A Blog Series for U.S. Partners by Jenni Flinders, Microsoft U.S. Vice President, Partner Strategy and Programs.

JenniFlinders

Last week, from July 9-12, the epicenter of IT was Toronto. That’s where nearly 16,000 Microsoft partners and executives from across the globe gathered for Microsoft’s biggest event of the year: the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).

The city of Toronto served as an amazing host. Toronto embraces the diversity of its inhabitants, making it a vibrant city full of great food, art, and culture. Diversity is one of the hallmarks of WPC, too, and having a variety of people from different demographics created extraordinarily meaningful connections at the Conference.

Each day at WPC, we celebrated partner achievements, looking with great anticipation toward the tremendous product launches this year and the huge revenue opportunities they represent. I was thrilled to be part of so many spirited conversations and diverse activities each day.

Kicking off WPC on Monday morning was Steve Ballmer, who talked about ushering in a new era for Microsoft that offers unprecedented opportunities for our worldwide partners leading up to one of the biggest product launch waves in company history. Another highlight for me on Day 1 was participating in a cloud panel with Tiffani Bova from Gartner, Slalom Consulting’s Tom Chew, and The VAR Guy’s Joe Panettieri. The discussion focused on ways partners can lead with the cloud. Wrapping up Monday evening was an event celebrating diversity in the workplace. Several partners shared stories about how they find and leverage talented individuals with diverse backgrounds to continuously innovate and better serve their customers.

Tuesday started with a keynote that introduced new cloud opportunities for partners. It was a full day of roundtables, discussions, debates, and best practice sharing that helped partners gain insights into evolving their own capabilities. This carried into the evening’s U.S. Celebration that treated all of us to outstanding live entertainment, wonderful food and another opportunity to mix and mingle with friends and colleagues. image

A huge highlight on Wednesday was the truly dynamic presentation by Kevin Turner, who spoke of the skyrocketing success of Microsoft Office 365. Throughout his keynote he illustrated the passion and commitment Microsoft has for helping our partners succeed and innovate in a highly competitive marketplace. And the year ahead is a shaping up to be a launch pad for continued success, revenue potential, and collaboration.

We bring a tremendous amount of energy back from the Conference, with a refined understanding, stronger connections and tremendous momentum for this year’s wave of product innovations. Just as today’s products lay the foundation for the products of tomorrow, today’s partner innovation will shape the future of customer engagements and relationships.

The competitive landscape is strong, and we are competing to win. By the time we arrive at next year’s WPC in Houston, we’ll be an even stronger worldwide group of business experts who help extend our customers’ business success through the knowledge gained in Toronto from each other.

We look forward to the road ahead that leads to Houston, July 7-11, 2013. If you were at WPC in Toronto and want the opportunity to win a pass for WPC in Houston, complete and submit at least one US Track session evaluation in WPC Connect by Friday, July 20. Rules: http://docs.com/MECA. 

imageIf you have a favorite moment from this year’s Conference, whether you were there in person or joined us online through digitalWPC, you can connect with me on Twitter @Jenni_Flinders. Share your plans for taking advantage of the amazing year of product releases and opportunities that’s ahead of us.