By Sean Hannah, our man on the ground at the final day of Microsoft Inspire 2018

Yesterday was the third thrilling day at the Microsoft Inspire event, held at the Mandalay Bay Conference Centre in Las Vegas.

The day was headlined by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer, who delivered a captivating Corenote speech to the global partner network.

Echoing his colleagues’ earlier messages, he reiterated the need for ethical IT standards and how tech companies must take responsibility to drive change for good. Focused on three key themes of privacy, cybersecurity and ethical AI, he emphasised the real need to protect the general public from this new, powerful and destructive weapon.

He went on to demonstrate with a series of reference stories on how specific technologies are already benefitting society. He disclosed how improvements in Azure services are helping real people benefit both directly and indirectly from these technology advances  – as it can now gather data, extract value and make accurate predictions  – to in turn deliver an enhanced, consistent service to customers, or even predict cancer treatments for patients.

He also revealed that an astonishing 12 million people around the world are now Microsoft marketing partners. This phenomenal global reach demonstrates the power of Microsoft partnerships and its ability to turn good ideas into reality across the globe and ultimately drive customer success.

The day concluded with a mass “sing a long” of the Beatles track “With a little help from my friends” – a little cheesy – but great fun with 16,000 people all joining in!

In the evening, we attended the Microsoft UK partner party at the Paris Hotel, where we met some of our Microsoft contacts – it was great to see so many of them in person! We had some interesting conversations around the new partner ecosystem and how we can look forward to working with smaller partners with powerful, niche products – this is a great growth area to take specialist software globally as well as enhancing our own offering – to benefit all our customers.

Microsoft Inspire is a networking event like no other  – and I’m $420 up on the tables – that’s more money than I came with!