Please note this was the email sent to all partners following WPC 2014.

Dear Partners 

We're back from a great week in Washington D.C. With over 400 attendees from our Canadian partner community attending the Worldwide Partner Conference held in Washington D.C. there were 16,000 partners from over 140 countries gathered to hear about the growing opportunities for partners and how to win together with Microsoft.

Over a period of 4 days the Keynotes, sessions and events were designed to be the springboard for our new financial year giving all attendees clarity on our strategic direction, how they can align their business with Microsoft and most importantly make money! Here's a breakdown for all of you that did attend or could not attend on all that was covered pre to post WPC.

Before we continue surveys are integral for accumulating feedback regarding forward and successful planning and provides critical insight into improving performance according to the demand and needs of our stakeholders. Please take a moment to respond to our WPC 2014 Canadian Survey

The week leading into WPC, Phil Sorgen released some big product news updates sharing the company’s vision for how Microsoft helps enable partners’ success in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.  To read more about it please click here

For Canadian Partners, day 1 opened on Sunday, July 13th at the Ritz Carlton kicking off the week with our Canadian Regional Keynote where we celebrated the results we achieved together in FY14, alongside the standout performances through the IMPACT Awards, presented at WPC for the first time, while also setting the tone for the year ahead.  For Links to the presentation please click here.

With that said, we'd like to announce the Categories for the IMPACT Awards 2015

Big Data/BI Innovation Award                           Innovation in Dynamics CRM Award     

Innovation in Dynamics ERP Award                  Fastest Growing Cloud Provider in SMB – Central Canada

Partner Hosted Cloud Innovation Award          Fastest Growing Cloud Provider in SMB – Western Canada

Enterprise Public Cloud Innovation Award       Fastest Growing Cloud Provider in SMB – Eastern Canada

Business Productivity Innovation Award           Mobile Application Innovation Award

Infrastructure Innovation Award                       Citizenship and Community Award

Winning Together Award                                  Windows Application Developer Award

ISV Innovative Solution Award                          Education and Youth Award – Digital Literacy

Digital Marketing Innovation Award

To read more about these categories – please visit the IMPACT Awards page

Monday Morning began with Phil Sorgen opening the first Vision Keynote. Phil addressed the crowd by stating "the best of your capability come together with the best of our capability to drive customer outcomes" and in a nutshell he laid out how putting partners first is our go-to-market strategy and has always been key to our joint success, and it will continue to be a priority in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world.  On stage during Monday's Vision Keynote, we made several announcements that put partners at the center of customer cloud adoption. These announcements were:

Integration of Cloud into the Microsoft Partner Network

We are launching three new cloud-focused competencies based on performance for Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. The new competencies are:

• Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions: For partners selling Microsoft Office 365 to small and mid-market customers.

• Cloud Productivity: For partners deploying Microsoft Office 365 for enterprise customers.

• Cloud Platform: For partners who specialize in delivering infrastructure, PaaS and SaaS solutions on Microsoft Azure.

With the announcement today, we will retire the Cloud Accelerate, Cloud Deployment and Azure Circle programs and provide a path for partners to migrate to the new cloud competencies.

We are also changing the way we integrate cloud into our competencies to make it easier for partners to invest more in their business and plan to do this in four ways

• Waiving the first year fee for Silver cloud competencies

• Enhancing Internal Use Rights for Office 365 and Azure, providing between 25% and 200% more IUR licenses depending on the competency level achieved

• Signature Cloud Support is our exclusive support solution that helps cloud partners better support their customers. Launching in September, Signature Cloud Support provides partners with direct contact into a high-quality support team.

• To enable partners to continue to make the investments necessary to succeed in the cloud, we also announced that we are reducing the fees for on-premises competencies by up to 10%.

Another way we are helping partners transition to the cloud is by providing the tools and resources to get started on our new cloud services. Today we’re announcing Azure Machine Learning University, a portfolio of online self-service learning assets designed to get partners started with Azure ML. Machine Learning University will provide partners with an overview of Azure ML, and walk through the data science life cycle from importing data to building predictive models and deploying in production.

Cloud Solution Provider program: The Cloud Solution Provider Program allows partners to engage at every part of the customer lifecycle. Partners will serve as the main point of contact for all customer needs, including billing, provisioning, support and, most importantly, the ability to sell their own tools, products and services with every Office 365 subscription. This new program provides our partners with increased opportunities and ensures our mutual customers can rely on their dedicated strategic partner to get the most out of Office 365, Windows InTune and eventually other Microsoft cloud solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing: The addition of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to Microsoft Open Licensing Programs means that small business and mid-market customers will be able to gain access to the full suite of Microsoft Online Services in a way that fits their current engagement with their partner or service provider. This represents a huge opportunity for Microsoft distributors and resellers who will be able to transact Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to their existing and new customers through the licensing model they are used to. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in Open Licensing will be available later this fiscal year.

Azure in Open Licensing: Microsoft Azure will be available via the Open Licensing program beginning on August 1, 2014, making it easier for partners to build a profitable cloud business. This provides partners with a familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities to grow revenues and deepen customer relationships.

Azure Certified Program: The new Azure Certified logo certification program will empower Microsoft partners to grow their business through new opportunities to promote and sell their applications and services on Azure. The program includes co-marketing assistance, a listing on the Azure website and access to the Azure customer base via placement in the Azure Management Portal.

Azure Machine Learning University: Machine Learning University offers online step-by-step instruction to help partners get started on working with Machine Learning right away. Azure Machine Learning will help partners build advanced analytic cloud services for their customers in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications.

Office 365 Onboarding and Signature Customer Support

We concluded Monday evening with a special celebration of the IMPACT Award Finalists from 2014 at the Folger Shakespeare Library, an intimate dinner for 200 guests celebrating great innovative contributions to the IT Industry that create tremendous market opportunities.

Day 2 was packed with great track and session Keynotes, and tons of partner interactions, in 1:1 and 1:few roundtables/meetings – focussed on showcasing Partners betting big on Microsoft solutions. We wrapped up Tuesday night with our Canadian Regional Party at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium where we celebrated 20 years of great partnership. The event was a grand and a great finale to a successful FY14 and a kickoff to FY15.  

The final day was all about Satya - taking the stage for the first time at WPC as CEO. Satya spoke about Microsoft's leadership as the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world and shared how we, with all our partners, we will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more - advocating for "courage in the face of opportunity".                                                    

 To hear the vision keynotes and see the highlights of the week please click here  

So thank you to all our partners. Your commitment and innovation have strengthened our collective success. As Phil said during his keynote address "There is a place for every one of you in this future. There's so much opportunity - lets go win it together".

 We hope to see you all in Orlando, Florida for WPC 2015 next year! Early registration has already begun!