In the second part of our  series Neil Logan, CEO of Incremental Group, reflects on his top 3 highlights from Microsoft Inspire 2017.

In the first part of this series I covered the changes coming from Microsoft with their restructure and refocusing on business. Microsoft Dynamics 365 and their Enterprise solution took centre stage throughout and now with the acquisition of Linkedin they really opened the imagination of every partner to the potential benefits this could bring.


I wanted to highlight three areas that stood out for me as having huge potential in the coming months.

Social Selling

One of the most interesting things highlighted at Inspire this year was the integration between Microsoft Dynamics and LinkedIn. Microsoft acquired the popular professional network in 2016 for a staggering $26bn. The integration with Dynamics through the LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the first step in embedding LinkedIn into the Microsoft ecosystem. LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows sales professionals to focus on the right prospects, get timely and accurate information about those prospects and ultimately build trusted relationships. By integrating Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365, Microsoft is enabling social selling across a user community of over 500 million.

The combination of Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn helps organisations increase win rates by enabling sales professional to find the key decision makers within target organisations. It then supports them identifying the best way to reach and connect with those decision makers, facilitating introductions from colleagues that they know and trust.

The power of LinkedIn lets sales professionals build trust with prospects. Enabling organisations to build a more complete picture of the prospect, their needs and their relationships, enabling sales professionals to proactive focus on those needs and relationships. Sales professionals can maintain their relationships with contextual alerting highlighting relevant changes in circumstances.

Finally, through the power of Artificial Intelligence, sales professionals are advised on how best to nurture relationships and engage with their prospects and customers at scale in a personalised manner.


Data and Machine Learning

Over the last 24 months Artificial Intelligence has crossed over from being something that feels like science fiction to something that is available and can make a real impact to any business.  At Inspire, Microsoft was keen to demonstrate not only the applicability of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence but also in the improving traditional business reporting.

Microsoft offers a wide range of solutions that help organisation move through the various stages of data maturity enabling organisations to move from being data aware, becoming data proficient using PowerBI, improving to becoming data savvy using Cortana Intelligence ultimately becoming data driven scaling their use by utilising the full power of Azure.

At Inspire Microsoft demonstrated how AI is already being infused into Office 365, Bing and Skype to make these platforms smarter and easier to use.  We’ve only just seeing the start of AI.


The Modern Workplace

Microsoft has had a visual presence with Office and Office 365 in almost every workplace but I feel this is only scratching the surface with what Microsoft can bring to a modern workplace.  At Inspire, Microsoft emphasised the work isn’t a place you go, so much as simply a thing you do with other people.

With Office 365 Microsoft is providing the next generation collaboration platform allowing people to work when they like, where the like on whatever hardware they like in a safe, secure and reliable manner.  With SharePoint, Microsoft has long held a strong position in enabling professionals to collaborate on traditional documents and with Outlook and Skype, Microsoft provides a class leading unified communications platform that lets folks in a wide range of ways.

Over the last year we have seen Microsoft continue to evolve this collaboration. With the launch of Team, Microsoft provided a hub for teamwork. Teams provides a chat-based workspace that every member of an organisation can be part of.

Overall these will help businesses in the future and we feel will be key drivers of competitive advantage and huge efficiencies across all industries and are not just solutions for massive multi nationals but solutions that can help all sizes of businesses. These three have got us very excited at Incremental Group and we will be working closely with Microsoft to unlock their potential with all of our clients.


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