In the West, the word ‘cornucopia’ symbolizes  world is associated with ‘plenty,’ ‘abundance,’ ‘fortune, and ‘fertility.’ Our 2012 partner conference in Toronto last month, coming as it always does in the first days of Microsoft’s new fiscal year, was indeed a celebration of our cornucopia of new products for FY13. It was something everyone could excited about.

For one, we had more than 16,000 partners gathered in Toronto, bringing their energy, their inquiry and their hopes for yet another record breaking year. Plus, there were another 20,000+ who joined us online to learn about all that Microsoft will have to offer! As such, there was unbelievable electricity in the air (pun intended) because of the excitement over imminent product launches for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, System Center, and Windows Server/Hyper-V! With these new solutions about to enter the market, it could be one of the most exciting times in the history of Microsoft to be a partner -- and a customer! Think of all the innovation that we are unleashing into the world of business solutions, at precisely the time when, in the utility world, the smart grid and smart energy ecosystem are really beginning to hit stride. For the worldwide utility industry, this could be of the most important Microsoft launch years in history, carrying forth the hard-won momentum of hundreds of pilot projects that are now ready for wider implementation – and ROI!image

We would like to congratulate several Utilities partners who were given special recognition at the event for Partner of the Year in the following categories:

Sustainability: Iconics, Inc.

Alliance - ISV Industry: OpenText Corporation

Mobility: Accenture/Avanade

Alliance - Application Platform: Accenture/Avanade

Country Partners: Canada - Navantis, Inc.; Belgium - Ferranti Computer Systems; France - Accenture/Avanade

You can read more about the announcements and excitement at this year’s WPC here. The full list of partner award winners is listed here. In case you missed the event, you can plan now for the 2013 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference which will be held July 7 - 11, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

But taking a step back, let’s look at what the global partners are doing with mobility and the cloud, which are key component’s of Microsoft’s releases this year. 

Iconics this year announced new versions of MobileHMI, a software platform for companies to stay in touch with a wide array of their business operations. MobileHMI already works with Windows Phone 7.5 to deliver rich real-time visualization, trends, charts, grids, schedules and alert notifications to a mobile workforce that may be scattered across depots and in the field. The opportunities for new field work improvements are immense.                                                                                                     

OpenText recently announced that The OpenText Cloud is available worldwide for its 25,000 customers and 2 million end users, for infrastructure services, social enterprise services, process and data services, and SAAS-based information exchange. Earlier this year OpenText announced expansion of its global alliance agreement with Microsoft, for wider support of Microsoft cloud computing initiatives, with delivery of process and case management solutions on Windows Azure.

Accenture and Avanade received the Alliance Partner of the Year – Application Platform award for their demonstrated leadership in driving Microsoft-based application platform solutions to enterprise customers that best integrate the infrastructure, database, business logic, user experience and server management layers for on-premises or cloud-based mission critical applications. The two companies were jointly recognized with the Mobility Partner of the Year Award for their proven ability to deploy, integrate and support breakthrough solutions that help accelerate clients’ business cycles, increase productivity, reduce operating costs, and extend their infrastructures with the Windows Phone platform. These are quite impressive innovations and every utility might benefit from exploring their applicability to their transition to the smart energy ecosystem.

FY13 looks to be a banner for Microsoft’s Utility clients as these, and many additional partners, continue their cloud and mobility ramp-ups using the most cutting edge Microsoft solutions. -- Jon C. Arnold