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Microsoft Inspire 2021 – A UK Perspective

After a packed Inspire 2021 last week, we thought we would look back at the UK-specific announcements and what news there was from our side of the pond.


UK Inspire 2021 Sessions

There were two key sessions from the UK team, and they are both available on-demand here:

Blueprint for UK Partner Competitiveness Research (

Live Community Session with the GPS UK Team (

Inspire 2021 UK Partner Winner

First of all, we want to give a big congratulations to the UK partner winner Phoenix Software. Public Sector specialists, and experts in Azure Virtual Desktop, Microsoft Teams and security – their excellent work was a big support to many public sector organisations during what was a very tough year. Very well done!


Microsoft Partner Opportunity in the UK

Watching the two UK sessions, the key takeaway – as with the entirety of Inspire 2021 – was of inspiration and optimism. Though it was an unprecedented year and though the country has suffered, the outlook from Microsoft leadership is positive.

UK Opportunity - Inspire 2021 Slide

And there’s good reason for it. Quoting the inspire sessions, per a recent study, 58% of UK partners expect a revenue increase in the next year. The growth of UK partners should contribute £9 billion to the economy and the tech sector is growing 8 times faster than other VAT registered businesses.

UK Momentum - Inspire 2021 Slide

Microsoft partners are fundamental in UK business, with £38 billion in revenue generated and a whopping 570,000 people employed.

Looking ahead, there is about $100 billion in revenue available for partners to go after in this time of digital transformation. Each sector is growing and is up at 19% year on year.

Microsoft has made an investment of £26 billion in people, skills and resources within the UK to contribute to this success.

UK Addressable Market - Inspire 2021 Slide

A Blueprint for Microsoft UK Partner Competitiveness

Released earlier this year, the Blueprint for UK Partner Competitiveness is the result of an investigation done by Microsoft UK and academics at Goldsmiths, University of London. As well as the Inspire session (link at top of page), you can read the blog here: A blueprint for Microsoft UK partner competitiveness – MPN United Kingdom or download it here to read later.

Many of the facts and figures given here and in the Inspire sessions are taken straight from the research done by this team. In a post-Brexit and hopefully a post-COVID UK, this should provide some much-needed information and optimism as we look ahead.


Technology Perspective – Digital Optimism

When looking at technology in the coming year, it is a time of extreme digital optimism as every company from every sector is somewhere on the digitalisation journey.

UK Digital Optimism - Inspire 2021 Slide

Microsoft is investing more in partners than ever before, and the key focus areas are:

  • Innovate at Scale
  • Mutual Success
  • Tech Intensity
  • Foundation of Trust

Focus Areas - Inspire 2021 Slide

Innovate at Scale

This is shown in investment in ISV opportunities to partner with Microsoft. When an innovative solution built in the cloud can be scaled, it truly unlocks unlimited potential.

There were multiple announcements in this area and more coming soon. So much so, we will look at this large area in its own blog, coming soon.

Mutual Success

From a range of sessions this year, it is clear that Microsoft want partners to win. We saw investment, new capabilities and a focus on creating products and co-selling with Microsoft.

A big announcement was the significant reduction in the 20% transaction fee in the Commercial Marketplace (Microsoft AppSource and Azure Marketplace) down to just 3%. That means Microsoft from now on will only take 3% for every transactable application sold through the Marketplace.

Tech Intensity

With Microsoft’s focus on apprenticeship and digital skilling, a lot is going on in this area. Additionally, the release of advanced specialisations allows partners to showcase deep technical expertise and allows customers to really find the right company for the job.

There are now 24 Advanced Specialisations with each recent month bringing new focus areas, particularly recently in Teams, security and Hybrid operations.

Foundation of Trust

With a focus on digital skilling, apprenticeships, diversity and inclusion, responsible and ethical AI, and sustainability the Partner Pledge has long been a commitment for UK Microsoft Partners to work together to achieve amazing things.

Continuing Microsoft’s lead in the area of diversity and inclusion, TC4RE – Technology Community for Racial Equality was announced. Founded just this summer by a group of technology companies, including Microsoft, to be a place to champion racial equality in tech companies.

The mission: “TC4RE supports every business in the technology sector, regardless of their progress with D&I. We are in this together. Our objective is to transparently commit to driving equality and transforming ourselves and our organisations. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, you can follow our three-phased program to further your D&I journey with TC4RE.”

We look forward to finding out more about this community and how we can work to improve ourselves and contribute to this objective of improving the technology sector.


Closing Out Inspire 2021

Well, Microsoft successfully achieved an inspiring Microsoft Inspire 2021! An optimistic outlook despite tough situations. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, it is uplifting to see the research done, the opportunities provided and the investment from Microsoft.

Together, as partners, we can grow, and in turn, bringing digital transformation and more, we will help the UK economy grow.

If you would like to find out more about the Microsoft Partner Program, this documentation is the most comprehensive. And you can check out more about Ballard Chalmers, our five gold competencies and other accreditations here.

Post Terms: Business | Inspire | Inspire 2021 | Microsoft | UK

About the Author

Marketing Manager, Leah Monterroso, has been writing blogs and articles for the last six years. Since working with Ballard Chalmers, she has immersed herself in Microsoft tech news and bringing value to clients and the wider community through content.

You can find Leah online at:

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