Fact is that whatever Microsoft are talking about today we will be doing tomorrow – even if tomorrow takes more than 24 hours to come around – and so WPC (the Worldwide Partner Conference) is always a great barometer for me. I have just packed for home and am thinking about how it was this year.
It was very, very good.
Some years the messaging is simple because there is a major product launch. This was the case with Windows8 last year. Sometimes, like this year, there is a theme which is more complex. Firstly, there is the strapline about “Accelerating growth together” and the mood is one of optimism created by this theme. Contrast with “Do more with less” which was a previous mantra. The global economy is looking up. Come on let’s get enthusiastic about economic recovery. Let’s not be miserable. Microsoft are going to help us.
I’m not being cynical. I genuinely believe that talk of depression is a self-fulfilling prophecy and a lot can be achieved by thinking in a more upbeat way. Just reading that back, you can tell I have been in Texas all week……
So, the way we are going to improve our lot is to think about 4 things; big data, enterprise social, devices and mobility and errr – there is always – cue fanfare – CLOUD.
Let’s get it out the way. I like cloud. I like the revenue model, pay-as-you-go, process data at scale story. However it’s been around for a bit without really lighting up, hasn’t it? I can’t say too much now but we have been working on a project that really makes Cloud, in particular Azure, relevant for the NHS. Tell you about it soon. Cloud might just deliver its promise to us in the UK Public Sector imminently.
Anyway, back to optimism around new paradigms.
I am bound to talk about Big Data aren’t I. I was part of a session run by the SQL server team promoting best practice in big data management. Readers of the blog will know that we in Ascribe have been working in this space for a year or so and have achieved some interesting results with our partners and friends at Two10degrees (the Kings of Azure).
We were both chuffed to our mint-balls to hear this work called out in Monday’s vision keynotes. It was a real privilege to be mentioned as part of the speech that sets the tone for Microsoft and their partners’ strategy for next year. As we beaver away in our potting sheds in Bolton we don’t often realise that what we are doing is actually quite leading edge.
In fact we have had a few name checks over the last couple of days, which seem to be on the back of us having delivered a good business story – we have created relevant software for the cloud.
By the time you read this, news of the Microsoft reorganisation will be out.
Many partners will be nervous about the company now being a devices and services outfit – particularly if they manufacture devices. We saw a lot of devices this week and we saw the same experience being used across all of them, powered by user profiles and preferences that live in the Cloud and are delivered down to the device. For consumers this will be very interesting – the same experience on your phone / slate / pc but tweaked, for example size of images, so it works. At work this will be similarly powerful, I think.
If you walk behind a clinician for a day and watch how they consume data you get a core set of requirements for complete and usable data about their patients, in a variety of settings, and a frustration that the data is dispersed across lots of formats. That is really inefficient.
Final word is on PowerBI, which got a lot of people very excited because it delivers some amazing features and functions. The most eye-catching is the Q&A tool where a user can type in a question, like how many patients did I see last month, and the search mines the Trust’s data sources and delivers back a chart rather than a page of search hits which contain the data somewhere. This is a great example of Microsoft converging products, in this case Bing search, to the infinite good. I’ll be demoing this as soon as its available. Gimme a ring if you want to see it.