Microsoft World Partner Conference – Connecting People


Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

Connecting is a basic human need. In much the same way we need food and water to live, growing research shows we are hardwired with the need to connect with others. Since companies are made up of people, connecting with people…i.e. customers…is mission critical for any organization’s success in today’s digital age.

Daily, hourly, by the minute we are bombarded with people and companies attempting to connect with us via email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. All these connections are literally available with a flick of your wrist. Our mental real estate is being absorbed by so many inputs. It is difficult to make a true connection, one that triggers an emotional response and provokes long lasting commitment to a brand.

So how does a business stand out from all the competitive noise? GE’s CMO once shared with a marketing audience, “You can’t sell anything, if you can’t tell anything." From sitting around campfires, to sitting around conference tables, the ability to tell a story, your story, your company’s story and have someone remember it, get behind it, and make it their own is what sets you apart. Recently I joined 16,000 likeminded people from around the world at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada. It was an amazing experience on many fronts. When asked for two words to sum it up, connecting people is what resonated with me. Be it connecting people to ideas, people to channel partners or people to each other, Microsoft recognizes the importance of making those meaningful connections. And they know how to tell a story.

Storytelling is the original social media platform. It is about sharing ideas, history and unique perspectives that shape how we view the world around us. Microsoft leverages the storytelling art to highlight success stories from their channel partner ecosystem which have the underlying outcome of showcasing Microsoft technology innovations. "Brilliant" as one of our team would say.

At WPC there was a general session, “The Art of Storytelling”, given by Dr. James Whittaker, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technology Evangelist for Microsoft. In it, Dr. Whittaker shared how crafting stories about who we are and why we do what we do is much more meaningful than the nuts and bolts of actually doing whatever that something is. People remember a compelling story long after it is shared.

From the event, I clearly recall how HoloLens transforms the way medical students learn about the human body and how the Missing Children Society of Canada leverages Azure to rescue endangered children. These stories promote technology in a way that detailing features and functions never can. They engage us deeply and bring technology to life.

Events like WPC, that bring people together from 139 countries to learn and celebrate common goals is one way to truly connect.  And connection is the foundation of the innovation that drives partner growth. Ultimately, that's what it's all about. So how are you making those meaningful connections with your customers?

Check out the eBook, THE ADOPTION GAME PLAN: How to Turn Adoption into Retention and Growth, to learn more.


Leigh Underwood, Global Senior Program Manager for ServiceSource

Authored by Leigh Underwood, Global Senior Program Manager for ServiceSource.

Leigh has 20 years of professional service experience with large complex global organizations in program management roles. When she is not working, Leigh enjoys running, traveling, reading and writing. She lives in Nashville, TN.