I just returned from Microsoft’s World Wide Partner Conference 2014 in Washington, D.C. This being my second year in attendance, I am still somewhat of a newbie to the conference. That being said, I’ve learned this conference in particular is a great way to get a pulse on the trends and thought leadership of the Microsoft partner community as a whole. Below are a just a few of my observations from this year’s conference.

More Lync partners stepping up

There are a growing number of traditional Microsoft SIs who are starting to build and grow Lync consulting and services practices. With Microsoft “all in” on cloud, it’s going to be easier than ever for organizations to take a look to Lync as the center of their UC platform. This should continue to open the door for more partners to wrap services and custom solutions around that.

Azure is on everyone’s mind

It seemed like everyone was talking about leveraging Azure in some form or fashion. The range varied widely between custom apps built directly onto Azure, to virtual machines that can run most traditional windows applications in a cloud based model. The one and only session I sat in was around Azure and you could see the excitement of partners wanting to capitalize on the new and upcoming capabilities of the cloud platform.

Yammer being used more heavily to collaborate between organizations

Every Microsoft partner I spoke to wanted to connect on “Yammer”. It seems everybody already has Lync federation setup, but more partners are wanting to connect via Yammer for less real-time communication needs. If you haven’t checked out Yammer as a Microsoft partner, I highly suggest you kick the tires soon.

Polycom/Plantronics/Sonus throw some awesome parties

On a more non-techie note, if you haven’t attended one of the joint parties thrown my Polycom, Plantronics, and Sonus recently, I would highly recommend checking one out at an upcoming conference. This year’s WPC party was hosted atop the W Hotel in DC. Very nice venue needless to say.

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