Microsoft partners can participate in that. Within that, I think that the things that are going on with Microsoft teams are really exciting. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: It’s the fastest growing piece of software that Microsoft has ever released. I was surprised to hear that. It’s social media integration and ability for companies to work on projects together and share information, and keep from filling up your inbox and your email, and actually placing the conversations around the documents that you’re working on is very powerful. 


 It seems like there’s a lot of opportunity for companies like ThreeWill to do a lot of development of business applications and Surface PowerApps and Power BI type information within teams. It’s becoming a very powerful environment for us to build business applications on. 


Danny Ryan: It’s taken off as a product, lots of discussions about it inside of Microsoft, sounds like it’s very … an important topic of discussion. I guess there’s something I haven’t talked to you about is, is this rolling into their scorecard for next year? Was there any discussions? Was there just a lot of like, this is coming, or was there things that they are concretely trying to happen at Microsoft? 


Jeff Myer: Good question. There’s a lot of things coming. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: ThreeWills built a lot of applications on Share Point over the years and now we can build applications on teams in very much the same fashion that we do that. There’s new releases of things that makes teams easier to navigate and new features around voice that are all very exciting. And yes, on their scorecard, it’s about Microsoft 365. 


Danny Ryan: Okay. 


Jeff Myer: And teams is going to increase consumption for Microsoft folks. 


Danny Ryan: And that was one of the things that you had picked up as a Microsoft … one of the things that we do at these conferences is to understand where Microsoft is going over the next couple of years. I think one of the things, besides teams, that you picked up on and how it’s taking off right now, is the transition over to the Microsoft 365 brand. Calling a lot of … basically bundling everything up together and pulling it together into a central brand. 


 I wonder, when I think about this, Tommy and I been talking about different … migrating from different platforms over to Microsoft 365 and one of the things that we came out of it with was how the real competitor with a lot of this stuff is Salesforce, how they have a lot of different products that sort of like … and it’s the overarching brand that they’re competing with them. Same thing with Google, is that they … a lot of … there’s a lot of overlap and how Microsoft is trying to pull together their whole solution, talk about all of what they have to offer underneath this one Microsoft 365 term. 


Jeff Myer: Yeah, you’re absolutely right, Danny. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: We first heard about Microsoft 365 last year at the conference and it was presented to us in the form of a bundle of different Microsoft pieces of software and cloud based applications. This year the message was, I would say, more pronounced on Microsoft 365. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: And not so much about the bundle, but about these applications and technologies are much more powerful together. You can have Microsoft 365, but if you don’t have Windows 10, you don’t have Azure AD, you don’t have the identity components, you have a half-baked solution. So Microsoft 365, besides being an attractive price point with the bundle, it just brings it all to light. 


Danny Ryan: I actually … I just saw this last year or the year before, and we’ll get into number two in a second here, but, I heard a talk from Chris Capossella where he was talking about why they’re moving to Microsoft 365. It was very early on, where they were thinking about making this move and just interesting to see it come in to form now. Then also as a partner, just thinking about what does that mean to us and how we go out and communicate to the world what we do. 


 Number two. 


Jeff Myer: Modernization and, as I mentioned, the ability to build business applications. But what I’m referring to in this case is moving current business applications to the cloud. 


Danny Ryan: Okay. 


Jeff Myer: Some organizations have begun doing that in the last couple of years. In a lot of cases it’s been an edict from the CIO or an order from the CFO that says, let’s reduce our costs. Let’s get everything into the cloud by a certain date. Let’s close the data center. A lot of things were picked up and lifted and shifted into the cloud, but not necessarily redesigned to be leveraging the cloud services. 


Danny Ryan: Okay. 


Jeff Myer: So, as far as cost containment and reducing the costs of running the business, I don’t think that companies have hit all their goals. So now its a chance to go back, look at that, and say can we redesign these applications to use Azure services, to use some of the PowerApps, some of the things that we’re seeing in the modern workplace initiative and really reduce our costs by leveraging the cloud. 


 If you combine that way of thinking with the end of life for Windows Server 2008, which is coming up in January, 2020 and SQL Server 2008, which support was just dropped for that in June. There’s a lot of things that companies need to do right away in order to take advantage of the cloud and keep their applications viable and move them into the next generation. 


 For ThreeWill, that modernization is an opportunity for us to help our customers achieve better results by using the cloud. 


Danny Ryan: So, now the opportunity is, is even for the ones who’ve made the move is to, perhaps, start to take advantage of some of the Azure services that are being put out by Microsoft and perhaps re-architecting what they currently have, to take advantage of some of those new services that are being put up and out by Microsoft. 


Jeff Myer: You’re absolutely right, Danny. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. I like it when I’m right. 


Jeff Myer: And there’s new things coming out all the time. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. Yeah, there seems to be, I can’t keep up with all of the different … 


Jeff Myer: Yeah. Yeah. 


Danny Ryan: Different. 


Jeff Myer: We heard a lot of things about predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of things, edge computing, the new definition of hybrid computing, which is that there can be a lot of technology in your automobile, or in your desktop, or in devices in your manufacturing facility that do some of the compute, but the data and the analytics all happen up in the cloud through Azure services. 


 Again, I think another opportunity for ThreeWill and Microsoft partners to really leverage the power of the cloud and do things that companies maybe hadn’t even thought of doing in the past because they didn’t have those capabilities in their data center. We really see some great opportunities out there. 


Danny Ryan: Nice. Number three. 


Jeff Myer: Number three. Maybe a little bit of a partner centric highlight, but one of the things that came out as an announcement, right at the beginning of Inspire, was the continuation of user rights licensing for Microsoft partners to use Microsoft products in their business, at no charge, based on achieving certain competencies and certifications from Microsoft. That’s something that, historically, has always been available to Microsoft partners. 


Danny Ryan: That’s why you become a Microsoft partner, right? 


Jeff Myer: It’s a big benefit. As you know, we run our business on those Microsoft products and you think about if we had to pay for that, what that might cost. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: Historically, those products, Microsoft licensing them to us, probably didn’t cost them a whole lot because- 


Danny Ryan: You’re running it on your hardware. 


Jeff Myer: You’re running it on your hardware. 


Danny Ryan: You’re running free software on your hardware. 


Jeff Myer: Exactly right. 


Danny Ryan: On your networks and your hardware. Yeah. Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: And they could control those costs- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -because they could estimate out how much software they might grant in a given year. 


 Now that it’s cloud compute and it’s consumption- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -we give the rights to use it. It’s in their cloud. It’s in their data center. How many data centers- 


Danny Ryan: We’re using. 


Jeff Myer: -are our partners using? 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -just alone. We like free consumption, so we tend to use it to the max. That might be in development activities, or storage, or things like that. And if it’s unlimited, it’s hard for Microsoft to contain those costs. They were struggling with that and they announced in the spring that that was going to be- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -discontinued at some point, just because of the costs. Right at the beginning of Inspire, they backed off that, reversed that decision and said, we know it’s hard to deal with and it is expensive, but it’s a benefit that our partners need. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: Because that’s where they learn a lot, to transpose that to client success. 


Danny Ryan: I would … it sounds like there was some … lots of discussions around this, but I would prefer, if they’re looking to cut those costs is to really make sure that the Microsoft partners are Microsoft partners. Are legitimately doing … because I think a lot of companies just see this as a way of saving some money. Are they truly a Microsoft partner or not? 


 I mean us, obviously, we’re a services business, our lifeblood is developing solutions built on the Microsoft platform. But I know a lot of companies, I think there was some article that was out there that I was chuckling about, how some hair salon had signed up as a Microsoft partner. It’s like, no. It’s like, no, you’re not. 


Jeff Myer: You make up a good point, Danny. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: And I think that, as they reverse this decision- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -and they go back and give it some- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -consideration as to how could they better control the costs. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: I think we’ll see some things come out- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -that maybe make some adjustments around that. It might be that, if you’re a gold partner, you get access to this much consumption. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: A silver partner, maybe a little less. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: Maybe it could be balanced against what’s your contribution to Microsoft’s success? 


Danny Ryan: Yep. Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: That would make sense. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. That would make a whole lot of sense. And yeah, I think it’s been a great benefit for us. But, yeah, I think what we’re running up against here is probably somebody within Microsoft saying, we have 20,000 … trying to raise the number of partners that they have because the partner ecosystem, they think it looks better having a higher number, but in actuality, having a smaller set of really good competent partners is what the focus should be on. Somebody shouldn’t have a KPI driven around the number of partners, it should be around the quality of partners that are out there. But what do I know? 


Jeff Myer: Good point. 


Danny Ryan: But that’s what I would … 


Jeff Myer: Danny, good point. 


Danny Ryan: I just, normally, when stuff like this comes out, the issue is with the system and somebody’s probably … they’re trying to drive the number, see how many new partners they have signed up. But really, you need to make sure that they’re the quality partners that you need. 


Jeff Myer: Yeah. As a partner, we’re just happy that the dialogue has continuing. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: I’m sure that there’s a balance- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -somewhere to be found in the future. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: But, at least we’re not going to get shut off from the ability- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -to use those tools because they’re very important to our business. 


Danny Ryan: Yup, yup, yup, yup. I agree. I agree. 


 Maybe, just to wrap up here. What other stuff did you walk … besides it being a great week hanging out with Bruce. 


Jeff Myer: Yeah. Yeah. 


Danny Ryan: What else have you taken away from the- 


Jeff Myer: Well, it was Bruce’s first trip to a Microsoft Partner Conference. 


Danny Ryan: Did you hold his hand the whole time? 


Jeff Myer: I believe it was my 19th- 


Danny Ryan: 19, oh. 


Jeff Myer: -annual visit to that. So I’m a good tour guide. 


Danny Ryan: My goodness. 


Jeff Myer: I think Bruce was amazed at how many partners from all over the world come to this conference. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: And how many folks are dedicated to using Microsoft tools and solutions to drive successful outcomes for clients. That’s real exciting in itself. 


 I’ll quote Bill Gates. Satya Nadella told a great story one day in one of his keynotes. He had demonstrated the SQL Hyperscale technology, it’s new and upcoming from Microsoft, and it gives SQL services the ability to be scaled in an almost infinite fashion, and it’s pretty exciting. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: He said he got an email from Bill Gates a couple of days later, during the conference, and he said, “When I get an email from Bill Gates, I get a little nervous and a little curious.” He says, “Because, usually, there’s lots of suggestions on how I can run the business better.” And he said he opened up the email from Bill and Bill commented about the SQL Hyperscale demo and he said, “Wow.” 


Danny Ryan: Nice. 


Jeff Myer: And Satya said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Bill Gates say wow.” 


Danny Ryan: Nice. Nice. 


Jeff Myer: I would say that that was a theme, in general. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: I also heard, right after Inspire, Microsoft announced their results for the fourth quarter. 


Danny Ryan: End of the year. 


Jeff Myer: Which were great. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: Yeah. They were $1 billion over expectations in their revenue. $33.7 billion in revenue. 


Danny Ryan: Geeze. 


Jeff Myer: They were expected to report around $32.8. A billion more is a lot. 


 I don’t know if you listen to Jim Cramer, Mad Money, TheStreet. 


Danny Ryan: Did he comment on it? 


Jeff Myer: He raved for 45 minutes about Satya Nadella and what he’s done for the organization- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -since he took charge, and you don’t hear Jim … you hear Jim Cramer rave, but you don’t hear him talk about- 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: -good things, necessarily. He said, wow, too. 


 So wow was the theme. 


Danny Ryan: Yeah. 


Jeff Myer: And as I said, I’ve been there about 19 years, I think, I’m approaching 20. I must say that I would agree with that chant, wow. 


Danny Ryan: Awesome. That’s good to hear. 


Jeff Myer: Pretty exciting things. We saw a lot of things around HoloLens and mixed reality. They put Satya Nadella inside a Minecraft game and he was able to walk around within the game and interact. That was really pretty neat. 


Danny Ryan: I thought you were going to say they put them inside of a minesweeper game. 


Jeff Myer: Yeah. 


Danny Ryan: I was like, oh, this could go wrong. 


Jeff Myer: No. He’s walking around on this stage and he’s got the HoloLens on, but we’re seeing what he’s seeing and he’s actually in the game interacting. 


Danny Ryan: Nice. 


Jeff Myer: He can touch things, and see things, and things like that. That’s pretty amazing stuff. 


Danny Ryan: Cool. 


 Well, thank you for doing this. Thanks for leading up our partnership with Microsoft, and other partners, and I appreciate you heading out there and keeping things going, and excited about the next year in our relationship with Microsoft. Thanks for leading that up, Jeff. 


Jeff Myer: Thanks, Danny. I appreciate the opportunity to go. 


Danny Ryan: Absolutely, absolutely. 


 Thanks everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. 



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