Diverse. Agile. Ready to transform. This is not only the definition of an ecosystem, but also perfectly describes the long-standing partnership between Bechtle and Microsoft. At the heart of the ecosystem are the technologies by Microsoft, interacting with IT solutions and services provided by Bechtle and other partners. On 15 November 2018, around 500 participants came together at Bechtle Microsoft World 2018 at the Exhibition Center Offenburg to exchange views on this network.
With some 90 Bechtle employees, 50 Microsoft experts and more than 20 vendor partners, the event had a distinct air of a family reunion and there was certainly plenty to talk about! For the first time, Bechtle’s IT systems integrators in Freiburg, Karlsruhe and Offenburg invited them all to Bechtle Microsoft World at the Exhibition Center Offenburg to discover the wide range of offers and expertise relating to Microsoft technologies while putting the focus firmly on the one thing that counts the most. “At the end of the day, digitalisation is all about the people, which is why we are focussing today on those things that are difficult to digitalise: emotion, dialogue, and the human touch”, explained Udo Stiefvater, Managing Director, Bechtle Freiburg, in his opening address.
There were certainly a lot of talking points. An auditorium bathed in green light was the setting for 17 presentations on Microsoft and the market, while an audience, listening through headphones and sitting on cubes, were treated to 20 dynamic talks given by vendor partners on topics ranging from IT administration to IT strategy. There was also an excellent panel discussion on the topic “IT digitalisation? Isn’t IT already digital?”, plus the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee in the exhibitors’ lounge.
Ralph Kink, Director Technology and Solution Development at Microsoft Germany kicked off the event with his keynote on “The New Intelligence”. Using the example of Microsoft’s own transformation and cloud strategy, Ralph Kink highlighted the opportunities of digitalisation, but also the need for ethical principles to establish artificial intelligence in society.
And artificial intelligence is more affordable than you might think: “Microsoft’s Azure Cognitive Services are a good place to start. Its image and text recognition plus intelligent search capabilities can already give a business a boost”, says Ralph Kink. And it’s important not to view AI projects as just a money pit. “AI projects are successful if seen as an investment and associated with clear objectives”, says Ralph Kink.
No matter the project, whoever implements AI is responsible for the results. “The responsibility and risks associated with artificial intelligence must be clearly explained to the client, as do the methods used to minimise the risks”, explains Ralph Kink. To increase the acceptance of AI in society, Microsoft has set up the AI for Good initiative to promote environmental protection and humanitarian aid and to improve the everyday lives of people with disabilities.
AI projects are successful if seen as an investment and associated with clear objectives.
Ralph Kink, Director Technology and Solution Development by Microsoft Germany
In his presentation “The introduction of modern workplaces as part of the digitalisation strategy”, Thorsten Krüger, Principal Consultant Microsoft Solutions, made a case for rethinking the modern workplace. Contrary to what many companies believe, merely deploying Windows 10 is a long way from creating a modern workplace. They instead need new tools and technologies to be able to fully exploit the potential of modern collaboration. “Most companies are like Fort Knox, only allowing those on the outside very limited or only VPN access”, explains Thorsten Krüger. “For the modern workplace, we have to leave the fort and connect via the internet, combating any associated security risks with the correct tools.”
For the modern workplace, we have to leave the fort and connect via the internet, combating any associated security risks with the correct tools.
Thorsten Krüger, Principal Consultant Microsoft Solutions
As an example, traditional shielding methods using proxies and firewalls are no longer enough and will be replaced in the future by identities. “If I encrypt my data and it is only accessible by using my identity, which is protected by modern authentication methods, then it is much safer than if I use a VPN”, says Thorsten Krüger. Microsoft Office365 is the basis of the modern workplace, but users need to think outside the box.
It’s an exciting time for the Bechtle/Microsoft partnership, something which has been abundantly clear this year for Patrick Schmid, Head of Microsoft Software Solutions at Bechtle: “Our customers are increasingly requesting consultations, and so our collaboration with Microsoft has also developed.” New partners and solutions may change the face of an ecosystem. But the bonds remain the same.
Published on Nov 29, 2018.