I’m attending Microsoft WPC 2011


I’m attending Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2011, which is this year taking place in the City of Angels – Los Angeles, USA.

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Why am I attending? Well there are a number of inter-connected reasons for that which I’m going to try and explain here Smile

The #1 reason is the huge benefit to our business that we’ll realise. I have been to 1 WPC before, which was 2008 in Houston, Texas and it was amazingly useful. Why you ask?

1) Learning new information: WPC is where Microsoft share huge amounts of previously unheard information about pretty much every aspect of their business. 2008 was the year that Online Services were announced so I got the opportunity to hear all about it first hand from key execs and product specialists. I was also able to sign up to the new Online Quickstart partner program right then and there at one of the many (100’s?) of terminals around the conference centre.

Something that made a big difference was not having the general day to day minutiae of business around me. I was able to fully focus my thoughts & energy on Microsoft (even more than usual!) and those 5 days were probably equal to 5 or 6 weeks back in the office!

2) Meeting new people: For me and my company’s relationship with Microsoft, WPC 2008 was key. I was sitting in the UK Lounge when I started chatting to (the awesome) Sarah Guy from Microsoft UK who put me in touch with various ‘Softies in a number of different parts of the business such as marketing, SharePoint, Windows 7 and UC. These new contacts have, over the last 3 years, helped Bechtle:

  • Grow whole new areas of our Microsoft business
  • Win new customers
  • Deliver new internal initiatives
  • Become more profitable.

That is the perfect result.

WPC represents a significant investment from Microsoft’s partners. Not only in terms of money for registration, tickets etc but also in time, focus and energy so having a demonstrable ROI (return on investment) is exactly what a returning delegate needs Smile

My hope this year is that I can gain new contacts in some of the new areas of the business we’re moving into, as well as re-affirming existing relationships. Oddly enough I’m fully expecting to see more people in LA in 5 days than I have at TVP in the last 6 months!

There is also the chance to network with the (literally) 1000’s of other Microsoft partners there from around the globe. Even if just one of those dozens of people you meet and swap cards with turns out to be a key partner for the future, then it has all been worth it.

Every business has things they need and things they can offer, for example:

I’m looking to find partners who can help me with things such as Lync implementation, System Center deployments and CRM configuration.

In return to other partners we offer licensing consultation knowledge and Software Asset Management (SAM) services.

So you see, one meeting could help 2 companies create whole new revenue streams!

3) Commitment: Attending WPC shows Microsoft that we are serious about our relationship with them, and are keen to expand and improve the things we’re already doing together. Conversely, Microsoft show their commitment to us as a partner when they invite us to special sessions and allow us access to NDA information, demos and more.

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Summary

I’ll admit, the fact that it’s in L.A. is not a negative Winking smile but I’d be just as keen to attend if it was in London. I know a lot of people must view it as a “jolly” and yes, there is a lot of fun to be had, but it’s also hard work. You’re away from home, early starts, late finishes, LOADS to take it, lots of walking, 12 hour flights and all sorts – but it’s worth it.

If you’re still on the fence – DO IT. I’d definitely say that you should attend, no matter what kind of Microsoft partner you are – WPC will be beneficial.

If you’re attending, let me know in the comments and see if we can say hello!