IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The End of an Era

imageHere we are, just a couple weeks from my favorite week of the year, our annual Microsoft partner conference, now known as Inspire. Over the course of my career at Microsoft, I have had the extreme pleasure to work with so many amazing Partners, both individuals at these partners and the organizations themselves. A couple of years ago, I put up my “It has been a fun 15 years,” post, covering many of these incredible opportunities I have had, including the creation of the “Fantastic People of WPC,” celebrating the opportunity to meet so many amazing partners from around the world during “Worldwide Partner Conference.”

Over the years at Worldwide Partner Conference, there have been so many fun times, such as:

  • The annual contest to see who would be the Top 5 live teeters covering the WPC keynotes and conference
  • Hanging out and connecting with all of the press and influencers while covering the WPC keynotes from the WPC press box
  • Hosting the MPN Live shows talking with partners from around the world
  • Annual tweet-ups, connecting partners and partner influentials
  • Virtual scavenger hunts I’ve run using social media and/or my Microsoft Partner mobile app
  • All of the partner receptions and meet ups
  • And much more…

As this year’s Partner conference approaches, now known as Inspire instead of Worldwide Partner Conference, I’ve been talking with several partners and received some comments and questions such as:

  • “We need to make sure we grab our annual pic this year”
  • “Looking forward to being part of the Fantastic People this year”
  • “Are you changing the name of your Fantastic People of WPC now that the conference is renamed?”

You know what they say, “All good things eventually come to an end,” and this year brings with it the end of an era. With the transition of WPC to Inspire this year, I can still say that I have been to every single Worldwide Partner Conference Microsoft has ever held; however, for the first time since the turn of the century, this is the very first Microsoft annual partner conference I will not be attending.

So why won’t I be attending this year? You may recall the “Cloud Partner Insights (CPI): Information –> Insights –> Impact” post I put up here on the blog about the Cloud Partner Insights project I was leading, which was an entirely new way to drive partner impact and insights across our business that we leveraged across the U.S. business. Well since that time, the platform has grown beyond its initial set of products to many more, beyond sales to include consumption, beyond the partner business to partner and customer, and beyond our SMS&P segment to include our EPG and Pub Sec segments as well. Given the expansion, the platform went through an initial rebranding from “Cloud Partner Insights,” to “Cloud Performance Insights” to better reflect the broader scope. Then as it continued to grow and expand, it transformed from a reporting suite into a data and analytics Business Insights backend platform bringing together dozens of master data sets from across Microsoft to power and enable in-depth and custom insights capabilities delivered through Power BI across Microsoft, which led to it becoming known as simply the “CPI” platform.


As this project continued to expand and morph, so has my role and the scope of my role. In fact, at the beginning of our Fiscal Year 2017, my role moved from our US SMS&P Partner team over to our US National Sales Excellence Team, focused across the entire US business including customer and partner, in addition to partnering with our Microsoft Worldwide teams on data analytics and insights. Because of this, for the first time in my Microsoft career, my role is no longer technically a “partner role,” which means I am not one of the individuals who will be attending our annual Microsoft partner conference.

Now even though I won’t be there in person, I’ll be following along through social media and online, like all of our partners around the world who are unable to attend in person are invited and encouraged to do. Also, even though I will not be running my “Fantastic People of” collection of photos this year (since I won’t be there), Please feel free to send over and share your photos from Inspire 2017 with me via social media as I would love to see them!

Here’s wishing you all an amazing Microsoft Inspire Conference!


Eric Ligman

Director – Sales Excellence
Microsoft Corporation

Follow me on: TWITTER, LinkedIn, Facebook


This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights 

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