Aisling Curtis, John Purdy standing next to a dock

Microsoft Inspire 2020: Empowering partners to make more possible 

Aisling Curtis

Aisling Curtis

Director of Strategy and Sustainability

Read Time, 5 min.

Microsoft Inspire 2020: Empowering partners to make more possible

Our partner ecosystem is essential to delivering transformative solutions for customers. It serves as a catalyst to equipping businesses and customers with the technology and tools needed to succeed in an evolving digital economy. 


In the past year  and in the past few months especially  we’ve seen first-hand exactly what our partner community offers in a dramatically changing world: unlimited potential. The potential to adapt, to connect, to innovate, and to achieve more. 


Every year Microsoft Inspire offers a unique opportunity for the Microsoft Partner Network to connect, learn, and collaborate as we look to the year ahead and new ways to accelerate the digital transformation and success of Microsoft customers. 


Now in its 17th year, this year’s Microsoft Inspire was the first time we have all come together for a digital-only event, a shift that underscores the times we’re living in, as well as our partners’ resilience. It’s an example of how, even amid widespread disruption, our ecosystem has continued to help customers adapt to a dramatically changing environment. 


During Inspire this week we saw a huge number of announcements that will help to create innovative ways for partners to serve customers and manage their business amid changing work environments: 


  • Enhancements to Azure Lighthouse, bringing multi-factor authentication and Privileged Identity Management support, which are direct results of customer feedback. We saw the expansion of the Cloud Practice playbooks for partners with two new playbooks aimed at helping partners build an effective cloud practice 
  • Two new bundled services for Lenovo Managed Services are designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses support Microsoft software productivity, security and collaboration. 
  • Innovation across Dynamics 365 applications including Customer Voice, Connected Store and Fraud Protection are new capabilities which will help sellers and merchants accelerate the shift to digital operations, understand and respond to customers’ needs, and set them up for success. 
  • Azure Stack HCI, brings hybrid capabilities to customers’ datacenters while enabling them to leverage existing skills and investments. While Azure Migrate enhancements enable customers to respond to rapidly changing conditions in record time by conducting richer datacenter assessments, enabling server migrations and adding modernization for containerizing applications. We are also introducing support for Azure VMware Solution assessments. 
  • Teams is delivering new ways for Microsoft partners and developers to extend the Teams meeting experience with third-party apps and services that can make meetings more interactive, engaging and effective. 
  • New public preview of Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention in Microsoft 365 helps customers identify and protect information on endpoints. Because it’s built into Windows 10, Office Apps, and Microsoft Edge, no agent is required, and it can be deployed quickly. It is also integrated with existing data loss prevention in Microsoft Teams, Exchange and SharePoint, helping customers meet compliance requirements across Microsoft 365. 
  • New enhancements to the Power Platform experience within Teams makes Teams an even more powerful hub for teamwork and business processes. Microsoft Dataflex, a relational database now built into Teams at no additional cost, enables customers to create, deploy and manage apps and chatbots with Power Apps and Power Virtual Agent without ever leaving Teams.  
  • Finally, Universal Print is a new Microsoft 365 service solution for customers who need a simple, easy, secure print experience as they move to the cloud. The service opens many opportunities for reseller and hardware partners as customers look to deploy printers without a need for a complex hybrid print setup. 


Partner of the Year Awards  


As part of Microsoft Inspire, we host the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards to recognise and celebrate partners who demonstrate excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology. 


As in recent years, but albeit in a different format, Cathriona Hallahan, Microsoft Ireland Managing Director, and I have had the privilege of helping recognise the impressive and innovative Irish winnersThe awards offer an opportunity to showcase how our Irish partners are at the cutting edge of innovation, expertise and knowledge when it comes to helping organisations digitally transform.  


Given the high standard and volume of entries from Microsoft partners across the globe, it was incredible to see an Irish-headquartered partner take the global award as Microsoft’s Security and Compliance Partner of the Year. This is testament to the tremendous work being carried out by Threatscape, a pure-play security specialist and Microsoft Gold Security Partner. It has been exciting to see their growth and how their dedicated Microsoft Security Practice combines their expertise and services with Microsoft technology to deliver security transformation for enterprise clients around the world.   


As a Microsoft Security Gold Partner, Threatscape is one of very few dedicated security companies with a specialist Microsoft Security Practice. One of the projects which led to this award was a comprehensive security transformation for Sisk Group, one of Europe’s oldest and largest construction groups. 


You may have also seen the announcement earlier this week that Ergo won the Microsoft Ireland Country Partner of the Year Award for 2020. Ergo has demonstrated outstanding expertise in implementing and supporting Microsoft technologies and services, and just as importantly, the skills to innovate around them to meet the different needs of our customers and ensure that together, we empower success for our customers.   


We received a huge number of impressive entries for this year’s awards and judging these is always a challenging task as the quality and calibre of entries continue to improve every year.  


Below is an overview of all the local winners from this year’s awardsA massive congratulations to all the winners and we really look forward to working with you to drive great impact in the coming year!  


Modern Workplace 

Calling & Meetings for Microsoft Teams  


MJ Flood 
Security & Compliance   CWSI 


Teamwork   Ergo 


Apps & Solutions for MS Teams   Nulia 




Data Analytics   EY 


Datacentre Migration   Software One 


Dev Ops   Spanish Point 


Date Estate Modernisation  Version 1 



Biz Apps 

Modernise Finance & Operations   DxC Technology 


Power Platform including Power BI   Evros 


Proactive Customer Service   Sysco 



Indirect Partner & Partner for Social Impact 

Indirect Partner of the Year   MicroWarehouse 


Partner for Social Impact    Ergo 



Microsoft Surface 

Surface Laptop Partner of the Year  Wriggle Learning 



Technical Skills Initiative 

Technical Skills  Auxillion 







Aisling Curtis

Commercial Director

View all Award Winners

including the Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winner.

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