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Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 Forecasted a ‘Cloud-y’ Future for Partners and Customers

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It was exciting to be a part of the 2010 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. The recognition as a finalist for the Microsoft Partner Awards in the Microsoft Dynamics Financial Services Partner of the Year award category was a momentous occasion for the company. And the honor of being selected Microsoft 2010 U.S. Public Sector Health Plan Partner of the Year was a highlight of the week, serving as Microsoft’s recognition of our most successful year ever.

We especially enjoyed the sessions on opportunities with the “Cloud”. In his keynote, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, discussed the key dimensions of Cloud Computing(which for all you non-cloud-converts is defined by Wikipedia as “Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand”).Mr. Ballmer challenged partners to reinvent the way they develop and market their solutions to take full advantage of the Cloud, which he believes is the future of computing.

John Roskill, the new corporate VP of the Worldwide Partner Group, who succeeded Allison Watson in this role, spoke to partners about the industry transformation that is underway with the emergence of the Cloud, and the opportunities it creates. He detailed new tools and resources that Microsoft is delivering to advance Partners’ Cloud adoption.

Bob Muglia, President of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, outlined how Microsoft is planning to provide an integrated service and server platform, the Windows Azure Appliance, and how it will allow customers and partners to deploy a secure Cloud dedicated to their own business use.

As one of the leading Microsoft partners, VUE Software has already invested in bringing its sales performance management solutions to the Windows Azure platform, in addition to its on-premise offering, to provide deployment choice to customers.

In a presentation about moving health plan technology to the Cloud, Hector Rodriguez, Senior Strategist for Microsoft’s US Health Plans team, presented the challenges and opportunities for technologists to provide compliant, low cost products to address the unique business concerns of health insurers. And our own VP, Joseph Westlake, shared VUE Software’s experience with the decision to “Go Cloud”.

Another piece of exciting news for our business was the announcement of the expected beta availability of the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With insurance companies focusing more on developing customer relationship systems, we anticipate that the additional features in this version of CRM will further expand its data utility and analytics functionalities and extend the business value of the solution.

Thanks John Roskill and Microsoft for organizing a great event in Washington and good luck to Allison Watson in her new role as the corporate vice president of the Business & Marketing Organization for North America!

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Partners, what are your key takeaways from WPC? Insurers, do you have any initial thoughts about Cloud technology and your business? Please add your comments in the section below.



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