It’s that time of year again. Microsoft is staging its annual Worldwide Partner Conference and Quiss is to be represented there as it has in previous years. And before anyone comments, this is not a junket, but perhaps the most important collection of meetings I and my colleagues will have.

As an outsourced IT services provider, there really is no getting away from Microsoft. Our own hosting solution in our Tamworth data centre is built on their Azure stack and typically our managed IT services clients expect us to resolve their Microsoft licencing issues and ensure they remain compliant.

We have a good working relationship with the Microsoft team here in the UK and will undoubtedly enjoy a beer or two with them in Toronto. We will strengthen our relationship through the mutual understanding of what each requires of the other.

But there is nothing quite like hearing about the new strategic direction being pursued by Microsoft and all the new technology, straight from the American horse’s mouth – I’m sure Satya Nadella will forgive the allusion.

The five-day event actually kicks off on Sunday 10 with a day of registration and receptions, before the main event gets underway 7.30 am on Monday.

Whilst there are plenty of sessions to explain in more detail what’s new, what’s coming and what it means for us as Microsoft partners, there is plenty of time to meet other partners, which is one of the main reasons for making the 3500 mile trip.

We have a broad range of IT skills within our business, but we cannot expect to have every base covered when dealing with clients that have very specific requirements. When selling our outsourced IT services, we argue that few businesses can justify employing people with the range of services we offer them access to, just for the few times they are needed a year.

The same is true of the specialist services we sometimes need, from Cloud migration services to security penetration testing. These are not everyday requirements for our clients, but specialist skills from Microsoft partners that we can trust to deliver at level of quality that reflects our own.

And all this international knowledge and expertise is in one place for a few days in July – Toronto. As Microsoft say themselves: “When you bring the best of the Microsoft partner community together, business gets done.”

Our attendance at this sold out event also demonstrates our support for Microsoft and what they are doing. Which in the main is nothing short of incredible.

The direction our business is taking reflects that pursued by Microsoft and although we are a little way behind, that’s about pace, not commitment – we align our business model with theirs and shape technology to help our clients achieve more too.

Another good reason to travel all that way is the ability to connect with influencers within the Microsoft business. We review our strategic business plan regularly and it is useful to talk directly with directors, senior managers and brand heroes at Microsoft to gain valuable insight as to the developments within their business, to help shape the future of our business.

Andy Michael, Managing Director, Quiss Technology