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WPC 2016: connecting businesses on a global scale

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Microsoft’s 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference came to an end just under 10 days ago, and after a lot of build-up and preparation, we’re happy to say it more than lived up to our expectations! From keynotes to exhibitions to concerts, WPC 2016 was without a doubt the biggest and best event of the year for Microsoft Partners. With 17,000 attendees, WPC marked the start of Microsoft’s financial year; a look towards new and exciting things to come for the company and its partners. Fittingly, the Microsoft Partner logo has received a fresh coat of paint:

MS Partner logo

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre hosted 17,000 attendees for the duration of WPC, with breakout sessions, speaker slots and the (huge) exposition hall. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, it was the perfect venue for making new connections and networking with like-minded peers. As a company with international clients and relationships, WPC was a great chance for us at Program Framework to meet with both new and long-term partners that we may otherwise not get to see face-to-face.

What drives us is your passion and commitment to push us to do better

Satya Nadella, WPC 2016

And to compliment the hustle and bustle of the convention centre, the Air Canada Centre – home of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs – was the location for the morning vision keynotes. The keynotes saw CEO Satya Nadella, CVP Gavriella Schuster, EVP Scott Guthrie and many more take to the stage to share company aspirations and goals for the year ahead. 2016 saw a shorter keynote on each of the three days, rather than the two longer keynotes of previous years, which allowed for more information to be shared in a more digestible format. These went alongside sessions such as the exciting and excellent AI Research project; there was a wealth of topics and content appealing to all attendees. For those that missed the vision keynotes (or those that just want to see them again!), you can catch up with all the latest as each keynote is available on-demand.

The Digital Transformation opportunity

The opening vision keynote with Satya Nadella highlighted one of the main themes for the conference and one that Microsoft is focusing on moving forward: Digital Transformation. This is an umbrella term used to describe the effort to use technology to drive businesses and change business outcomes. Satya explained that Microsoft believes a successful digital transformation is built on three core ambitions:

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These ambitions were discussed across the three keynote sessions – from removing barriers between productivity tools and business applications to highlighting mobile application innovation with Azure and Xamarin – there was certainly a lot to take in.

Celebrating in style

Marking our first trip to WPC – and as we mentioned in a previous post – Program Framework were listed as a finalist for the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards for Program and Portfolio Management. It was fantastic to be recognised for our work and continued dedication and contribution as a Microsoft Partner – and massive congratulations to the winners across all categories!

With networking and breakout sessions all day long, the evening parties were a good opportunity to blow off some steam and get to know even more people. We were able to get dressed to the nines for the Microsoft UK Partner Party event – a slick black-tie, James Bond themed evening that had everyone looking their best! And the following evening, the fantastic Gwen Stefani headlined the Partner Celebration event in the Air Canada Centre to a vast crowd. It was quite the show, especially by way of a celebration after three days of hard work!

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Consortium

And it wasn’t just Program Framework making the most of WPC. Those of you who follow our blog will be familiar with Consortium – a newly founded collection of award-winning, UK-based Microsoft Gold Partners. Consortium is a powerful team of IT consultancies (of which Program Framework make up 1/5th) with a variety of expertise in key Microsoft technologies.

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And it was great to see – following the launch in the UK in the previous week – that we were all present and working together at the conference. And we were also celebrating together, as of the five companies that make up Consortium, two were award winners and two were finalists! It was a great way to kick off the business and we’re extremely excited to see what Consortium can achieve in the future.

See you next year

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference was a fantastic opportunity for all those in the Microsoft Partner sphere, and it was great to see so many others making new connections and making the most of such an occasion. We were thrilled to attend, and now that WPC 2017 has been announced – taking place in Washington, D.C.–we’re already making plans for our trip to the U.S. capital next July!