My first time at Ignite, and it’s been a totally unique experience being here in person… and it’s only been 1 day so far!
Vision Keynote with Satya Nadella
The usual high-level vision (or should that be Envision) statement from Microsoft. Providing some tell-tale hints at the narrative at the core of Microsoft for the year ahead.
The keynote revolved around the continued technology change affecting us all, and how all aspects of your working and personal life involves technology in an ever-more ubiquitous way.
The way this was put across was by the phrase “Tech Intensity” revolving around the established “Intelligent Cloud + Intelligent Edge” expression. How AI services can use small pieces of information to provide simple tips/hints/suggestions truly tailored to the individual, to provide an almost profound yet increasingly seamless and natural impact.
Examples of that will no doubt be seen repeatedly throughout the week, in the form of very quick demos, almost going unnoticed, incredibly simple ideas that join the dots between activities you perform often. Think about if you work in a large company and you receive an email from your boss (let’s call him John), after reading the email, you pick up your mobile and search your address book by starting to type their name… your boss appears at the top suggestion, above potentially 100s or 1000s of other John’s. Because of the recent interaction and your working relationship.
“accelerating your tech intensity, that’s the name of the game” — Satya
Pick Your Partners vs Strategic Mistakes
This section of the keynote may have rung true in the ears of many Microsoft Partners, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Partners who have for a long time made their money off the back of traditional deployment services around Microsoft’s server-based products may very well be worried by the irony in the following quote…
“If you spend a lot of time building some capability, thinking that it’s unique to you, except it’s available as a commodity from somebody else, then that could be a big mistake, because you could have wasted a lot of time and money. So you want to make sure that you’re focused on the things that truly make you unique. There’s also one other strategic mistake… If you’re dependant on a provider, who through some game theory construct is providing your commodity on one end, only to compete with you on the other, then you could be making another strategic mistake.” — Satya
Trying to transform a traditional tech-services company into a modern Microsoft partner is a significant change. Your value is no longer providing and enabling ‘the service’ provided by server-based products, in reality that has now become as complicated as clicking a button.
How many days of consulting services and project management did you need to achieve the same result with something like Skype for Business Server, Exchange Server, or SharePoint Server? Microsoft provide that as a commodity, in many cases ‘free’ with licences you already have (thanks to your persuasive Microsoft Account Manager).
So, for all you end-user companies out there, make sure you’re approaching partners that have unique selling points aimed around how to help you consume the services provided by Microsoft, how you benefit from the technology available to you, not just how you ‘turn it on’.
Open Data Initiative
For me, this section was a little vague and abstract, I guess by it’s very nature this is largely unavoidable. In the same way ‘Big Data’ accelerated many companies understanding of their customers by collecting as much information as possible and divining value that was previously unavailable, ignored, or lost in the ether. It now seems the cycle is repeating, that silos of Big Data now exists in similar silos as the raw information before it, and so the Open Data Initiative combines the experience and technology developed by SAP, Adobe, and Microsoft to bring together machine learning, data visualisation, and customer experience to create a single view of data built on one data model, using artificial intelligence driven insights on an open and extensible platform.
Modern Teamwork (The UC Keynote)
With how much air-time Microsoft Teams has been getting this year leading up to and including Microsoft Inspire recently, it seems like the entire marketing effort of the mighty Microsoft has had their work cut out.
This unfortunately meant that most of the headline announcements for Microsoft Teams were already established public knowledge. Features such as…
- Background Blur
- Cloud Meeting Recording with searchable transcriptions powered by Microsoft Stream
- Cloud Video Interop Services from Polycom, Pexip, and BlueJeans
But there were still many new features that made an appearance in one form or another, below is not an exhaustive list, for more information about what’s new, check out Tom Arbuthnot, Tom Morgan, James Arber, Pat Richard, Jonathan McKinney and many more who are faster at tweeting and blogging than me…
- A first-line worker experience combining various technologies integrated with Microsoft Teams such as PowerApps, Flow, AI and Cogitative Services, and Microsoft Stream in an everyday scenario
- Priority notifications
- Driving mode
- Data Loss Prevention
- Teams ‘certified’ programme
- Screen-sharing from chat (not in a call)
- Immersive Reader
- Calls Tab for non-telephony users
- SharePoint and Yammer integration via Tabs etc
- Developer Platform Enhancements for Teams (such as adaptive cards)
- Deeper Microsoft Graph integration
- Dynamic Groups
- Teams Templates
- Teams Admin Centre (manage all Teams from one place with new Teams Administrator roles).
Just wow, so many companies all in one place with the best experts on-hand to talk you through any scenario or answer any question you have (and I overheard a few tough questions handled with ease).
It’s passed my bedtime, and I’ve got to do it all again tomorrow.
Thanks for reading…