Satya Nadella has used his keynote at Microsoft Inspire to talk of a 'paradigm shift' that is being driven by digital transformation to highlight the opportunities those changes will give the channel.
The Microsoft CEO spoke to the assembled 17,000 partners that had turned out for the event and reaffirmed its commitment to the channel stating: "This ethos of being partner-led will be there in everything we do".
“We see a real rapid shift to a new paradigm that we describe as the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge," which he said would be defined by three characteristics: everything will be multi-device and multi-sense, be infused with AI and the need for more application development and management.
"With increasing digitisation where every part of our economy is being transformed by digitisation the opportunity is greater than it ever was before," he said.
He added that Microsoft had always been at the forefront of industry developments being there to democratise the PC, then mobile, the cloud and now the intelligent cloud era. "Being in this industry and being in this ecosystem the opportunity is tremendous".
He said that it had taken the lessons of the last couple of years and had used that to change how it built its products and developed its go-to-market and partner experiences.
He added that there were four main areas (see box) that underpinned digital transformation projects and it would be encouraging partners to get involved with those because it would provide customers with the levels of support they were looking for.
Four solution areas
Applications and infrastructure
Data and AI
The modern workforce segment was all about helping customers empower staff and give the agility they need to and it was trying to bring everything into a single system in the form of Microsoft 365, which rings Office, Windows 10 and enterprise mobility and security into an integrated proposition.
"When it comes to partner opportunity it's tremendous for you to be able to serve the needs tof these customers across the entire breadth and depth of their employee base," he said.
He said that the same tools that would appeal to enterprise customers would also chime with SMEs that were also looking for tools to increase greater productivity.
On the business application front Nadella said that more process automation was required to help companies connect all of their processes to make things more efficient. He said that customers needed modular functionality and the old suites were no longer ideal.
The changes in the applications and data worlds were coming at a rate that Nadella had not seen previously in his career and customers would need to invest in new units of compute and create a data estate that could then be accessed by AI tools. His answer involves Azure and the vendor has now got 64,000 partners selling cloud services.
"In the last year I have seen a marked differrence in terms of the ambition level of the parters and the transformative projects that are being deployed in the world," he said.