National Mall skyline in Washington, D.C. Toronto cityscape for Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2016

2017 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

July 9-13  |  Washington, D.C.

Register today

Highlights from WPC 2016

With so much happening at WPC, it can be hard to catch it all while at the event. Explore below for the key moments from each day of the biggest Microsoft Partner event of the year.

A warm welcome to Toronto

With the first ever sell out of WPC, over 16,000 attendees from 139 countries traveled to Toronto to expand and strengthen professional networks, discover solutions, and find new avenues for growth and profitability. It’s hard to imagine an event that more perfectly embodies the spirit of partnership, one that crosses cultures, borders, languages and industries—all with the common goal to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

The learning began early on Sunday, starting with the very popular session among first time attendees, How to make the most of WPC. The panel included WPC Experience Ambassador, Dean Martin, and a combination of veteran and new WPC attendees who shared advice on how to achieve success at the conference. With so much happening at the event, the panel noted how important it is to take the time to plan in advance and to follow-up on all the connections made at WPC while they’re still fresh. Also taking an immediate center stage on Sunday was the immense cloud opportunity for Microsoft partners, kicking off with the deep-dive session, Hosting and Cloud Service Provider pre-day: Transform your CSP business by expanding offers.

Kicking off the conference at The Commons

After the day’s earlier sessions, the partner community descended into The Commons at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where they were welcomed by Canada’s top beatboxer, Scott Jackson, and a crew of breakdancers. Their stunning performances set the tone for an evening full of fun and informal networking. Attendees met the many sponsors and exhibitors sharing their solutions, attended theater sessions and presentations, and lounged with refreshments and games at the Community Hub. It was also the first time partners heard where WPC 2017 would take place: the capital city of the United States, Washington, D.C.

Getting business

WPC is known for offering unparalleled networking through structured and informal events. Each night, various Microsoft and partner groups also host evening events to make it easy to find those serendipitous connections that lead to new business. The week’s activities started with the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) reception where members of the IAMCP, the largest Microsoft partner organization outside of MPN, got a jumpstart on meeting fellow partners and Microsoft employees from around the world.
Dean Martin
WPC Experience Ambassador
10 July 2016

I’m so excited to welcome you to Toronto for the 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! We have an amazing lineup of speakers for you to hear, sessions and events for you to attend, and spaces for you to explore. This year, WPC has a record number of attendees—selling out last week for the first time ever—which means you have even more opportunity to make great connections and build your business.

Category: Worldwide Partner Conference

Preparing to make the most of WPC at the First Time Attendee orientation

Preparing to make the most of WPC at the First Time Attendee orientation

Posing for photos in the Community Hub

Posing for photos in the Community Hub during the Welcome Reception

Partners getting hands-on experiences with new technology

Exploring hands-on experiences with new technologies in the Expo Hall

Snapping selfies at the IAMCP Speak Easy Reception

Snapping selfies at the evening IAMCP reception

Committing to partners, customers and the world

The first full day of WPC began with a rousing musical performance from K’naan and a strong call to action from Microsoft Person of Action and founder of Sequence, Ariela Suster, who used the example of her work in El Salvador to combat gang violence to challenge the Microsoft partner ecosystem to understand the impact this partnership can have to better the world.

After recognizing the incredible achievements of the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners and finalists onstage, Corporate Vice President of the Worldwide Partner Group, Gavriella Schuster, introduced Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella whose keynote Transforming our world together outlined how the opportunity for growth through digital transformation could not be clearer.

Diving deep into future opportunities

With so many prospects for new and expanded business ahead, the focus was on the future all week at WPC and the feedback from attendees about Monday’s sessions reflected this desire for predictive, insightful presentations. Kim Akers, Corporate Vice President, ISV, and James Whittaker, Distinguished Engineer, delivered the day’s top rated session, The future of technology: Unlocking new ideas to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Similarly focused on what’s to come and how partners can capitalize on making positive change, Profiting from digital transformation in Public Sector—a general session given by Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President, Public Sector—was immensely well-regarded.

Many of the week’s best sessions also came from the leadership speakers who shared their strategies for business-building, negotiating partnerships and maintaining strong personal brands while being effective leaders. One such session on Monday came from Matthias Schranner, CEO of Schranner Negotiation Institute, whose presentation Learn from a hostage negotiator received rave reviews. Said one attendee of Schranner’s talk, “By far the best session I have been at in a long time. Simply excellent.”

The diversity of topics at WPC each year represents a diversity in opportunities for partners and the many facets of how Microsoft technology can impact industries and people around the world for the better—all while growing our respective businesses. As Satya Nadella said, "The entire GDP [Gross Domestic Product] is being shaped by digital technology. Everyone in the audience has an opportunity to tap into this revenue stream."

Celebrating women in technology and a successful first day of WPC

Monday also marked the first day of the new WPC Women initiative. As Gavriella Schuster, the executive sponsor of the program, said in Monday’s email to attendees, “WPC Women seeks to connect the important conversations about women in business and technology with the top priorities of our partner channel: building strong networks, inspiring innovation, and leading with purpose.” Throughout Monday and the week, sessions such as Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce with Cathy Alper, Community Director at CompTIA, sought to do just that. Be sure to catch all the WPC Women sessions from the week if you missed attending any while in Toronto.

The day’s official programming came to a close with the Happy Hour in The Commons, including a special WPC Women Happy Hour in the Community Hub. Read Monday’s recap blog from Dean Martin, WPC Experience Ambassador, and watch the day one highlights video to make sure you didn’t miss a moment of the excitement.

Digital transformation ignites higher margins, faster growth for Microsoft Partners
Gavriella Schuster
Corporate VP, Worldwide Partner Group
11 July 2016

If I could choose one word to define the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) for partners, it’s this: opportunity. Our partners realize almost 20 percent higher margins than those of the next closest competitor. Opportunity draws more than 16,000 attendees from around the world to Toronto this week, for what many of our partners view as the most important event of the year. Today, opportunity means the cloud, which is driving digital transformation across industries and in businesses of all sizes.

Category: Worldwide Partner Conference

Ariela Suster on stage at WPC, sharing her story about how Microsoft technologies help her to make an impact

Ariela Suster sharing how Microsoft technologies help her to make an impact

Recognizing the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners onstage

Recognizing the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners onstage

Satya Nadella, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, outlining our shared bold ambitions

Satya Nadella, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, outlining our shared bold ambitions

Attendees enjoying games and refreshments at the happy hour in The Commons

Enjoying games and refreshments at the happy hour in The Commons

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft

"Microsoft has always been a partner led company and will always be a partner led company."

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft

New innovations to create more partner prospects

Tuesday’s Vision Keynotes revolved around new technologies and solutions from Microsoft, each in support of partners and the three ambitions of Microsoft: to inspire more personal computing, build the intelligent cloud and reinvent productivity and business process. From Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, Scott Guthrie, attendees heard about advances in cloud technology in his keynote Journey to the cloud. Guthrie demonstrated how the best bet for cloud technology is Microsoft, which has more trusted-cloud certifications than any other provider, unique hybrid capability, and the opportunity for partners to own the cloud journey for their customers end-to-end through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President of Office Marketing, discussed new possibilities in the digital workplace and how the Office suite is supporting this shift in computing. And in More personal computing transforming business, Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Windows and Devices Marketing, outlined how Windows 10 is changing the way we work. Each address noted the ceaseless pace of change in the technology industry and that partners—supported by Microsoft through its new innovations, as well as channel programs and initiatives—have an incredible opportunity to adapt and capitalize on this digital transformation.

Seeking successful strategies through sessions

On Tuesday, attendees responded overwhelmingly in favor of sessions that offered practical strategies for both business and personal growth. The day’s top session, Pitch perfect: How to craft the perfect elevator pitch for clients, media, and more, came from Carol Roth, creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, billion-dollar dealmaker, media personality and bestselling author of The Entrepreneur Equation. Also popular were the sessions Leadership in marketing: Microsoft’s marketing transformation with Chris Caposella, Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, and Think better: Seven keys to productive thinking with Tim Hurson, author, speaker and coach at Tim Hurson Enterprises.

To catch everything that happened on Tuesday at WPC 2016, read the recap blog from Dean Martin, WPC Experience Ambassador, and watch the day two highlights reel.

Microsoft announces technology innovations at Worldwide Partner Conference, opening up new opportunities for partners
Gavriella Schuster
Corporate VP, Worldwide Partner Group
12 July 2016

For the latest innovations that translate into business success, look no further than the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). We’re into Day 2 of our annual event that is designed to inspire new thinking, spark new relationships and — most important — drive new business opportunities across our partner ecosystem.

Category: Worldwide Partner Conference

Talented partners singing with renowned Canadian acapella group Eh440

Talented partners singing with renowned Canadian acapella group Eh440

Facebook CIO Tim Campos sharing why the company chose Microsoft solutions for their employee

Facebook CIO Tim Campos sharing why the company chose Microsoft solutions for their employees

Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President, Public Sector, speaking about digital transformation in the public sector

Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President, Public Sector, speaking about digital transformation in the public sector

Partners meeting at the WPC Connect lounges

Partners meeting at the WPC Connect lounges

One word: opportunity

This is what Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business, said to attendees in his keynote on Wednesday morning to summarize the modern Microsoft partner experience. We heard this echoed throughout Wednesday’s Vision Keynotes. The inspiring presentation Our opportunity for impact: technology and the future painted a picture of the complex web between governments, technology, businesses and populaces in the modern world. In this address, President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, and Corporate Vice President of Public Sector, Toni Townes-Whitley, both illuminated the possibilities for growth and positive change inherent within that complexity, how diversity strengthens the Microsoft Partner Network and the world, and what Microsoft continues to do to fight for the rights of customers.

In his keynote ISV and developer transformation, Chief Evangelist Steve Guggenheimer spoke specifically about the disruption and growth possible for even the smallest of companies, particularly those born-in-the-cloud, and how that positive force for innovation drives all industries to think how to do business better. Following him, Gavriella Schuster described during her keynote Seize your opportunity—today all the investments and changes Microsoft has made and will continue to make in MPN programs and communities in order to best support partners in their endeavors.

Closing out WPC with an outline of top partner priorities and opportunities for the coming year, Judson Althoff’s keynote Transforming together in a digital world summed up the messages partners heard throughout the week. We heard from many attendees that they left the arena inspired and ready to take the learnings from WPC out into the world.

Continuing the conversation

The Women in Technology luncheon continued the conversation from the morning’s keynotes about the importance of diversity in the technology business and in the world with a panel of speakers celebrating successes—and noting challenges—for women in the industry. After the luncheon, attendees squeezed in some final learnings through the afternoon’s breakout sessions, such as the day’s top session The art of storytelling with James Whittaker, Distinguished Engineer. The trend of highly-rated leadership sessions continued, as partners greatly valued the insights from Performance is not an opinion with Kris Plachy, CEO and Coach at Leadership Coach LLC, and Build, buy, and/or sell your business: How to navigate this crazy market with Mike Harvath and Reed Warren of Revenue Rocket Consulting Group.

Celebrating success in fantastic fashion

Partners often say that the capstone of WPC is the Partner Celebration and WPC 2016’s true concert experience in the Air Canada Centre did not disappoint. It’s the chance for Microsoft to thank all of you for the achievements of the past fiscal year, as well as join you in celebrating those wins. With rockstar performances that shook the stadium, the opening and headlining performers sent attendees back to their hotels singing loudly and excited for the year ahead.

Watch the day three highlights reel to re-live the key moments from the last full day of WPC 2016.

Gavriella Schuster
Corporate VP, Worldwide Partner Group
13 July 2016

As I discussed in my keynote during the 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, change is the dominant factor driving societies forward. Nowhere is this more evident today than when you look at the quest for digital transformation in organizations of all sizes.

Category: Worldwide Partner Conference

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group, announcing WPC 2017 in Washington, D.C

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group, announcing WPC 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business, discussing partner priorities for FY17

Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Business, discussing partner priorities for FY17

Networking and learning over refreshments at the Women in Technology luncheon

Networking and learning over refreshments at the Women in Technology luncheon

Attendees celebrating and taking photos at the concert during the Partner Celebration

Celebrating and taking photos at the concert during the Partner Celebration

Gavriella headshot

"Our partners who have embraced the cloud are seeing the pay-off... you have higher gross profit and recurring revenue—that's a business you want to be in!"

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft

Gavriella headshot

Global reach at the local level

Thursday at the Worldwide Partner Conference focused on turning the overarching messages from the week’s keynotes, sessions and meetings into practical and actionable advice for local opportunities. The day’s Regional Sessions ranged in size and format, but were united in their goal of bringing to life the Microsoft mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

The right time to follow up is right away

The best advice we hear from long-time WPC attendees is to act on the connections and information you discovered while at the conference as soon as possible. If you don’t, you risk losing out on the benefits of attending the event. Take the time to thank the attendees with whom you met, summarize your learnings for both yourself and your company, and reach out about new business and partnership opportunities. Explore the Session Resources page and share your favorites with your colleagues and friends. Join the conversations about WPC and Microsoft solutions, programs and more on the Microsoft Partner Community. Investigate the diverse communities within the broader Microsoft Partner Network with whom you may want to align.

WPC is just a step in the partner path to greater impact and profitability—an important one—and so it is up to each of you to make the most of the event. Stay up-to-date with all things WPC 2017 by following the MPN blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn—and remember, the earlier you register, the better the price.

Learning about local opportunities at the Regional Sessions

Learning about local opportunities at the Regional Sessions

Walking along the wall of the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners

The wall of the 2016 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners

The Regional Lounges humming with attendees networking

The Regional Lounges humming with attendees networking

Taking a final photo before heading home from WPC 2016 in front of a Microsoft sign

Taking a final photo before heading home from WPC 2016

A warm welcome to Toronto

With the first ever sell out of WPC, over 16,000 attendees from 139 countries traveled to Toronto to expand and strengthen professional networks, discover solutions, and find new avenues for growth and profitability. It’s hard to imagine an event that more perfectly embodies the spirit of partnership, one that crosses cultures, borders, languages and industries—all with the common goal to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

The learning began early on Sunday, starting with the very popular session among first time attendees, How to make the most of WPC. The panel included WPC Experience Ambassador, Dean Martin, and a combination of veteran and new WPC attendees who shared advice on how to achieve success at the conference. With so much happening at the event, the panel noted how important it is to take the time to plan in advance and to follow-up on all the connections made at WPC while they’re still fresh. Also taking an immediate center stage on Sunday was the immense cloud opportunity for Microsoft partners, kicking off with the deep-dive session, Hosting and Cloud Service Provider pre-day: Transform your CSP business by expanding offers.

Kicking off the conference at The Commons

After the day’s earlier sessions, the partner community descended into The Commons at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where they were welcomed by Canada’s top beatboxer, Scott Jackson, and a crew of breakdancers. Their stunning performances set the tone for an evening full of fun and informal networking. Attendees met the many sponsors and exhibitors sharing their solutions, attended theater sessions and presentations, and lounged with refreshments and games at the Community Hub. It was also the first time partners heard where WPC 2017 would take place: the capital city of the United States, Washington, D.C.

Getting business

WPC is known for offering unparalleled networking through structured and informal events. Each night, various Microsoft and partner groups also host evening events to make it easy to find those serendipitous connections that lead to new business. The week’s activities started with the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) reception where members of the IAMCP, the largest Microsoft partner organization outside of MPN, got a jumpstart on meeting fellow partners and Microsoft employees from around the world.
Dean Martin
WPC Experience Ambassador
10 July 2016

I’m so excited to welcome you to Toronto for the 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! We have an amazing lineup of speakers for you to hear, sessions and events for you to attend, and spaces for you to explore. This year, WPC has a record number of attendees—selling out last week for the first time ever—which means you have even more opportunity to make great connections and build your business.

Category: Worldwide Partner Conference

Preparing to make the most of WPC at the First Time Attendee orientation

Preparing to make the most of WPC at the First Time Attendee orientation

Posing for photos in the Community Hub

Posing for photos in the Community Hub during the Welcome Reception

Partners getting hands-on experiences with new technology

Exploring hands-on experiences with new technologies in the Expo Hall

Snapping selfies at the IAMCP Speak Easy Reception

Snapping selfies at the evening IAMCP reception

Washington, D.C, home of WPC 2017 Washington, D.C, home of WPC 2017

The world meets here

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference | July 9-13, 2017

Register today