Feedback from the Channel on Microsoft Inspire 2018 (#MSInspire)

Takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2018July is the month for Microsoft’s worldwide partner conference — Microsoft Inspire — which has moved to Las Vegas for the next several years. In past years, many product and partner program details were shared primarily through Inspire (formerly WPC), Ignite, Build, TechEd, and other regional events. We now see many announcements diffused across multiple events, online and offline, due to the evergreen nature of innovation, and the seemingly constant releases from Microsoft and its partners. But while the announcements made at a single conference may not be as big and bold as in the past, the faster pace of information is necessary to meet the needs of partners in an increasingly competitive environment. Personally, I felt that Inspire 2018 was a good blend of announcements and best practices, with more of a focus on partner strategy and sustained growth than in past years (this being my 8th year attending).

In this month’s CollabTalk tweetjam, we will discuss our collective “Takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2018” and give members of the Microsoft partner community an opportunity to share our feedback from all of the various announcements, sessions, and social activities from those that were able to attend the event in Las Vegas, or who participated in the virtual activities from afar. Join us on Tuesday, July 31st at 9am Pacific / 6pm CEST via Twitter and the #CollabTalk hashtag using your favorite Twitter dashboard (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer, etc) to take part in this monthly discussion.

You do not need to be an “expert” to participate in the online conversation, and can ask questions, comment on the questions posed, or just “lurk” in the background. These online discussions are open to anyone — you do not have to be on the panel to participate.

This month’s tweetjam is once again being sponsored by our good friends at tyGraph.

If you have never participated in one of the tweetjams, it’s pretty simple: anyone can jump in and share their thoughts, or watch from the wings and absorb the wisdom of the crowd. Either way, it’ll be a TON of content to consume in a single hour. You can follow the live session using the Twitter UI of your choice. How it works is that I’ll post a series of questions every few minutes, and people will respond to Q1, Q2, Q3 and so forth with A1, A2, A3, always including the #CollabTalk and #MSInspire hashtags with their answers. Feel free to reply as often (or as little) as you’d like, ask your own follow up questions, share relevant links, re-tweet others, and engage with the audience.

The questions we will discuss during this month’s tweetjam include:

  1. For those who attended #MSInspire in Las Vegas earlier this month or watched online, what were your 3 top takeaways?
  2. Which Microsoft programs and resources (ISV Resource Hub, ISV Cloud Embed, GTM Services, etc) are you leveraging to grow your business?
  3. With Microsoft 365, Azure, a free version of Teams, and many new cloud, apps, and data technologies, where do you see the greatest partner opportunities?
  4. Are you taking advantage of Microsoft’s AppSource and partner co-selling programs? If so, what’s your feedback?
  5. What are your thoughts on the newly announced advanced specializations and the Azure Expert MSP Initiative as ways to differentiate your business?
  6. Satya Nadella’s keynote focused on themes of ’empathy’ and ’emotional intelligence.’ How do these themes inform your own strategies?
  7. What other announcements should Microsoft partners and customers pay attention to from Inspire 2018?

Our panel this month will continue to expand, but the folks who have confirmed so far include:

  • Jon Rivers (@jon_rivers), social media disruption expert, founder of Marketing Monarchs
  • Kelvin Kirby (@kjkirbu), ceo of Technology Associates
  • Christine Bongard (@cdbongard), director of partner channel & alliances at ATSG, global chairperson at IAMCP Women in Technology (WIT)
  • Scott Bekker (@scottbekker), editor at Redmond Channel Partner magazine and 
  • Jill Kunkel (@queenkunk), Microsoft partner ecosystem channel pro
  • Francois Pienaar (@fhpienaar), sales executive at Mint Management Technologies
  • Barb Campbell (@AllianceCoach3), chief of strategic alliances and partners at Campbell Consultants, Ltd
  • Heather Newman (@heddanewman), co-founder and cmo of ContentPanda, Office Apps & Services MVP
  • Nikkia Carter (@ladygwenavear), director of collaboration and training at C3 Integrated Solutions
  • Eric Riz (@rizinsights), SharePoint MVP and ceo of Empty Cubicle
  • Patrick Curran (@pcfromdc), director, federal group at Planet Technologies
  • Brian Levenson (@brian_levenson), product manager for Microsoft Azure
  • Barb Levisay (@blevisay),  contributing editor at Redmond Channel Partner magazine
  • Ragnar Heil (@ragnarh), Office Servers & Services MVP and Microsoft alliance manager EMEA for Quest/Metalogix
  • Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin), SharePoint MVP and productivity evangelist at Britehouse
  • Paul Solski (@paulsolski), managing director & founder of AIM International
  • Ed Senez (@edsenez), president at UnlimitedViz and TyGraph
  • Brian Culver (@SPbrianculver), SharePoint MCM and founder, president of Expert Point Solution
  • Tobiasz Koprowski (@KoprowskiT), Data Platform MVP, independent consultant
  • Stacy Deere-Strole (@sldeere), SharePoint MVP and owner of Focal Point Solutions
  • Alistair Pugin (@alistairpugin), SharePoint MVP and productivity evangelist at Britehouse
  • Fabian Williams (@fabianwilliams), Microsoft   &  MVP
  • Jason Kaczor (@jjkaczor), Microsoft MVP, solutions architect and consultant for Ontario Public Service
  • Dean Swann (@sdeanswann), social collaborator, growth hacker and product manager for UnlimitedViz
  • Raphael Koellner (@ra_koellner), Office Servers & Services MVP, consultant at Bechtle IT-Systemhouse Cologne
  • Paul Swider (@pswider), cto at RealActivity and enterprise SharePoint strategist
  • Randy Drisgill (@drisgill), SharePoint MVP and branding and design expert at Rackspace
  • Thorbjørn Værp (@vaerpn), SharePoint MVP and principal consultant / regional manager at Point Taken
  • Sebastien Levert (@sebastienlevert), Office365 MVP and specialist in Azure, SharePoint, and O365
  • Sascha Fredrich (@saschaF80), IT consultant of Microsoft solutions at bei Bechtle AG
  • and your host, Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet), Microsoft Regional Director & MVP, cmo at, and the founder & ceo of CollabTalk LLC

If you missed the corenotes/keynotes, be sure to watch them on-demand here.

And as always, anyone and everyone is invited to the online discussion. And thank you again to tyGraph for your support of this CollabTalk tweetjam! If you are interested in being a sponsor of a future tweetjam, please contact me at

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.