Judson Althoff: Convergence 2015 (Day One)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President, Microsoft North America, Judson Althoff. (Cheers, applause.)

JUDSON ALTHOFF: Good morning! Good morning and welcome to Convergence, and welcome to the great city of Atlanta, Georgia.

How about another great round of applause for Dance 411! (Cheers, applause.) What an awesome, awesome group of kids.

Let me just tell you a little bit about Dance 411. The Dance 411 Foundation’s mission is to foster the well-being of urban youth and young adults through self-expression. They provide a quality education and exposure to the discipline of dance, drama and music.

And I’m pleased to be joined up here by the founding members of the group and the folks that started the organization. Please welcome to the stage Director JJ Crampton and founder Sindy Schneider. (Applause.)

Thanks so much for bringing this awesome group to Convergence. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about it? Sindy, you founded the organization.

SINDY SCHNEIDER: Absolutely. Dance has always been my passion, and giving back to the dancers and the dance community has been such a blessing for me. And I love to see these amazingly talented kids up here perform on this big stage for all of you. I certainly hope that you’ve enjoyed the show.

Dance 411’s mission has always been to give back to the dancers, especially those that are underprivileged and unable to participate in the arts.

So we certainly hope that you loved what we were able to give you today, and the kids were super excited. Thank you again so much for having us.

JUDSON ALTHOFF: Absolutely. (Applause.)

JJ, why don’t you tell us a little bit about where the group performs, and some of the great things that you guys have done?

JJ CRAMPTON: Fantastic. Thank you. Again, we’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to perform for you guys here today. This is an amazing opportunity for these children. They’ve had some great experiences this season. They were able to perform the opening number for the national tour of Kidz Bop here in Atlanta. They performed for the White House Symposium on Excellence in Education. And, of course, we like to participate in a lot of community events. It gives the kids an opportunity to give back.

And a lot of these children don’t have the opportunity to come and train and work and experience what it’s really like in the field of arts and live entertainment. So this is such a great forum and format for that.

And we’re so grateful at Dance 411 that we have been given the opportunity to provide these kids with the opportunity to take class and learn and train, and then be able to come and perform on a stage for you and show their talent. So thank you.

JUDSON ALTHOFF: It’s really awesome.

So listen, if you’re like me, you’re probably inspired by these kids, and you should be. Their talent is pretty amazing. And gosh, to get up here in front of 12,000 of your closest friends and to lay it all out there is a pretty impressive thing.

So if you would like to help this great group, we have an opportunity for you to do that. We’ve got a program set up here at Convergence where for every eval that is filled out for the entire show, Microsoft will make a donation to this great group.  So we’ve got a call to action for each and every one of you. (Applause.)

So one more thing. What would you like them all to do?

JJ CRAMPTON and SINDY SCHNEIDER: Fill out those forms!

JUDSON ALTHOFF: All right, great.

JJ CRAMPTON: Thank you so much.

JUDSON ALTHOFF: Thank you, everybody. You know what to do.

Thanks, guys. Great job. (Cheers, applause.)

Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

So at Convergence it follows nicely that our tradition has been to give through community outreach projects year after year.

Yesterday, more than 500 of you joined us to do just that. We worked together with Habitat for Humanity to raise a home for a first-time homeowner.

We worked with this awesome group called the Atlanta Youth Project that does work in the most challenged area in all of Atlanta, the Martin Luther King district. We helped them build a cabin for summer use projects.

We also worked with a group called Truly Living Well to help them build raised flower beds so they can grow natural foods for healthy food choices in one of the most impoverished areas of the Southeastern United States.

For the poor and hungry we packed meals. For veterans we put together hygiene packs. It was truly an awesome day.

And we filmed a video to just show you the impact that we’re making here in the Atlanta area, and our band, the Groove Merchants, has written an original song to accompany the video. Please watch and enjoy.

(Video segment.)

(Cheers, applause.)

JUDSON ALTHOFF: Thanks again for everybody that lent a hand yesterday. It was really an awesome, awesome day.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to contribute, we’re actually going to extend the community outreach project through the entire week this week. So if you want to actually go over and pack some meals for the hungry or put together some more hygiene packs for veterans, even actually build a bicycle for those less fortunate, you can do so over in the Convention Hall all week. So again it’s a way to give back to those less fortunate, and it’s again something that we’re really proud to be a part of here at Microsoft.

Next, I’d like to talk about our sponsors, because frankly without their help we wouldn’t be able to put on Convergence quite the way that we are this week. And we’re super thrilled to have more than 300 sponsors for the entire event.

I’d like to give special thanks to our Executive Platinum Sponsor IBM — (applause) — our Executive Hardware Sponsor HP — (applause) — our Platinum Sponsors Infosys and InsideSales.com. (Applause.) Again, please join me in acknowledging their contributions to Convergence 2015. (Applause.)

So let me tell you a little bit more about our event. It’s an exciting time here at Microsoft and it’s an exciting time in our industry and for all of your business, and we are super thrilled to share all of our innovations with more than 12,000 of you from 76 different countries. Thank you so much for spending your time with us here this week. It’s going to just be an awesome week for all of us.

The event itself, Convergence, is also evolving and changing, just like your businesses. Convergence used to be a Dynamics only event. We’ve expanded the event and evolved it to actually incorporate all of our innovations from left to right, the full breadth of our portfolio and innovation.

And Convergence is now Microsoft’s premier event for business. Whether you came here to learn more about Office 365, do a deep dive on Dynamics CRM or AX, or learn more about Azure and big data, or learn more about how Microsoft solutions come together to build intelligent systems that help your businesses run better and help you achieve more, you’ll surely find what you came to look for and much, much more.

So let’s talk a little bit about the general sessions. We’ve got an awesome guest speaker this week in Seth Godin, and I’m sure his speech will inspire you.  In addition to that, the rest of the sessions are meant to build upon the keynote messages that you’ll hear this morning.

You’ll hear major topical areas like how to harness the power of big data and how data is not just for data scientists anymore. Business leaders have an agenda around data, and data is the fabric for intelligent systems that allow you to reason over greater topics, to build better systems and build better businesses.

You’ll also learn more about the power of productivity and how we’re reinventing productivity here at Microsoft.

You’ll learn how to maximize each customer engagement through sales and marketing.

And from there we’ll teach you more about the latest and greatest mobile and cloud technologies. And regardless of the size of your business, you’ll learn how to take those away and do something truly innovative and inspirational for your businesses.

Finally, on Thursday, in fact, probably one of my favorite keynotes of the week will be led by David Finn. David is from Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Lab. He’ll teach you all about the fascinating and sometimes frightening world of cybercrime, and tell you how we are doing everything we can to actually anticipate and mitigate the threats for those who look to exploit vulnerabilities in digital systems. So it will be a fascinating week.

The week itself doesn’t just hinge around all of these general sessions and deep-dive content. We also have a great, great setup over in the Experience Center. Make sure you take the time to get over to the Convergence Experience Center, because there you’ll find incredible customer showcases and demos and deep-dive case studies, all of our exhibitors, and a ton of great experiences.

Again, I want to thank you all for spending the time to be here with us. We personally believe that time is the most precious commodity, and we’re thankful that you chose to spend it here with us today.

So without further ado, let me introduce the rest of the morning. In just a few minutes, Satya Nadella, our chief executive officer, and Kirill Tatarinov will join the stage to talk to you more about the order of the possible, about empowering people and organizations and industries to achieve more.

Satya will outline the importance that business leaders have in the technology agenda. He’ll explain how we’re entering into the era of systems of intelligence, and how data is driving everything that we do. He’ll demonstrate powerful examples of how customers are leveraging it today and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

Kirill will then come and take the stage and talk about how technology is empowering individuals to achieve more, work smarter, and make better business decisions, to help companies transform their businesses.

We’ve got a great, great morning ahead of us, and a fantastic week ahead of us. I encourage you all to take it all in, to communicate and collaborate with one another, and really make this your event.

And now without further ado, it gives me great, great pleasure to introduce Microsoft’s chief executive officer, Satya Nadella. (Cheers, applause.)