Every year as Microsoft Inspire approaches, I have the privilege of announcing our Partner of the Year Awards winners and finalists. We’re hosting the 2020 event virtually July 21-22, but that is just a footnote to the broader context in our world and our partner ecosystem.
This year, the name of the conference itself has taken on a more pertinent meaning as we’ve watched waves of transformation ripple all over the globe. We’ve encountered so much adversity since last year’s event, but nothing could be more inspirational than the resilience we’ve witnessed, the power of people coming together for a purpose.
Through it all, our partners have been working and innovating, building technologies across the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge that allow organizations of all types to connect, operate, and carry on. We’ve seen amazing displays of agility and creativity as partners navigate a new world for their businesses, while still supporting customers and building new products and services.
Because of this, we’re recognizing not just the business and productivity innovations that partners have achieved, but also their contributions to communities through a new Community Response Award. This new award offers recognition to partners that are providing innovative solutions or services to help solve challenges for our customers and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the award’s inaugural year, we received 211 nominations. Each of them told us a story not just of technologies, but of people connecting to create something larger than themselves.
Overall, there were more than 3,300 nominations for this year’s Partner of the Year Awards from over 100 countries and in 49 award categories. It was a true representation of the global reach of our partner ecosystem and depth of the technology portfolio partners are using to build their business. Every year it is a challenge to decide which entries to recognize when every one of them supports the mission we had in mind when we named our global partner conference “Inspire.” Congratulations to this year’s winners and finalists and to all of the partners who have demonstrated such skill, commitment, and compassion in a truly unusual year. We wish we could come together in person to recognize and celebrate your outstanding work. As it is, we are excited to bring the community together virtually to recognize this year’s achievements and see what’s in store as we move ahead.