With many organizations already making progress with their digital transformation, the focus is now on the “digital imperative” – delivering integrated technology that helps organizations differentiate, build resilience and do more with less. This was one of the key messages at this year’s Microsoft Inspire event, which showcased a host of new ways to use the Microsoft cloud to help organizations innovate.
What is Microsoft Inspire?
Microsoft Inspire is the annual event for Microsoft partners around the world, showcasing the latest technology innovation. This year’s key themes included how modernization and migration can help you innovate, the new digital imperative for hybrid working, and streamlining security across platforms.
A focus of this year’s event was how Microsoft can support organizations with the challenges of the next decade – which will be very different from what we have seen over the past decade. The key announcements revealed how the Microsoft cloud can provide organizations with the technology to help them do less with more.
Let’s look at some of the highlights.
Digital Contact Center Platform
One of this year’s new announcements is the Digital Contact Center Platform, an open, collaborative solution that brings the recently acquired Nuance together with Dynamics 365, Power Platform and Microsoft Teams. It helps organizations create a seamless experience for customers who contact them through any channel.
Organizations can use this platform to build contact center experiences that are tailored to the customer, with a seamless experience thanks to channel collaboration – whether that’s a modern Teams Voice telephony solution, online live chat boxes or AI-powered chatbots.
Making hybrid work, working
It is clear that hybrid working is here to stay , but a balance must be struck between flexibility and connectivity. Microsoft is rolling out new features in Microsoft 365 and Teams to make collaboration easier.
- Excel Live allows you to edit workbooks directly from the Teams meeting window.
- Collaborative annotations allow people to engage with content shared in a Teams meeting.
- Video messages are introduced in Teams, giving users the ability to record, edit and send a short clip in a conversation.
Viva, Microsoft’s employee experience platform, helps organizations increase productivity, well-being and collaboration with modules integrated directly into Microsoft Teams. A new module, Viva Engage, was announced at Microsoft Inspire, following the goals and sales modules announced earlier this year. With Engage, you can increase your employee community and leadership engagement through new features like Stories.
Since Windows 365 was first released at last year’s Microsoft Inspire event, it has continued to expand with a number of features added. It has been a key enabler of the hybrid way of working that has now become the norm.
Organizations are using Windows 365 and modern endpoint management to streamline onboarding, improve the hybrid work experience, reduce infrastructure costs and improve security. The ways in which the cloud PC platform can be used by organizations continue to evolve. Two new features in Windows 365 are:
- point-in-time recovery, which allows administrators to restore a cloud PC;
- The Autopatch service, which automates Windows updates for better security.
A stack of new Azure capabilities
Azure is key to Microsoft’s digital imperative of integrated technology that helps you do more with less. Modernizing and migrating to Azure is fundamental to innovating your workforce, and Microsoft is focused on building a multi-cloud, multi-edge infrastructure to support this innovation.
One of several Azure announcements was a plan for ten additional data center regions, spread across ten regions on four continents, over the next year. As more organizations move to the cloud, this will lead to faster access and improved data storage.
Other key Azure capabilities of the Microsoft Inspire event include:
- Azure Confidential Computing capabilities are available for organizations to process sensitive data in the cloud with even better protection;
- Azure Center for SAP Solutions will be available to deploy and manage SAP workloads, allowing you to run an SAP system seamlessly with the Microsoft Cloud;
- The Azure Arc Boost program allows organizations to build apps with Azure services running in different environments, thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with Intel.
Another exciting announcement was the Azure Space Partner Community, tailored for partners developing the power of their cloud computing with satellite networks and other space technologies. This provides an innovative way for organizations to broaden the scope of connectivity and gather new insights using space data.
Enable merger teams of developers
In this digital world, the demand for developers is stronger than ever and extends beyond the technology industry. This opens a new opportunity to support both citizen and professional developers by innovating applications to support a fusion team of developers.
Microsoft already has a full range of tools that help developers bring their ideas from code to the cloud, to the world, in Azure DevOps, GitHub and Visual Studio, but this is not where it ends. By 2025, 70% of new applications implemented for the enterprise will use low-code or no-code tools. To put this in perspective, this figure stood at only 25% in 2020.
Content+Cloud can help your organization with this paradigm shift – we can create custom applications through the Power Platform and Teams, and help you set up a framework for low-code development within your workforce.
Improving security across clouds and platforms
In an increasingly digital world that expands across clouds and platforms, security is a top priority for any organization. Microsoft is the only cloud provider with multi-cloud protection for the top three platforms and continues to expand and create new security offerings with the growing Microsoft Security partner network.
A new development in this area is the enhancements to Microsoft Defender for Internet of Things (IoT) – with integration for Microsoft 365 Defender with IoT devices for increased security.
Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty
At Content+Cloud, we have broad and extensive experience working with clients in the government space. So it was with great interest that we listened to an important announcement for this sector: the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty.
This enables public sector organizations to meet data sovereignty, security and privacy requirements with policies, controls and technologies for their workloads. It gives organizations the full power of the cloud – broad platform capabilities, security, resilience and scale – while maintaining control of their data with transparency to governance processes. It is a unique cloud that combines Microsoft’s core capabilities of confidential computing and sovereignty.