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Satya Nadella to partners at Inspire 2017: ‘We have an unprecedented opportunity’

What makes Microsoft unique is our focus on empowering people and organizations, worldwide, in every industry, in every vertical, in every country.

This is our mission together, but we don’t celebrate technology for technology’s sake. Our success is in our customers’ success, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the audience during his keynote at Microsoft Inspire, where partners from 140 countries gathered this week in Washington, D.C.

Microsoft has always been a partner-led company, and this ecosystem drives local economies and creates massive growth. Together we have unprecedented opportunity, as technology impacts every aspect of our global society and economy, Nadella said.

In fact, Microsoft partners employ 17 million people around the world, and we have 64,000 partners working in cloud services. Together we are collectively building the future.

While our mission and our commitment to partners is steadfast, technology and technology paradigms come and go. One such evolution is the move from a mobile-first, cloud-first world, to one that is rooted in the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud.

This shift will bring about more digital technology in more mainstream ways into every life and every organization. Three things characterize this evolution.

The first is how our digital experience is distributed across and spans devices, big screens, small screens, sensors in a room. The user experience is no longer bound to a device, it travels with you. And it’s multi-sense. The experience may start with touch on one device, and end with speech in another device, or ink. Multi-sense is what developers are building for. The experience itself is getting richer and distributed.

Artificial intelligence is getting built into every experience, and we need to take data and compute to where it’s generated. Whether in an autonomous car, on a factory floor, or in a hospital, every one of these experience is going to be powered by AI.

Finally, you need a backend that facilitates this rich fabric. We’re taking a single user experience and making it span multiple devices using emerging technology such as containers and serverless compute. We’re taking this intelligence and distributing it to the edge.

Digital transformation represents a massive opportunity. We see this trend playing out as every company is impacted by technology in completely new, and sometimes unexpected, ways, and together we must push ourselves to rethink the opportunity in front of us and our customers.

Business leaders are looking at how they can apply digital technology and build systems of intelligence to rethink how to empower employees, engage customers, optimize operations and transform products

We are making progress, but future growth depends on our collective ability to transcend current product category definitions and business models.

When we consider the Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge, where every product and every service will have built-in digital cogs, we’re seeing a total addressable opportunity of $4.5 trillion.

At Microsoft, we want to democratize this notion of digital transformation so that every business can truly harness the power of this digital era. We must also change how we go to market and better serve customers with core solution areas to enable this digital transformation.

As we think about this enormous opportunity, there are four key solution areas. The first is around the modern workplace. And it starts with empowering everyone in organizations to be more creative, collaborative and ultimately apply technology to help shape the culture of work

The workplace itself is transforming: changing employee expectations due to a widening skills gap, more diverse and globally distributed teams, and an increasingly complex threat environment.

Leaders are hungry to empower their employees, transform and shape culture in this rapidly changing work environment. We aspire to build the experiences and tools that make it possible for every professional in any business or functional role to be much more productive in getting things done.

Today we are introducing Microsoft 365 — a product and vision for how we deliver new experiences for our customers, focused on creativity and teamwork, and built on a simple and secure platform that draws from the best of our commercial products across Office 365, Window 10 and Enterprise Mobility and Security.

Microsoft 365 is built to promote creativity and teamwork and ensure that customer and company data is safeguarded, while streamlining management across users, devices, apps and services. It’s a fundamental change to how we are going to market with commercial offerings, designed to ignite new opportunity for our partners.

And partners can take these solutions and scale them to their clients big and small with Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business. With these additional offerings, we aim to unlock new avenues for partners, whether selling to large enterprise customers or small- and mid-sized businesses.

Now, after empowering people within an organization, we have to take it a step further, to ensure we’re transforming the processes and functions people work within it. Remember, every business process is being digitized.

We want to take these systems of intelligence, these feedback loops, and connect them together, so they can provide predictive information. We must move away from monolithic suites, and adopt, deploy and gain the benefits of more modern, modular applications.

No business is static. And no business is the same. We need to be able to customize, to have customization frameworks that are captive, and a common data model and ability to build these data applications is key. That’s what’s motivating us to take Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn and enhance the power of the connected graph.

With Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn Business Solutions, we have opportunity to redefine what customers can expect from their business applications. Organizations of all sizes can now digitize business-critical functions, including relationship sales, talent and people processes, operations, customer service, field service and more.

Together with our partners, we can lead in this new paradigm of business applications, and we will prioritize our efforts across both product and go-to-market strategies.

Instead of sales management, it’s social selling; instead of people administration, it’s employee engagement. It’s about reframing what you want to achieve and having the tools and the infrastructure to help you achieve this new outcome.

The final area is the foundation of all the business applications partners will build. And the last two pieces of this transformation, applications and infrastructure, data and artificial intelligence, are connected.

There’s no longer a debate about whether to host data in a public or private cloud. It’s clear that what we need is a distributed hybrid cloud infrastructure. The richness of your data should be represented in how it’s stored. Perhaps more important is to have the management tools, the security tools and the development tools to make this data estate a cohesive set versus disparate technology.

The cloud is foundational to enabling digital transformation. And Azure enables SaaS ISV developers to reach 100 million plus enterprise users through the integration of Azure Active Directory and Office 365.

Finally, we’re moving beyond big data and even machine learning capabilities to be able to infuse cognitive capabilities, like computer vision and understanding natural language, into the applications you build.

It’s also true that the core currency of any business will be the ability to convert their data into AI. We see this in our own advances in Microsoft Research and in product experiences with Bing, Cortana, LinkedIn Newsfeed, Skype Translator, Editor and PowerPoint Designer in Office, Relationship Health in Dynamics and across HoloLens.

With Azure we want to democratize AI so every company can be an AI company, and every partner can build AI solutions, while helping customers build AI capability to transform.

The cloud fueling AI can help every company in every corner of the globe transform, from Lieberr, which is building an intelligent refrigerator, to Boeing, which is now delivering aircrafts with a digital twin, to using commodity cameras with deep neural networks to turn any place into a search engine, and many more.

Together we have a massive opportunity ahead with these core solution areas: modern workplace; business applications; applications and infrastructure; data and AI.

Whether it’s helping a 50-year-old insurance business modernize their line-of-business application, or growing a new business from scratch, Microsoft is betting on the future for our collective customers. And while there is tremendous growth opportunity, we are not building solutions solely to support conspicuous consumption. We are also working to make a positive impact in the world and continue to be encouraged by the enormous potential for partners to have local impact that ultimately has a profound global impact.