Last week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, I got the chance to talk about our momentous Fiscal Year 2013 and kick off the upcoming year with over 15,000 people. I wanted to use this post as a way to say thank you to those that couldn’t attend and share some of my personal highlights. 

First, if you were not able to attend WPC, you can still catch some of the action through session recording and demos from the conference at www.digitalwpc.com. Whether you are a Systems Integration, Hardware/Software vendor or Service Provider, I also encourage you to visit the Lync area on Microsoft Partner Network to find the latest information on upcoming programs.

During my value keynote with Derek Burney, we highlighted the tremendous progress Lync has made over the last year and shared our vision of how Microsoft and partners will transform the way billions of people communicate and share experiences every day.

In many ways, this has been our most significant year since the release of Office Communications Server in 2007. Early in the year, we released Lync 2013 and then in February, we held the first Lync Conference in San Diego, announcing we reached 5 Million users deployed with Enterprise Voice. In June, we delivered the first release of Lync-Skype connectivity, allowing businesses a better connection to their customers, suppliers and partners that are part of the over 300 Million members of the Skype community.

And the good news keeps on coming, as I was proud to share that the Communications competency was the fastest growing competency across the Microsoft Partner Network, growing 80% percent - meaning every business day two companies invest in developing a Lync partnership. The number of partners Certified for Lync Support has doubled and the number of certified support professionals tripled over just the last twelve months. Prior to WPC we announced the Communications competency Partner of the Year finalists, with Dimension Data winning the award for their impressive Lync work this year. Peter Menadue, GM, Microsoft Solutions, Dimension Data shared that his company has seen demand for Lync dramatically grow in the last twelve months, as their Lync business has more than doubled and is fuelling growth for Dimension Data services business around the world.

From a focus a few years ago on IM/P and conferencing scenarios, our future is now very focused on helping customers have a rich communications experience no matter the device they are using. From effectively assessing customer requirements and designing a solution to implementation and providing ongoing support, I spoke about the ways partners reduce complexity and deliver greater business value to our mutual customers.

Beyond the keynote session, most of my time was committed to in-depth conversations with individual partners. I really enjoy getting to hear their successes as well as getting direct feedback and insights into what we can do better. A real highlight for me was walking through the Expo hall to check out the latest innovations built for Lync 2013. While there, I spoke with Pete Fox, President of Jabra North America who told me that Lync is the fastest growing part of Jabra’s enterprise business. I was impressed with the innovations across the partner ecosystem from personal and meeting room devices, to business applications and even networking equipment that more intelligently optimizes user experiences. There was also a lot of evidence of significantly increased partner capacity to deliver a complete Lync solution with Enterprise Voice, either fully managed on-premises or hosted in the cloud. From my conversations, it is clear that partners are hearing a lot of requests for Lync from their customers and are ramping up to deliver!

I come away from WPC energized by the enthusiasm and am already looking forward to connecting with many of you again at the Lync Conference in Las Vegas next February 18-20 and via our Lync Partner Connect community.

Giovanni Mezgec, GM, Lync Product Marketing