Decoding the most important sessions delivered at Inspire

For this special series of the podcast leading up to Microsoft Inspire, I interview leaders from Microsoft's One Commercial Partner Team to discuss the work that their teams are doing to help partners thrive during this age of rapid transformation.

I was delighted to welcome back to the podcast Eduardo Kassner, the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the worldwide One Commercial Partner Organization under Gavriella Schuster. Eduardo was a previous guest on #39 - Fundamentals of Innovation for Partners to Transform.  

In this episode, Eduardo and I have a lively discussion on the state of disruption that is continuing in our industry, the work that his team has been doing to enable and ready partners to embrace the transformation, the amazing content and eBooks that they have been delivering that we all need to be aware of and have access to, and what's in store for partners and some must attend sessions at Microsoft Inspire, July 15th through the 19th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As with each of my episodes, I appreciate your support, please tell your friends about the podcast and where you can find us. And I’d love your feedback you can reach me at vincemenzione on linkedin twitter facebook and Instagram or at

Designed to Disrupt

Sessions we discuss at Inspire.


General Sessions & Breakouts

General Session | Eduardo KassnerAre you ready to capture the Artificial Intelligence opportunity? Come and learn from the best in the Market.MONDAY |
12:30-1:15 PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom F

BreakoutLearn best practices for finding and retaining top technical talentMONDAY |
1:45-2:30 PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom F

BreakoutPartner Capital Adequacy in a Cloud-first WorldMONDAY |
3:00-3:45 PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom F

General Session | Melissa MulhollandCapitalize on the Digital Transformation OpportunityMONDAY |
4:15-5:00 PMNorth, Level 0, Islander Ballroom A

BreakoutThere is nothing trivial about providing Cloud Migration or Operations Services. Come learn from the best and accelerate your practice.TUESDAY |
4:15-5:00 PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom C

Workshops & Booth Sessions

Want to build an AI Practice, or add AI Services to your products? Build your strategy based on best practices TUESDAY | 12:30-1:15PM North, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom I

WorkshopBeat the technical skills gap. Come build your strategy to attract, develop and retain top talent.TUESDAY | 2:00-3:00PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom G

WorkshopAccelerate the sales process with packaged cloud solutionsWEDNESDAY | 2:30-3:30PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom G

WorkshopAccelerate your cloud business modelWEDNESDAY | 4:00-5:00PMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom G

WorkshopValue Based Pricing Approached – Shifting Project Revenue to High Margin Recurring RevenueWEDNESDAY | 8:30-9:30AMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom G

WorkshopWant to provide the best Cloud Migration & Operations services? Come learn from the best practices and accelerate your successWEDNESDAY | 9:45-10:45AMNorth, Level 0, South Pacific Ballroom G

Transcript of the Interview.

Eduardo, welcome back to the podcast.

Eduardo K.:                      Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be back.

Vince Menzione:             I'm excited to have you back. I know how compressed your schedule is right now. This is a great time for a discussion about what your team's been up to, and what's going to happen at Inspire in Las Vegas. I'm happy to have you back right before the event this year.

Eduardo K.:                      Thank you so much. You're absolutely right. It's a race to Inspire at this point, but, it's actually a really fun time. There's a ton of innovation going on. A lot of movement. A lot of excitement, and really some cool plans for the next fiscal year, so thank you for having me. A pleasure to be here.

Vince Menzione:            For our listeners who didn't join us on episode 39, you're the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the One Commercial Partner Organization, worldwide. I thought we'd start with a discussion on your team's charter and mission.

Eduardo K.:                      Absolutely. Well, it's expanded since last time we talked. That's been great fun. We do five things. First, we do a lot of research that pertains to how partners are successful. It's very interesting for me to talk about this topic, because, as you know, there's a lot of research out there on the market size and the opportunities, but there's very little research that says, "This is the type of customer that is looking for this type of solution. Partners usually are successful with this type of project, and then the leading and trailing project after that is this other service." Or, "This other type of resources that you require to deliver this type of service."

We do very detailed research in three ways. One is, we talk to the most successful partners out there. We spend a lot of time finding out who is doing great in any technology and any platform, not just Microsoft. We try to approach them and ask them how they do and how they do it. Then second, we do surveys, and we use a lot of the market leading research firms and conduct all this research. This educates our second effort, which is the partner profitability, which is the eBooks that are released, the digital Partner series, for which you can download the first eBook that we just released.

This is an evolution of what we released a year and a half ago, which was the Profitability series. Really cool eBooks that get you started on what's the market opportunity, how should we be looking in this more for business leaders, looking at the investments that they want in the transformation of their business.

Vince Menzione:             I remember those.

Eduardo K.:                      Those were actually pretty acclaimed. We've just released a new version. The first book. We are going to release a whole bunch more in Inspire of this eBook series.

Third, we go into practice development. Like I talked last time, for me profitability is a lot of fun, but not enough. Right? We need to go into the how. Just saying you are going to be profitable is exciting, but then everybody is going to ask you the next question. Nobody is going to stop with "Oh, okay." That's going to be cool, but how am I going to actually do that? How am I going to actually achieve that? The how becomes all the research I just told you plus massive amount of reviews we do internally Microsoft and with Partners.

We really take a lot of pride in working very closely with some of the thought leaders in all the market segments. I'm talking about ISBM, PSI, different regions, different sizes, different markets, different verticals, and we validate tremendously this content so it's useful. Again, we do it not for entertainment but for usefulness. Right?

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      Is it practical? Does it actually help you build a better practice? Then I just was graced with the responsibility of leading all of the training and enablement motion of partners across Microsoft so we've got a brand new team. Super exciting and we are managing Partner University, the Learning Portal, the content for learning at the MPM website, and that's a lot right there.

Vince Menzione:             That's massive and massively important right now. Right?

Eduardo K.:                      Yes, yes, yes.

Vince Menzione:             During this transformation partners are all trying to figure this out and they need all the help they can get.

Eduardo K.:                      Exactly, and I'm deeply passionate about skills and skills development, so with that, the other part of that is I'm also in charge of all the field events we do for partners, so the investments, the management, how do we do them and the coordination. The coordination with our different subsidiaries. Then last but not least, I also lead some of the innovation projects that we're doing as OCP onto either cloud migration or innovation, or AI, practice development or MSP to cloud MSP evolution, or ISV distribution channels to ISV SaaS and marketplaces.

The fifth one is really a little bit or more, because it's how do we innovate and help our partners innovate, whether it be their business model, their technical delivery capabilities, or their technical depth. That's it.

Vince Menzione:             Yeah, that's a lot more than just it. That's an amazing portfolio of responsibility for the [inaudible 00:06:32]. It's all around this disruption right?

Eduardo K.:                      Absolutely.

Vince Menzione:             Partners need the help figuring it out. I've been talking about this disruption all this year, and you've been chronicalling this as well through some of the work you've been doing. In fact, I wanted to dive in here a little bit, because you and the team recently introduced a new eBook that you published this spring called Designed to Disrupt, and I wanted you to talk to our listeners a little bit about this eBook and we'll also provide links for our listeners to find it.

Eduardo K.:                      Absolutely. I'm really excited about this. I've been hailing to the four wins that the way to look at cloud is not through the pieces [inaudible 00:07:10] functions of it. I keep saying it's not about the Lego blocks. It's not about you understanding the different components. You need to have a deep understanding of them, but it's about what you can build with, and so most people don't light up until you tell them, "Let me tell you a story of how somebody else did it." And, "Let me tell you a story of how they did it."

It's a story of the what's and a story of the how's, and then a story of the why's. We talked a little bit about this last time, but let me go into it again. It's all about, if I tell you the story of how we helped on the recovery of the earthquake in Nepal, that via phone app, people could assess the damage of the properties. Send it to a central location. They could do a quick assessment and then prove the reconstruction or removal of debris. Disperse funds to that region, and then via queue cards on volunteers, people on the ground with cell phones could pay the volunteers.

Vince Menzione:             Wow.

Eduardo K.:                      All this was a web app and done in weeks. That wakes you up because all of a sudden it took me a minute, a minute and a half perhaps, but you understood the web technology, you understood the impact, and I don't know if you noticed, I didn't have to tell you the why. I didn't have to tell you it saved millions. It sped up the process tremendously, because the why was so impactful already that the what and the how took over, and the how was, "Oh, now I understand I need web apps and I need agility, and I don't want to have a virtual machine, I'd rather have a pass offering for this, so maybe mobile apps and I need some load balancing, or I need this across regions, and this is going to be money so I need compliance for it." All that came into the story, didn't have to explain it.

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      What we started thinking, this is James [Farhad 00:08:54], Barry Briggs and myself, my two co-authors and myself is why don't we write a book as a next version of Enterprise Cloud Strategy, which we did the second edition in February. Why don't we write a book, and we started this early last year. Last fiscal year, sorry, so that it would chronicle 30, 40 stories of how people have done through the pillars of digital transformation. Empower their employees, enhance their products, enhance customer services, enhance their operations, but also we added a fifth pillar, which is cloud for good, which is what I just talked about.

Through those five how can you be telling the story of how people used all these cloud technologies that we're hearing about to disrupt, to evolve, to transform for better their businesses. When we talk about the cloud computing revolution, we talk about the what and the how that transforms your business and the how transforms IT, because IT has been transformed and disrupted as well.

What's really interesting is we talk about tales of digital transformation, and so we go into engaging customers, empower your employees, optimize your operations, transform your products, and like I said, digital technology for good. This all ends with what we call brainstorming your future, which is how you envision, how do you dream, design, deliver, right?

Vince Menzione:             You know that's a really interesting one. Brainstorm your future.

Eduardo K.:                      Yeah, you know the most important part of this is how do you unshackle yourself from this is how we do it today? And you say, "Okay, it's not if you could start a new world what would you do?" That's just simple. It's a let's look at it from two angles. I hope you find this super interesting because the two angles are very different. The first one says, look at your current process, at inefficiency, bureaucracies, gaps, and enhanced ... you could say, "Well I don't have something there." Well you don't have then something to substitute, so that works, right?

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      Just build something and you build something fast and that works really well, but sometimes you say well I have to change the whole system or that seems like a rewrite, that seems like a migration and every time you say that word, oh my God, you suck the air out of the room. It's horrible. The point here it's really fun because you say, "Well a lot of this disruption that's happening, a lot of this innovation is on gaps. It's on inefficiencies. It's on things that just the system didn't do it, so nobody thought of doing it, so we keep doing it the old way so now we have a hybrid of paper and human processes and computer systems the way they have evolved." There's inefficiencies in the system that can be enhanced. That's the lower level. That's the bottom up.

There's also the top down which is if you would dream of the company again, which market would it address? Which services would it provide? Which mission would it accomplish? You'd say, "Oh my God, that's another ... that's big thinking." Well the bottom line can have so much stuff that it becomes big thinking too, so be careful.

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      The point is you've got to look at it from both angles. In some cases, one angle is more appropriate. Big consulting type. I don't mean big consulting as you need a big consulting, but I mean as in you're doing big consulting thinking. How do I re-envision the mission of the vision of the company? How do I re-envision how I sell? How do I re-envision which market I go to? That's big thinking, but also a lot of small thinking becomes super critical because it ends up being big transformation. Both of them. We talk about both of them. The first one being the top down being dream, design, deliver and the bottom up being called envision.

Then how do you make the transformation happen and the disruption let it happen? On business, on technology and on economic benefits, and how do you measure it?

Super excited about the book. It is built for business decision makers on purpose, so the audience is ... every IT person I think should read it because it educates us on how to talk to the business side, but it's written for the business, not for IT people, because I think they're the ones who are the new key stakeholders that will decide how big we go with technology.

Vince Menzione:             Yeah, agreed and those are the people making some of these technology decisions or disruption decisions that are happening right now.

Eduardo K.:                      45% according to leading analysts.

Vince Menzione:             Yup, and probably growing at this point. We could probably spend this entire podcast discussing this. We're going to provide links in the show notes, and maybe we're going to come back for another episode and just do a deep dive here, but we also have Inspire coming up so I want to talk about the event and some of the compelling sessions you and team are organizing around. Some of the topics that come to mind for customers and partners are around things like cloud migration, AI, the skills gap. I want to peel back with you on each of these topics as they're incredibly compelling right now given the state of the business transformation and all three topics are ones that partners should really, deeply care about right?

Eduardo K.:                      Absolutely. Absolutely. Look the first session ... we're doing four sessions, seven workshops, three breakouts. My team and I are doing a lot of good stuff at Inspire, and it's a big event for us, but I'll just cover the four big ones that we're going to be talking about.

I will be, starting on Monday, 16, with a session called, Are You Ready to Capture the Artificial Intelligence Opportunity? It's very exciting for me to talk about AI, because there's a lot of really cool stuff that we've been doing there. The first thing is we launched a playbook for AI. Playbook has been incredibly well received. We spent a ton of time validating the content, making sure that it was useful. Not just from people who are doing it and being successful, but from people who are starting a desire to grow in this space. We validated it as in, "Does this really help you or do you need different topics?" We actually went and wrote everything that was needed.

It goes very deep into how to define the strategy for a successful AI practice. Whether you are using this to enhance your services and products. Right, whether your and ISV and you just want to embed some AI into your product, or whether you're an existing SI practice and you're building an application for somebody and you want to embed some AI into it. Whether you're building a full AI service, or you're doing some big data analysis and insight, and you want to do some exploration and some learning and then gather from that some more advanced insight, or whether you're building a full model and custom algorithm. The first thing that we learned through this for the AI session and the workshop is that there are pretty much four stages that we see partners using AI. Again, it's very exciting because most people come in and say, "Oh my God, AI, I need some math PhD's. I need some big data scientists. This is going to be impossible. That talent is super hard to get. I don't know how I'm going to address this. This needs some PhD math level understanding. Too much."

Vince Menzione:             Right, that's how I think about AI. I think about how do I go do this? Can I do this or do I have to hire or plug in another application to do it.

Eduardo K.:                      I'm sorry to say this Vince, but absolutely wrong approach. Completely, 100% wrong approach. AI starts with using a chat bot which is fairly simple. You can write an FAQ, you give it to the FAQ chat bot that we have and it converts her into a working chat bot that can answer questions. You can imbed AI fairly simple.

The first stage is a chat bot and cognitive services. We have a ton of cognitive services and with their own vision for language, for text, for knowledge, you can use them and they're APIs. If you have a good developer, they can learn how to use these APIs fairly simple. It's not a fathomable task. It's not something that requires a ton of learning curve. My point is the first stage is fairly simple and as long as you have a good developer you can use it to enhance your products, your services, et cetera.

The second level would be custom models. Custom models is where you start thinking about big data, or you start thinking about who owns the data. It's really important that you understand who owns the data and who cares about the insight of that data. That's where you bring in perhaps a data scientist, but more in the sense of somebody that understands big data and that's where you get into data cleansing, data scrubbing. Perhaps managing data holes or biases. That's where you do modeling.

Vince Menzione:             Okay.

Eduardo K.:                      Then the third level is where you do custom algorithms. That is where you get into some good math, and you know fair, you may need more depending on how deep you want to go. Insurance companies are investing in this deeply and financial institutions, and healthcare, et cetera, so it's fun. Genomics, you're not going to do genomics easy way. There's no easy way to do genomics, but we already have a tool kit, an API, but of course, if you're already doing genomics, you're already in the topic right?

Vince Menzione:             Absolutely.

Eduardo K.:                      That takes you to the fourth pillar, which is not the hardest on the scale. I would call this another access which is your depth on a certain vertical. If you're really deep on financial, or in insurance, or on churn for retail. Then that drives your conversation to go deeper into these topics, but then again, you have the three scales. You can start with a chat bot, you can go to modeling, you can go to advanced algorithms. I hope that this shows you we've done a lot of work. We have built really good playbook. At the session I'm going to showcase two amazing companies and how they use AI. One is a systems integrator and they do some incredible envisioning, and the second one is a really cool ISV who does some amazing, amazing ... they have a hypothesis engine that does hypothesis on data. You just point it to data and it generates hypothesis on it. There's some really cool stuff happening in the market here and that's going to be our first topic.

Vince Menzione:             That's going to be a general session. That's going to be on Monday. We're going to provide links to that, and like I said, to me this is the hot topic at Inspire. I think AI is probably the biggest topic for all of the partners, all the people that are going to be attending Inspire.

Eduardo K.:                      Absolutely. The second session I'm presenting is ... there's no order here. There's no order of importance. I'm just listening them as they happen. The second one is dearest and nearest topic to my heart called Learn Best Practices for Finding and Retaining Technical Talent.

Vince Menzione:             Yup.

Eduardo K.:                      This goes into a playbook that we're working on, that we plan to release after Inspire. We're still working on the exact that. Look Vince, we've all talked about the war on talent. You don't like the way I said that.

Vince Menzione:             I know, but it's so true right now. I mean I talk to partners. I find that it's so hard to find great talent. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States are having difficulty attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining that talent today. Yeah.

Eduardo K.:                      Worldwide. Worldwide, and I'll tell you something. I said war on talent to be provocative, but I could call it skills gap. I could call it anything we've called it, but it's right, it's hard to recruit, attract, recruit a hire and it seems like we've never talked about in that detail because I don't think we've ever been challenged in it, but again, attract, recruit, hire talent, onboard, develop it, retain it and grow it. The session is exactly about best practices. We've been talking to about 50 companies and ourselves on how we do this. We've captured best practices. We have per each one of the most sought after roles we have job descriptions. We have methods that people use. Where do they detect the talent and attract it from? Best practices to hire. Best practices to onboard. How do they develop it? And also best practices on how they keep it, retain and build the community within their company. Super exciting topic. Big topic to wrangle in one hour.

Vince Menzione:             Really important. I called AI the hot topic, but this one is core to the business, and all of our partners are struggling with. I think it's a bigger issue candidly around all our education here in this country. Are we providing the right education and format to make our students when they get out of school have it so they have the right skills in order to be in these jobs that need to be filled.

Eduardo K.:                      Fascinating that you say that, because for me, it's four angles and I hope that this sparks new thoughts on you and on the listeners that we have. The first one is yes, you have to generate new talent, which means how do we education our students to grow from middle school, right?

Vince Menzione:             Yup.

Eduardo K.:                      Through high school and through college to understand the technical skills that are required to be successful in the future, and the technical skills are not longer going to be just, "I need data scientists." Which are the hardest to find right now. No, no, no. I'm talking about everybody needs some advanced Excel, right?

Vince Menzione:             Exactly.

Eduardo K.:                      Everybody needs some advanced scheduling and program management and project management capabilities in order to succeed today. Everybody needs collaboration skills, and understanding how to use different platforms. We weren't born in an era where you collaborated in a team site as well as in a portal, as well as in electronic communications and email. We're growing naturally into that world and our kids are, but the question is, are they being efficient, are they being effective and are we teaching them how to progress, automate and enhance this type of services. It's fascinating to me how AI is making it's way naturally into some of these conversations in a very simple way and people are using it, like [inaudible 00:21:54] analysis or advanced visualization on the guest list of a wedding which I saw the other day and it surprised the living daylights out of me, but, to each his own. My point is it's getting embedded into our day-to-day.

Now, this is not the fascinating one, because for me, somebody that comes right out of college doesn't know how to manage a production workload, doesn't understand social impact, has not managed complex budgets. Has not managed key stakeholders or virtual teams, so there's some social skills, there's some project management skills, there's some coordination skills and there is some production skills, whether you want to go very technical. Have you managed repositories, have you managed collaboration, have you managed sprints of development? The point is whether you want to go very technical or you want to go business management, you want to go program management, it doesn't matter.

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      You have the need for advanced skills that don't come out of college.

Vince Menzione:             That's right.

Eduardo K.:                      The importance of having experience together with education is one. I said four. I'll go fast. Two is there's a ton of professionals out there which we are all hiring. This is not Microsoft's going to hire them for me. No, we're all hiring them and training them because the current company has not trained them for years, and then when we say, "Hmm, we need someone with some job experience and we can train them for the rest." Well you got them. We got them.

The point is, why aren't we developing this amazing set of professionals that exists within the talent pool today that have experience in everything I said in bullet number one?

Vince Menzione:             Good point.

Eduardo K.:                      We need to develop the existing talent that we have, and we need to find learning paths that evolves them and enhances them into being able to not only efficient, but innovative and transformative in this cloud era.

Then the third one is, there's a tremendous amount of population coming from military and other populations that is just amazing. Their disciplined. Their smart.

Vince Menzione:             Leadership skills I call them.

Eduardo K.:                      They have tremendous leadership skills. Exactly, and so we have a very successful program which I will highlight in my session of how to re-skill existing people from military who want to go into the private sector, and then grow their career there.

Vince Menzione:             Yup. It's led by my good friend Chris [Corques 00:24:02] in fact, at Microsoft.

Eduardo K.:                      There you go. There you go, and so him among others yes. It's actually very interesting to hear about how some companies are taking really good advantage of this incredible and exciting population of really highly skilled professionals that again, don't have that large of a delta to be ready to transact into the cloud and be successful, or into [inaudible 00:24:24].

Then the last and the fourth one, because I'm sure I'm surprised you by now, or I hope I have, is there's a lot of people not quite ready to retire or that have lost their job because companies have gone down or et cetera, so not because of any performance issue or personal issue, but that have the right skills and again, could be re-skilled into the cloud fairly easy. I've seen some really interesting programs for instance from companies, from India all the way to New Jersey of how they go into unemployment offices and find the right talent, and then interview them and do internships for six, nine months. Develop the talent, hire it and become wildly successful.

Vince Menzione:             I love that topic. That's a great topic.

Eduardo K.:                      My point is, we have to stop being so monolithic in our thinking on, "Oh, we've got to hire only from this population." Anyone that I said. It's actually a complex problem and we have to be creative, and the ones who are being most creative and their developing their own talent as well as generating new pools of talent are the ones being most successful.

Vince Menzione:             I think people try to simplify that topic and to your point, it's much more complex than most people imagine.

Eduardo K.:                      You know what, I set myself up for some crazy cool challenge on this one, because first of all, 45 minutes for both topics is a hard one already. Right?

Vince Menzione:             Yup.

Eduardo K.:                      Migration and operations, but I'll tell you something, we're about to release ... actually we're going to launch on Inspire The Cloud Migration Playbook. It is a rethinking. We had the Cloud Infrastructure Playbook. We rethought that space and we're going to reduce the scope of The Cloud Infrastructure Playbook significantly because we are, like I said, we're writing this Cloud Migration Playbook which we're going to launch at Inspire, and then trailing that we're going to develop into Q1 a cloud operations playbook, but very big topics. We did a ton of research on this. We found not only what's the process, the method, the positioning, the envisioning, the assessment of migration, but also the process for actual migration for setting up the subscriptions management best practices for optimization and then automation as well as resiliency. Then the trail off is how do you set up a successful MSP practice. Right?

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      Which is going to be the lesser scope for the session. It's going to be the last piece of it, but the biggest piece is the front end that I just mentioned. Then we have workshops on every topic I just mentioned. There's going to be workshops there. There are smaller rooms so I encourage everybody to sign up soon. There's a whole bunch of really interesting sessions that we're doing. These are the main ones. We have about 22 partner meetings and a couple of panels. Looks like it's going to be a very busy week.

Vince Menzione:             It's going to be a very busy week for you my friend. We're going to provide a link. In our link we're going to have all of this information. All the sessions listed. I can't wait to see this Cloud Migration Playbook myself. I think this is a very fascinating topic, because we try to make it a generic ... Cloud migration, okay what does that mean? It means so many different things depending on what cloud. What do you migrating?

Eduardo K.:                      You know what, you said something key there. A lot of people just bundle it up, but if you want to unbundle that to the first click, it's an infrastructure app innovation, or app migration, or app rethinking, and the data migration. Just by saying that, you're absolutely right. It has such a big bundle that people don't necessarily double click on and when we started double clicking we found so much goodness.

Vince Menzione:             Well we're thankful to have you and your team here to help our partners. You are a tremendous resource to those partners, and I'm just curious, it's been about six months since the last time we chatted. What are some of the new and more fascinating things you've seen happen since we last spoke in terms of industry trends? Partner use case examples? You gave us a couple examples earlier, but I'm just curious what's top of mind for you?

Eduardo K.:                      Well it resounds on the three topics we mentioned and the evolution of the business model of our partners. If you think about the three topics that we talked about, right, we talked about four if you wish. We talked about the evolution of people in their utilization of cloud technologies, whether that be migration, operation, et cetera.

The second being data, big data and visualization in AI. Right?

Vince Menzione:             Yup.

Eduardo K.:                      The third one being the skills, the challenge and how people are evolving and developing their people, and developing their work habits, and developing their collaboration methods, and rethinking how their skilled labor force enables them to develop new services. It all points to the fourth, which is, how does this transform their business, and so for me it's been fascinating to see the actual effect on the market. The effect of the how does the embedding some AI to fully creating new AI, to visions, practices, companies, subsidiaries, some of our partners have evolved. It's been fascinating to see how business that were based on PRIM, delivering on PRIM, operations on PRIM, facilities management are looking into embedding in cloud, whether it be for management security compliance or even for migration and operations, and how that affects their business, their P&L. Their envisions of their success in the future. Some are cannibalizing their existing product lines, service lines to build new ones.

Some are organically building different ones and enhancing. Some are just flat out right creating new companies on the side and seeing which one succeeds. It's really cool not to stand on the sidelines but to actually see it firsthand. I've been working very closely with I would dare say over 25 companies, and very closely I mean constantly in talking to them and helping them re-envision their business, re-envision their services, talking to their technical teams and in many cases talking to their customers and understanding how their successful. It's not trivial what's happening. It is a restructuring and re-envisioning of our success in the market. All of our success, and so what I'm very proud to say is that we only envision our success with our partners. It's absolutely an honor and a pleasure to have collaborated, and to continue to collaborate so close with them. Learn from them and grow with them.

That's the key to our success. I don't foresee a future where we're not doing this as a community, and where we're not doing this together. I think that's the key to success literally and nothing else.

Vince Menzione:             With all of those partners that you spend time with and you interview and you basically distill their success strategies, is there one thing that stands out that you believe is true to why they become successful both in their business and how they partner with Microsoft?

Eduardo K.:                      Yeah, I think that I said it in the previous sentences. It's the spirit of collaboration. It's the spirit of joint success. It's the spirit of let's do this together. The days of you give me the flour and I bake the bread, and you don't care about how I do it, and this is my secret sauce and stay away from me, and I know how to do this, and they don't also. That can be both ways too. To the customer, to the partner, to the ecosystem, to the supplies.

Vince Menzione:             Yup.

Eduardo K.:                      I think that is very clearly not working, and so what's really accelerating the ones that we're seeing growing tremendously are the ones who look for opportunities to partner, look for opportunities to do joint development, joint investment, joint growth. They do this with us, they do this with their customers, they do this to other partners, and they find ways to be successful by enabling others, and so we're following that equation to the T, if you notice, and we're learning a lot by doing it. It's a completely different spirit. I think we had all become very used to, I give you something, I drop it over the wall and then thank you, and I'm not talking about Microsoft, I'm talking about the whole industry.

Vince Menzione:             Right, a give get. Right, everything is reciprocal, but it's not collaboration truly. It's transactional.

Eduardo K.:                      Exactly.

Vince Menzione:             Right.

Eduardo K.:                      Exactly. That's it.

Vince Menzione:             That's fantastic. Really great insights Eduardo, just terrific. You know, you obviously have all these great insights and things. I know you're a continual student in terms of what you're doing. What books are inspiring you as you're heading into this new fiscal year at Microsoft?

Eduardo K.:                      Well there's a book that I really recommend. It's called The Future Computed. It's a book that we released. Brad Smith and Harry Shum providing the forward for this. It talks about AI. It talks about the ethics on AI. I'm quite fascinated on the big data AI topic right now. I'm reading a couple of books on it, but this is the first one I'd highly recommend.

Vince Menzione:             The Future Computed. We're going to make sure we have a link to that in our show notes.

Eduardo K.:                      I was proud to say that I wanted to admit something in a pod cast. Not something we should do publicly. I'm rereading my science fiction with my 15 year old, alongside with him, so don't tell anybody, but some good Isaac Asimov didn't hurt anybody. We're going through foundation series again.

Vince Menzione:             He was fascinat ... You know he wrote over 400 books in his ... I mean it's amazing.

Eduardo K.:                      Well I'll tell you something. Nothing like re-reading something you read when you were growing up with your kid and the impressions that you see that's causing on him and my memories of when I read the book. Fascinating stuff.

Vince Menzione:             Well it's fascinating times that we live in as well. Thank you for being along on the journey with us at The Ultimate Guide to Partnering. For our listeners who want to engage with you and the team, what's the best way for them to reach out?

Eduardo K.:                      Well I'm always accessible. You can reach us out. You can reach us through the blog that we publish, through MPN, or just approach us at Inspire. We have a booth. We have sessions. It's always a pleasure to talk to any of you.

Vince Menzione:             Well I'm excited to sit in on your sessions. I will be there. I'm going to try to make all three of these sessions that you've referenced and I know that there are some other break outs as well. I hope our partners can join us. Looking forward to an exciting Inspire with Eduardo. Thank you for joining us today.

Eduardo K.:                      Thank you. Appreciate it