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  • Luke Debono

Integrating Inspire into your planning cycle for FY19

This year, Microsoft Ready and Microsoft Inspire will be co-located for the first time, providing a unique opportunity for Microsoft Partners and Microsoft employees to create valuable new relationships and strengthen existing ones.


So, if you are attending, what does this mean for you? Let’s take a quick dive into the numbers:


It’s going to be a whole lot bigger

With 40,000 people expected to attend – this is going to be more than a conference, it’s going to be an experience.


There’s going to be more content than ever before

In addition to the corenote sessions, Microsoft Inspire will feature seven primary content streams:

  • Modern Workplace

  • Data and AI

  • Applications and Infrastructure

  • Business Applications

  • Industry

  • Business Leadership

  • Partnering with Microsoft

Between them, these will cover more than 160 individual sessions which is why…..


You’re going to need a plan

With such a huge volume of content and so many attendees, the potential of getting lost is real! Having attended 15 worldwide Microsoft conferences, we wanted to share with you our tips for maximising the potential of Inspire to accelerate and amplify your FY19 goals.

Before you go

You wouldn’t go into a sales situation without having planned your approach so make sure you take the same care in planning your trip.


1. Ahead of attending Inspire, invest some time in thinking about the components to your FY19 plan:

  • How will your organisation increase its equity value in FY19?

  • How will your revenue mix differ?

  • How will you remain relevant to your existing customers?

  • How will you win more new customers?

For some of you, your plans for FY19 will be in the early development stages, whilst others will be close to finalising – wherever you are in the process, your Inspire experience will be materially more valuable if you have a vision of what success looks like for you, and the steps you plan to take.


2. Take a look at the sessions on offer – time spent reviewing the content in advance will save you wasting precious minutes wondering what to attend once you’re there. It also means you can plan to attend sessions with colleagues, Microsoft team members or other partners that you’re working with. It’s also worth knowing that many of the sessions are recorded (and some are even live streamed) so pick the ones that you feel align most closely to where you want to focus for FY19 and will benefit from you attending in person. Non-essential, but interesting, sessions can be earmarked for viewing later either by you or another member of the team – why not get an Inspire v-team set up in the office?


3. Set yourself some audacious goals – and share them.

Want to secure a new partnership? Plan to meet with 30 members of the Microsoft team? Perhaps you want to find out how to earn yourself a speaker slot for 2019…. Whatever it is, make your goal known – a shared goal is far more likely to be attained – and if you want me to keep you honest, then put your goal down on an email and send it to me!


Once you’re there

Now, because you’ve planned well, this part should be easy! With a clear view on the sessions, meetings and social events that you’re going to attend you’ll be all fired up, less likely to be distracted and more able to spot opportunities that arise. You’ll also have a much clearer pitch if you’re introduced to someone unexpectedly – time is of the essence when you’re there so having a crisp 30 seconds on what you want to get out of the conference will make it far more likely that you’ll come away with some valuable new connections or advice.


When the show is over

It’s easy to return from a conference and think “job done”. However, attending is not the end goal – it’s what you do afterwards that makes the difference between leveraging the content and connections to power your business forward and simply earning some air miles.


Here’s our top three tips:


1. Set yourself a 30-day plan that covers any strategic and operational decisions or actions related to what you have learned and who you have met. Make it stick by sharing it with your colleagues – don’t wait for them to ask you what happened, get on the front foot. This one is a great job for the airport lounge.


2. Follow up on connection requests and conversations straight away to keep the momentum going – and keep yourself front of mind with the people that you met.


3. Hold yourself to account by putting in a meeting exactly one month after Inspire to see how you are tracking. You could even coincide it with your regular management reviews which will truly tie it in to your planning and execution cadence.


An incredible year

Microsoft Inspire 2018 has the potential to spark incredible new thinking, incredible connections and incredible opportunities to win in FY19. Want to connect with incredibleresults while you’re there? We’ll be proudly hosting the Australian Pre-Day as well as a drop-in clinic in the Australian Lounge, but if you’d rather not leave our meeting to chance, get in touch.

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