Simply Inspiring

Keith Martin, Phoenix Sales Director, talks about this year’s Microsoft Inspire and how a session he attended gave him a new perspective on both Phoenix and the public sector organisations that we serve …

“I was lucky enough to have two weeks off straight after Microsoft Inspire this year which really gave me time to reflect on what an outstanding event it was. Obviously being privileged enough to receive two global awards was fantastic, however, I felt the content and the sessions this year were incredibly relevant to both ourselves as a business and the public sector customers that we serve.

I attended one session in particular which really got me thinking and bizarrely it was not specifically product, industry or outcome focused. There were many fantastic sessions (more on that later), however this one was presented by Simon Sinek and his view around the ‘Infinite Game’. The session was incredibly thought provoking and initially I was looking at it and applying it to ourselves as a Modern Solutions Provider. For us, we are in a game where there are no winners, or losers as providing solutions to our customers is an ongoing process. Yes, we may be lucky enough to win awards along the way and hit targets, but the industry never stops – you are either ahead or behind.

Right now, we are ahead, however it will take a tremendous effort to stay there as the industry continues to adapt and evolve at an ever-increasing rate. Upon reflection though, this goes much further than just how it applies to ourselves, it got me thinking as to what this means to our customers. Take an NHS Trust, a university, a council or a charity – these organisations don’t win or lose, again there may be a degree of recognition for the work they do, but they are always having to find ways to deliver better and more innovative solutions to patients/students/citizens. These organisations are in their own infinite game, the UK Public Sector, and indeed the UK as a country is in its own infinite game. Recognising this is vitally important, it means that we as an organisation can understand the challenges that our customers have, we can understand that their organisation will always be looking to improve, we can relate to the outcomes that they are trying to achieve, and we can provide a true partnership approach that will deliver.

As a concept this can then be related back to the content that was presented at Inspire. There was a big focus on Teams, something that is increasingly popular right now and a platform that will be key for many of our customers over the coming months/years. This fits in perfectly within the modern workplace engagements that we are continually running with our customers. These sessions and subsequent projects are transforming organisations as we are unlocking productivity, we are empowering employees by giving them tools to really enhance their working environment and we are helping customers to provide an accessible workplace as well – something that is so valuable and important.

As usual there were several messages that were presented at Inspire as well and these are messages that are actually vendor agnostic. Let’s look at a few of these. One of the main areas, which again sits close to what we believe in here at Phoenix, was around being constantly curious as to what customers are looking to do next. This goes back to partnership. We believe in true partnership, we walk shoulder to shoulder with our customers and whether it’s a modern workplace challenge, infrastructure, cloud, SAM or support we continually aim to help them deliver positive outcomes.

Making customers every day easier, this was another great soundbite. I would argue that the outcomes we are delivering in the modern workplace space really highlight how this is part of our DNA, but if you go back to what I said at the beginning of this article, we are in an infinite game so we will continue to strive to evolve our services and offerings with the view of helping our customers continually drive their organisations forward.

Those two messages were more subtle, the main one that was delivered was around ‘Democratising Digital Transformation’. This was talked about in almost all the main corenote sessions. It was focusing on trying to give the 90% of non-tech companies the tools they require to power their own technology; creating software that can be customised to their own unique requirements. There was significant reference to PowerBI, Power Apps and Flow or the ‘Power Platform’ as it is called. These applications will and are become increasingly important.

Of course, Microsoft are also in their own infinite game and some of the technology on show was amazing to see. The virtual reality Hologram was a real eye opener – it may seem futuristic right now, but I can already see how this type of technology would really benefit some of our Public Sector customers. Basically, Microsoft showed a Hologram that provide real-time translation into another language. Technology wise, the underlying building blocks are all readily available, but to see it all come together was very powerful.

The demo of Minecraft Earth was also great to witness. Minecraft itself is hugely popular and this just took it to a different level. If you have not seen it, Minecraft Earth is an augmented reality version – I expect this to be a big success.

I left Inspire feeling hugely positive about the IT industry. Working in an environment where we can truly transform customers and really help them achieve more is incredibly rewarding. Yes it may be an infinite game, but it is one that we are very passionate about here at Phoenix and much as it might be a game we can’t win, it will be one where we will work tirelessly on behalf of our customers to stay ahead.”

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