The message is loud and clear, paradigm shifting AI technology is changing the game for Microsoft partners. Find out what the Dicker Data team see as the key call outs from Microsoft Inspire 2023.

Sarah Loiterton Sarah Loiterton General Manager Microsoft Cloud
Sarah Loiterton

Microsoft Inspire 2023 Key Takeaways for Partners

Microsoft has announced that the Cloud Solution Provider program has officially evolved into the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program to reflect the general availability of new AI-powered solutions. 

“The Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program brings together everything across the entire partner lifecycle, including onboarding, skilling, go-to-market, incentives, and co-selling. Partners get all the value and benefits of the previous program plus access to new offerings and benefits specific to AI.” 

This is how Microsoft is investing in partners to enable them to capitalise on the economic opportunities that Microsoft AI presents. There is no action for partners to take, all existing partners are immediately enrolled into the new program maintaining their existing benefits and designations.  

Other AI focused announcements that stood out to me included: 

  • New AI Transformation Playbook – to guide partners on navigating the opportunity. 
  • The ‘Build & Modernise’ AI Apps specialisation allowing partners to demonstrate their deep technical expertise in building intelligent apps. 
  • New Era of AI Marketing Campaign in a Box for demand generation. 

The message is loud and clear, customers’ cloud adoption needs have rapidly evolved over the last couple of years. AI is here now, and partners are already driving innovation and transformation with customers across industries to help them realise the benefits of integrating AI capabilities into every level of their organisations.  

If the announcements at Inspire 23 sparked ideas of opportunity for your business, reach out to my team! We have experts across Modern Work & Security, Azure, Biz Apps and everything in between. In fact, here are their top take aways from the event: 

Saeed Nouri – Microsoft Azure Technical Specialist shares on Security: 

Microsoft showed the emphasis on the value of cyber security managed services and drivers for a business to invest in building the practices. 

  • 82% ransomware attacks targeted SMBs  
  • 50% employees use personal device to access work data  
  • 3.4M global cyber security personal shortage  

Nouri explains, “The Australian market is heavily saturated with small business. All statistics show growing targeted attacks against these businesses. Microsoft security stack backed by AI and threat intelligence simplifies the journey.  Through this avenue, SMBs can leverage all the benefits of enterprise grade solutions without massive investment and stay protected - which is exciting!” 

Microsoft discussed the Cybersecurity skill gap. The number of skilled resources in the market is not keeping up with the massive growth of vulnerabilities and evolving attacks. They shared learning materials and new workshops including;  

  • Into the Breach (threat protection leveraging Microsoft Sentinel)  
  • On the Brink (data security leveraging Microsoft Purview)  
  • Shadow Hunter (multicloud protection leveraging Microsoft Defender for Cloud)  


Nouri says: “There is a huge skill gap in AU market. Partners are keen to explore and invest but training their technical resources in a real-world scenario can be challenging.  These workshops will significantly reduce the barriers. Additionally, partners can look to Dicker Data’s partner enablement, ASCEND for a range of training solutions from live hands-on Labs, sales workshops and virtual programs.”  

Microsoft discussed Security at the edge with Entra. Microsoft SSE solution gets delivered using the "Microsoft global network," which connects data centers across 61 Azure regions with more than 185 global network POPs. Ref.  

Nouri explains: “While the solution is still in preview, we’ve started seeing competitor’s panic. Having a unified, simple solution in conjunction with the other existing investment i.e., Azure and M365 makes more sense for end users in comparing to adopting ad-hoc 3rd party solutions.   

This solution is expected to replace the traditional VPN connection and facilitate secure remote access. While the associated costs of the solution are unknown, we’re expecting competitive figures or even inclusion in some M365 SKU.  With the number of M365 licenses in the AU market, adoption of SSE solution should not be a huge step up therefore upselling at scale is predicted.” 


Steven Lanfranca – Microsoft Modern Work Technical Specialist shares: 

Microsoft showcased the latest on Microsoft Security Copilot the AI-powered security analysis tool that enables analysts to respond to threats quickly, process logs and alerts at “machine speed”, and assess risks in minutes. Security CoPilot is an adaptive AI system that improves through user feedback and integrates with other Microsoft security products (such as Defender, Intune and Sentinel) as well as other third-party systems1.  

Lanfranca explains: What excites me the most is the ability for technical staff to input queries and questions, in normal terms, for Copilot to analyse, action and report on suspicious activities or incidents. With the increasing skills and staffing shortages, this will allow for a wider range of people to enter the space with a lower barrier to entry.   

Due to the simplicity of the platform, I believe it will result in improved response times, improvements involving incident / root cause analysis and post incident reporting. This will allow partners to service more customers, with less overheads.  

Lastly, existing Defender for Endpoint users will be prioritised for early access. I would encourage partners to register their interest here. 

Another interesting announcement came off the back of the discussion on Microsoft Syntex Content Management. Microsoft showed that M365 backups are necessary – this is a new, Microsoft native product with the ability to quickly backup and restore data, i.e. backup up to every 15 mins. It automatically reads, tags, and indexes high volumes of content and connects it where it’s needed—in search, in applications, and as reusable knowledge. It manages your content throughout its lifecycle with robust analytics, security, and automated retention2. 

Lanfranca says: “This is exciting for a few reasons – firstly, leveraging AI to work with your SharePoint data. Many organisations have a lot of data in SharePoint, but it isn’t organised. Synex will give structure to your SharePoint data, to help understand what all this data is even doing.  

Secondly, having data within SharePoint organised and enhanced, it will allow developers to create apps to work with the existing information, as well as more advanced searching functionality. Also, the MS Search (using Content AI) functionality will be powerful. Giving the ability of staff just to “ask” for something. 

Finally, Microsoft hasn’t had a product in this space before and businesses have had to rely on 3rd parties to provide this service. Syntex still works with these 3rd party providers, but this will enhance that experience. M365 backups are necessary – not an optional extra! Many organisations still believe “it’s in the cloud” is a backup strategy, forgetting the shared responsibility model. Syntex will conduct backups up to every 15 minutes, while still allowing for quick restoration times.  Demo for M365 Backups. 

There is a significant opportunity for partners to really benefit from Syntex. Apart from backups being standard best practices, a requirement for the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Essential 8, as well as regulatory requirements demand backups, it may just allow for a simplification of partners existing backup solution. Given Syntex is a MS native solution, it makes it easy for partners to implement and manage, reducing overheads and increasing margin". 


Arsenio Mendoza – Microsoft Business Applications Practice Lead shares: 

Microsoft introduced Sales Copilot, designed to assist sellers in increasing productivity and personalising customer interactions to improve deal closures. This role-based copilot can be accessed in various Microsoft tools, like Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and Dynamics 365 Sales, and can also connect to other CRM systems like Salesforce. 

Mendoza says: Sales Copilot is a solution that Partners can introduce to Dynamics and Salesforce customers providing time-saving CRM task automation, auto-generates email or meeting summaries, and offers AI-powered real-time insights, such as top opportunities and customer opportunity summaries. 

Microsoft showed Power Automate Process Mining, a tool that leverages next-generation AI to help businesses optimise their processes, reduce complexity, and drive continuous process improvement through automation and low-code apps. 

Mendoza explains:  "Microsoft is also updating its Power Platform licensing, introducing the "Power Automate Premium" license for USD 15 per user per month, which includes unlimited cloud flows and desktop flows (RPA) as well as entitlements to Power Automate Process Mining". 

The tool offers rich visual process maps, AI-powered root cause analysis, and interactive drill-downs to provide insights for process improvement. It also includes recommended key performance indicators (KPIs) and filter options to uncover inefficiencies and opportunities for automation. 

Partners can begin to work with their clients on optimizing business processes and act with low-code automation, leveraging Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents". 

Microsoft shared a new program called AIM - (Accelerate, Innovate, Move) that provides customers a clear migration strategy to the cloud and identifies areas where the customer can take advantage of Microsoft’s AI Copilot functionality utilising Dynamics 365. 

Mendoza explains: AIM offers assessments to help businesses understand the value and steps of migrating to the cloud. Microsoft emphasises that AIM empowers businesses to adopt AI-powered technologies and guides them to unlock the full potential of AI-guided productivity. 

AIM for Cloud Migration and AI will allow Microsoft Partners to work with their clients on assessments to help migrate their legacy business applications to the cloud and leverage the capabilities of AI across the business. 


Daniel Janicki – Microsoft Azure Practice Lead shares on Migrations: 

EOS for Windows Server and SQL Server: Microsoft is preparing for the end of support for Windows Server 2012/R2 in October. Microsoft has announced a roadmap for providing extended security updates with Azure Arc for these resources.  

Janicki discusses: "As we know there are large list of resources running on these older versions out in the market.Beyond technology discussion, it is a fantastic opportunity for partners to review and assist their customers with this upgrade planning journey. 

By leveraging Azure Express Assessment and AMMP programs, customers can migrate to Azure and operate on newer versions.  Dicker Data can help you hit the ground running with this opportunity from generating demand in your customer base, to pitching & executing the migrations" 

In all my years working in the Microsoft ecosystem I can’t recall another conference with quite so many announcements! If these insights sparked your interest and curiosity, reach out to the team to learn more and hopefully build your AI enriched Microsoft practice.  

Contact for all your technology needs.


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