I’m thrilled to be in Toronto this week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) with over 16,000 attendees. These events are one of my favorite parts of my job because I get to talk to so many people about the incredible opportunity we all have – customers, partners and the industry - to digitally transform our respective business. In these conversations, we hear consistently from our partners about how the cloud provides the opportunity for their customers to be more agile, derive intelligence to improve how they do business, and deliver apps businesses need. I’m excited to share today new programs and innovations across our enterprise cloud portfolio to help partners achieve even more for their customers. Most importantly, I’m excited to share how partners and customers are already changing the world with the Microsoft Cloud.
Digital transformation driven by the cloud
The intelligence that can be delivered when the power of untapped data is combined with the scalability and speed of the cloud is mind-blowing. Schneider Electric is an incredible example of a company that is transforming the lives of millions of people in Nigeria by partnering with Microsoft and the Lagos State Electricity Board to provide more reliable solar power to over 170 schools and clinics. Using Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence to monitor and diagnose power usage, they can predict and better prevent outages and extend valuable energy past sundown. Now, schools and clinics can operate around the clock to provide valuable medical care and learning opportunities.
Understanding what to expect from the weather is important to all of us – both personally and for the business considering the profound impact it has on the market demand for different products and for operations. So, when mobile phones increased demand for Accuweather’s up-to-the-minute weather forecasts from two million to four billion requests a day, the online weather service partnered with Microsoft to build solutions to turn data from more than three billion locations around the world into actionable intelligence for customers who need weather forecasts in real-time. Now, with the Microsoft Cloud they have the speed and flexibility to respond effectively to 15 billion service requests a day. As Accuweather continues its digital transformation, the company is extending its partnership with us to streamline a broader scope of its business operations to make the customer experience even better.
New opportunities for partners
As you can see from these stories, the cloud can deliver amazing change, but we know the journey to get there doesn’t happen overnight. Our customers need the flexibility to move to the cloud on their terms, and our partners need the solutions and expertise to help them get there. Today we are making the cloud and all its benefits even more accessible.
The first way we’re doing this is by enhancing our data services portfolio. Today, Azure SQL Data Warehouse is generally available, bringing true cloud elasticity to data warehousing to save you time and money. I’m excited that customers are already seeing benefits from this service. After learning about our data services like SQL Data Warehouse, Integral Analytics switched from AWS Redshift, migrating 7TB of uncompressed data in a week.
Next, we are thrilled to share that Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, our new operating system which provides you and your customers a clear path to the cloud, will launch at Ignite. This new version of the industry-leading OS you know and trust features new innovations like Windows Server and Hyper-V containers, Nano Server, and new security features to give you a platform to build and run your cloud-native apps and your mission critical apps.
We know you all want to learn more about Azure Stack, and as we work to bring you our new hybrid cloud platform, we want to share updates on how you will be able to get it. Dell, HPE and Lenovo shared today that they will work with us to deliver pre-configured Azure Stack integrated systems so you can deliver Azure services from your datacenter or your customers’ at cloud speed – while we do all the hard work so things just work for you. We will prioritize delivering Azure Stack to customers via these systems at launch, which is expected in mid-2017.
Apps are business differentiators these days, but there’s a culture shift required across people, processes and technology to create, get and use these apps to drive value. To empower partners to help their customers shift to an application culture, we’re announcing the transformation of the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) partner program into the Microsoft DevOps partner competency. It’s designed help companies to deliver quality apps on Azure at enterprise scale. We’re extending readiness, programs and sales coverage so you, our partners, have everything you need to enable the app transformation.
We’re also launching a new Azure Solutions site that will help partners and customers easily find and use the cloud solutions they need so they can get cloud applications up and running faster. And, for our partners and customers here in Canada, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is now generally available from our new datacenter regions in Toronto and Quebec City, alongside the already-available Azure and Office 365. Microsoft has now announced 34 Azure regions globally with 26 generally available – more than any other major cloud provider.
All of these updates come on top of new innovations unveiled last week to deliver intelligent enterprise apps to business users. Microsoft AppSource, is our new destination for businesses to get line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft and our partners, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 introduces a simplified, intuitive approach to business apps, with rich data visualization natively delivered by Power BI Embedded, which is now generally available. We also shared how Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow are helping customers compose new business processes by easily extending and modifying existing systems to meet their changing needs. And, the new Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts program, now in preview, enables customers to drive more accurate outcomes for a wide variety of business problems.
For those of you at WPC, we look forward to talking with you and hearing more about how we can help transform your business to take advantage of the many opportunities in the cloud. For those of you at home, follow the action here.