Each year, Microsoft partners around the world convene at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) to learn about Microsoft’s technology roadmap, network and share best practices with peers and experience the latest product innovations.

We’re thrilled that the City of Los Angeles will host WPC next week, from July 10-14. The conference is expected to draw more than 15,000 international attendees.

Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Amy Costello, marketing and alliance manager at Perficient, a Southern California-based Microsoft partner, about the value WPC brings to their company and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s conference.

What value does WPC provide to your organization and to you in your role?

A: WPC is the perfect way to start the new fiscal year. My team and I love to attend to hear Microsoft’s vision for the coming year and strategize with our Microsoft colleagues around ways we can implement that vision to help our customers and grow our business.

The networking opportunities with Microsoft and fellow partners are also invaluable. This is the only time of the year when all of these people are together in the same place, and it’s the perfect opportunity to make new connections, rekindle old ones and start looking ahead toward working together to evangelize Microsoft technologies.

In my role as a marketer, it’s critical that I align Microsoft’s messaging with my own to make my campaigns successful. Being at WPC gives me the chance to hear this messaging straight from the source and ask questions to gain deeper understanding. Additionally, I have the opportunity to have face-to-face planning sessions with my Microsoft counterparts to build momentum around our joint initiatives.

With all the planning sessions, knowledge sharing and opportunities for networking, WPC is critical to getting our year started on the right foot.

 What kinds of benefits do your customers experience as a result of your attending WPC or members of your company attending?

A: Customers look to Perficient as a trusted advisor when it comes to Microsoft technologies. Being at WPC allows Perficient to learn firsthand about innovative solutions we can offer to our clients. WPC also provides our team the opportunity to ask questions of Microsoft product and industry teams to learn about their strategy and better understand how we should advise our customers regarding industry trends and product roadmaps. Our clients expect us to be in the loop with the latest and greatest developments in the Microsoft community, and WPC allows us to do just that.

 What kinds of sessions/content are you most interested in at WPC, and why?

A: For FY12, I am most excited about digital marketing, cloud computing and business intelligence. Not only are these important focal points for Perficient, but they also are areas I am eager to evangelize in the market.

I am also interested in the conference keynotes. Last year, we were given insight into Micorosft’s plans to tackle the consumer market with products like Kinect for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone, and it’s been a thrill to watch these products flourish over the past year. Microsoft always has exceptional speakers as well, and I am sure Sir Richard Branson will not disappoint.

What are you most focused on as you prepare to attend this year’s WPC?

A: Preparing for WPC is all about planning ahead. I do everything I can to make the most of my time there, including preparing for meetings and making sure I can make time to meet with everyone I can. It’s important also to balance meetings with conference sessions and networking events to get the full conference experience.

Amy Costello, marketing and alliance manager at Perficient