Microsoft Inspire 2023 kicked off with exciting announcements, highlighting the tech giant’s commitment to creating new opportunities across its partner ecosystem in the rapidly evolving Artificial Intelligence (AI) era. Microsoft is inventing products to increase business capabilities and optimization to tap into a new level of innovation and creativity using generative AI tools.
In this article, we’ll take you through some of the key announcements from the Microsoft Inspire 2023 virtual event.
Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program
Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program (formerly known as Microsoft Partner Network) has evolved for all Microsoft commercial partners. Partners get the value and benefits of the previous program plus access to new offerings and benefits specific to AI.
There will be 2 qualifying levels:The Solutions Partner level replaces the legacy Silver and Gold membership tiers and demonstrates a partner’s capability to deliver customer success within their chosen solution area.
Specializations and expert programs will allow Solutions Partners to differentiate and demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each area specialization.
With the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program, there are six Solutions partner designations available for partners (before in MPN there were 18 competencies) that align with Microsoft’s solution areas thus simplifying the partnering with Microsoft.. Each aligns with a specific solution area:Solutions partner for Business Applications
Solutions partner for Data and AI (Azure)
Solutions partner for Digital and App Innovation (Azure)
Solutions partner for Infrastructure (Azure)
Solutions partner for Security
Solutions partner for Modern Work
There is no action for a partner to take to move to the new program – Microsoft have moved all existing partners into the new program effective immediately and partners maintain their existing benefits and designations.
Microsoft Commercial Marketplace: Multiparty Privat Offers (MPO)
Microsoft is introducing Multiparty Private Offers (MPO) on the commercial marketplace. Multiparty private offers empower eligible partners to come together, create personalized offers with custom payouts, and sell directly to Microsoft customers with simplified selling through the marketplace. And for customers that have a cloud consumption commitment, every dollar of the sale counts toward their commitment when they purchase solutions that are Azure IP co-sell eligible. It also enables the customer’s preferred partner to work with ISVs on marketplace deals and specify a custom price to that partner for the deal.
Benefits vary depending on audience but ultimately the value of multiparty private offers is that the customer can maintain their trusted partner relationships and partners can work together to create customized solutions for customers using their unique cloud services.
Microsoft announces transition plan for Legacy CSP platform
Microsoft has laid out its plans for the retirement of the legacy CSP platform, signaling significant changes for its partners and customers.
For public sector customers, NCE will be available for new and existing subscribers starting November 2023. This includes education, governmental, and non-profit subscriptions.
Starting from January 2024 and throughout the entire calendar year Microsoft will start enforcing the transition of legacy subscriptions to new commerce at the time of renewal. Subscriptions will have annual commitment terms with the same billing conditions as in legacy CSP (monthly - or prepaid). Partners will have a normal 7-day cancellation window.
If your customers want monthly subscription terms in new commerce instead of annual, you should migrate them before the legacy subscriptions reach the end of the term in 2024. The benefits of proactively migrating customers’ subscriptions include the ability to amend terms and conditions and the ability to socialize this change with indirect resellers and others in the partner’s ecosystem.
Microsoft 365 Copilot Pricing Announced
Copilot understands natural language and can help users with various tasks, such as summarization, post-meeting recap, writing, editing, formatting, researching, presenting, and collaborating. And secure productivity is the first step to helping our customers get ready for Copilot.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will soon be offered as a paid add-on for customers with Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3, and Microsoft 365 E5. Microsoft 365 Copilot, which embeds a ChatGPT-based conversational AI into 365 applications, will cost $30 per month per user.
The comparatively high price will force potential customers to think more carefully about which employee segments will benefit most from Copilot and to identify concrete use cases with ROI to justify the extra costs.
Microsoft did not announce when Copilot will be generally available.
Bing Chat Enterprise: AI-powered chat for work has rolled-out
Organizations will be able to access Bing Chat securely from within their own Microsoft 365 ecosystem with Bing Chat Enterprise, a new offering available July 18. It was created in part to address enterprise concerns about privacy, such as company-wide generative AI. With Bing Chat Enterprise, commercial data protection will make sure enterprise user data is not commingled with web data, not shared with Microsoft and not used to train any AI models. It includes up-to-date information sourced from Bing searches.
ChatGPT can be used by logging in to Bing with Microsoft 365 work credentials, which ensures company data is covered by commercial data protection. Bing Chat Enterprise is included for no cost with Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium plans. And in the future, it will be available as a stand-alone offering for $5 per user, per month.
Copilot in Teams and Teams Phone
Microsoft announced the next wave of generative AI for Teams, with the introduction of Microsoft 365 Copilot in Teams Phone and Teams chat.
It will allow you to quickly generate call summaries, capture action items, and ask questions about phone conversations. Microsoft 365 Copilot for Teams chat will quickly synthesize key information from chat threads allowing users to ask specific questions to catch up on a conversation, organize key discussion points, and summarize relevant information.
Microsoft Sales Pilot
As an evolution of last year’s Viva Sales, Microsoft announced Microsoft Sales Copilot, generally available starting July 18. Microsoft Sales Copilot empowers organizations to gather insights from their business data by summarizing email threads, drafting new emails, updating customer records, adding new contacts automatically, summarizing the customer journey, and asking Copilot for updates on sales opportunities.
Microsoft Viva Sales is now part of Microsoft Sales Copilot
As a Viva Sales customer, there is no change to your product experience other than the change in product icon and product name happening in July. The Viva Sales subscription is also being renamed Sales Copilot. Again, the only change you will see is the change in subscription name happening starting in September.
Microsoft Security Copilot
Microsoft Security Copilot is the first security product to enable defenders to move at the speed and scale of AI. Security Copilot combines this advanced large language model (LLM) with a security-specific model from Microsoft. This security-specific model in turn incorporates a growing set of security-specific skills and is informed by Microsoft’s unique global threat intelligence and more than 65 trillion daily signals. Security Copilot also delivers an enterprise-grade security and privacy-compliant experience as it runs on Azure’s hyperscale infrastructure. Microsoft Security Copilot will offer early access this fall of 2023.
Microsoft 365 Backup and Microsoft 365 Archive
Microsoft has expanded its backup capabilities with the newly announced Microsoft 365 Backup. It’s a backup and fast recovery solution of OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange data. You’ll be able to access Microsoft 365 Backup directly in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Microsoft 365 Backup will be available for public preview in Q4 of this year.
Microsoft 365 Archive is a game-changing solution that offers a cold data storage tier within SharePoint. By archiving the content in its original location, you retain the robust security, compliance, search capabilities, and rich metadata provided by Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 Archive will be available as a public preview in Q4 of this year.
Power Automate Process Mining
AI-Powered Process Mining in Power Automate provides AI-powered insights that enable customers to optimize existing processes and drive efficiencies with low-code automation.
Power Automate Process Mining offers two industry-standard capabilities, task mining and process mining, that break down barriers that might make it difficult for an organization to identify inefficiencies in their workflows and where to improve. Process Mining includes functionality such as the Process Mining desktop app with advanced analytics and Power BI customization. It will become generally available on August 1, 2023.
Azure Migrate and Modernize & Azure Innovate Offerings
Microsoft's flagship program Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) is now Azure Migrate and Modernize, an expanded offering taking ingredients from AMMP and adding increased capabilities including assessments, deeper partner incentives, as well as support for additional workloads like High-performance computing (HPC), Oracle, Linux, SAP, and mainframe migrations.
Azure Innovate is a new offering designed to help you with your advanced innovation needs such as infusing AI into your apps and experiences, advanced analytics, and building custom cloud native applications. With the interest in analytics and momentum we are all seeing with AI, we’re creating additional partner skills to deal with the demand and investing in resources and capabilities within Azure Innovate to assist you. Azure Innovate will help at each stage from planning to deployment. You will receive guided assistance as you explore and design capabilities for your unique business workloads and be able to use pilots and POCs, assessments for application modernization, resources for analytics migration and modernization, and receive assistance deploying your own AI copilot using your data.
Other Azure Updates
Extended Security Updates enabled by Azure Arc: As we approach the end of support for Windows Server 2012/R2 and SQL Server 2014, we have a golden opportunity to help our customers maintain security without disruptions. Extended Security Updates, powered by Azure Arc, offer a flexible, pay-as-you-go solution to safeguard their on-premises or multi-cloud environments. Providing peace of mind when they're ready to renew or migrate to the cloud.
Enhanced Azure Migrate capabilities: Microsoft is taking cost analysis and security to the next level with the "TCO/Business case" feature. Now, you can provide your customers with detailed cost comparisons between on-premises security and savings from Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Additionally, in-place upgrades ensure smooth transitions to supported, secure OS environments.
Announcing the preview of Azure Boost: Microsoft game-changing Azure technology offloads virtualization processes onto next-gen hardware infrastructure, elevating performance and security for customer workloads on Azure. As a partner, you have the power to promote Azure Boost as the ultimate solution to optimize efficiency and reliability for our customers' applications! This innovation enables Azure customers participating in the preview to achieve a 200 Gbps networking throughput and a leading remote storage throughput up to 10 GBps and 400K IOPS, enabling the fastest storage workloads available today.
Azure AI Momentum: The AI revolution continues with Microsoft driving innovation like never before! Microsoft just introduced a Meta Llama 2 model on Azure AI, expanding your customer's range of AI models. Now, customers can create generative AI-powered experiences, and as partners, you can help them lead the way in the realm of AI!
AIM for the future with Microsoft
Microsoft introduced the AIM program (Accelerate, Innovate, Move). It’s a brand-new program that offers a tailored path for customers to move from on-premises to cloud-first Dynamics 365 business applications. AIM (Accelerate, Innovate and Move) is a comprehensive offering that unlocks the potential of AI-powered business systems while reducing costs, providing agility for business model innovation, and operating securely with resilience. AIM provides access to a dedicated team of migration advisors, assessments, offers, tools, and support to give customers a faster route to innovation and success
Microsoft Entra ID is the new name for Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
No changes to capabilities, licensing, or pricing: features and capabilities of Azure AD will continue to be available in Microsoft Entra ID. Prices, terms, and service level agreements also remain the same. To make the transition seamless for you, the Azure AD URLs, APIs, and authentication libraries are staying the same, as are developer experiences.
Timing of name change: The name change will roll out across all Microsoft products and experiences throughout the second half of 2023. Customers who have access to Azure AD will continue to have access without any planned disruptions.