Getting Down To Mobile Business: 5 Take-Aways From Microsoft's NYC Event

'Getting Down To Business On Mobility'

Microsoft's "Getting Down to Business on Mobility" event Monday in New York City highlighted the mobile opportunities for partners. Corporate Vice President of Enterprise and Partner Group Susan Hauser (pictured), who keynoted the event, listed the ways in which applications built on the Windows 8 platform for mobile devices are changing the way business is done.

Here are five take-aways from Microsoft's NYC mobile event.

'No Longer About Consuming Content'

As Microsoft continues to try and make its presence known in the mobile world, Hauser took the stage to prove to customers, partners and the press that Microsoft was headed in the right direction.

"Mobility is the most disruptive trend in technology today," Hauser said. "Apple and Android expect that it's just about consuming content. It's no longer about consuming content. We believe strongly it's about consuming content and being able to actually analyze and do things with that content."

Hauser emphasized applications such as OneNote (pictured) and SkyDrive, which she said gives Microsoft an edge in the enterprise, with innovation that allows customers to produce rather than just consume.

A Message To Partners: 'Don't Compete, Build'

Nancie Williams (pictured), general manager of Microsoft's East Region SMB & Distribution, told CRN a common trend she sees among partners is "needing to make the decision: 'Do I build more managed services or build on top of what Microsoft already has to offer?' " There are endless opportunities to leverage Exchange and Office 365 and build more robust solutions to offer customers, she said.

Hauser echoed that message. "The opportunity for partners with Office 365 is not about replacing; it's about expanding," she told CRN, adding that "partners are building on top of [Office 365] by building line-of-business applications, connecting the applications to different parts of the company. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity there, but it requires partners to make a shift."

Microsoft Flies With Delta

Delta pilots recently had to trade in their iPads for Surface 2 tablets. Captain Jay Hanson of Delta told CRN that the average pilot's flight kit weighs 38 pounds, although he thinks his is closer to 50. Delta said equipping its pilots with Surface 2 tablets will save 1.2 million gallons of fuel annually and 7.6 million sheets of paper, approximately the equivalent of 900 trees.

Delta also has outfitted its flight attendants with Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones complete with credit card swipe attachment. With the new devices, attendants will be able to process payments, receive real-time data on things such as gate information and, hopefully, one day replace their own heavy, paper handbooks.

Delta's decision to move from iPads to Surface has not been well received by all, but for now it's seen as a Microsoft win.

Health-Care Mobile Market Boom

Health care is booming with opportunity for partners, according to Gareth Hall (pictured), industry solution manager at Microsoft. Hall told CRN that 11 percent of the world's employees work in health care, a total of 60 million people, of which only 10 million are equipped with a workplace device of their own. "That is a 50 million-device opportunity for partners," Hall said.

And, the opportunities don't end there. According to Brock Morris, CIO of Pediatrics Associates, Bellevue, Wash., the Surface solution that he worked with Microsoft to set up in his hospital has cut each patient's visit time and improved patient interaction. Morris said he runs his entire IT department internally and expects the next step to consist of building custom applications in-house.

Realtor Uses Microsoft Partner, Switches To Cloud

Although health care represents a great deal of mobility-related opportunities for partners, it doesn't stop there.

Dan Prud'homme (pictured) of Carolina Realty Group told CRN he stumbled onto the Microsoft solution after giving a tour of a house to a potential buyer through Skype. Once the sale was successful, Prud'homme and Carolina Realty Group began to do some technological soul searching. Previously, the company was using a local IT company to manage its in-house servers. "They were as good as they had to be to stay in business there," Prud'homme said.

Embracing cloud and switching its IT alliance to Palmetto, a managed services provider and Microsoft partner based in Greenville S.C., saved Carolina Realty Group $30,000 annually, he said.