Last week I had the privilege of attending Microsoft Inspire at The Dublin Royal Convention Centre, Ireland.
For those not aware, Microsoft Inspire is an annual event aimed at connecting, empowering and celebrating Microsoft partners. I was attending on behalf of my employer Version 1, a highly decorated and longstanding Microsoft partner and Expert MSP.
Microsoft Inspire is often confused with Microsoft Ignite. The choice of names doesn't help in my opinion!
Microsoft Inspire is aimed at partners and is held in the summer, whereas Microsoft Ignite is aimed at IT professionals and isn't until November. Microsoft Build is aimed at developers and took place in May.
On all three occasions, Microsoft use the opportunity to announce new or updated products and services.
Now, for anyone that's been following the tech space recently, and in particular what Microsoft has been up to, you'll notice that, overwhelmingly, a theme has developed....
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of almost all of Microsoft's recent announcements.
Here's my breakdown of some of these exciting announcements:
Azure OpenAI expanded availability - increasing its availability in North America and Western Europe, while making it available for Asia for the first time.
Introduction of Microsoft 365 Copilot Pricing - $30 per user per month for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium customers when generally available.
Launch of Bing Chat Enterprise - giving organisations AI-powered chat for work with commercial data protection.
Meta & Microsoft Expanded Their Partnership - Meta and Microsoft have announced support for the Llama family of large language models on Azure and Windows.
Launching Power Automate Process Mining - AI features within Power Automate to generate insights and app and automation suggestions.
Introducing Microsoft Sales Copilot - AI features within Dynamics 365 Sales, such as AI-generated opportunity summary, contextualized email drafts and meeting preparations.
Also, let's not forget all the awesome announcements from last May at Microsoft Build - such as:
Microsoft 365 Copilot - a productivity tool that combines the power of large language models with your organisation’s data to work alongside popular Microsoft 365 Apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more to enhance creativity, productivity, and skills.
Copilot stack - an AI development framework to help developers build their own copilot.
Microsoft Fabric - data and insights by connecting every data source and analytics service together on a single, AI-powered platform.
Windows Copilot - making Windows 11 the first PC platform to announce centralised AI assistance to help people easily take action and get things done.
More detail on the Microsoft Build announcements can be found here in the Book of News.
There have been so many announcements recently that I've likely missed some, so please feel free to call that out to me if so. There are also some partner specific announcements I've omitted for brevity. I've added the official links below for your reference:
Microsoft Build 2023 (May - happened)
Microsoft Inspire 2023 (July - happened)
Microsoft Ignite 2023 (November - upcoming)
The in-person Inspire event I attended over in Dublin was split into two sections.
I'd describe the first section as being a mini-conference of sorts. We were treated to a keynote speech from Anne Sheehan (General Manager of Microsoft Ireland), a digest of the Inspire announcements including clips from Satya Nadella (Chairman and CEO at Microsoft, seen below), a security landscape review and an AI panel discussion.
You can watch the full Inspire keynote from Satya Nadella here. The same link also includes demos and details of the announcements.
The second section, which led nicely into the evening following some food and drink, was Microsoft Inspire Ireland's Partner of the Year Awards.
Version 1 was nominated for two regional awards: Azure Infrastructure and Social Impact, winning the latter!
We also received a special call-out for our global award, being named: Global Microsoft Partner for Modernizing Applications
On both occasions, we were called up on stage to collect the awards, and I'm pleased to report I didn't trip up the steps and make a fool of myself in front of such a large crowd!
All in all, a great time was had by all, and I was very lucky to be included in such an event - it was a real privilege!