There were exciting announcements at this year’s Microsoft Inspire – our experts give their take on what they mean for our customers.
Every year Microsoft hosts Inspire – a huge international event that brings Microsoft partners together to find out about what new approaches and solutions will be available for their customers.
We asked some of Content+Cloud’s experts for their immediate take on some of the key announcements. Here’s what they had to say.
David Bowman, Product Director for Fresh Intranet, on Viva’s new module: Engage
Hot on the heels of two new Viva modules – Goals and Sales – Microsoft announced Engage, a new app to help organisations build connection and community.
“Viva Engage builds on the foundations that Yammer created and upgrades what many organisations will recognise as the Microsoft Teams Communities app. Along with some new, highly requested additions such as Stories and a unifying experience for notifications, Viva Engage provides an outlet for employee engagement, building social capital and encouraging employees to make connections.
“In late August Viva Engage will be available to all Microsoft 365 commercial customers at no additional charge under the guise of a rebranded Communities app.”
Duncan Kerr, Enterprise Apps Business Development Consultant, on the new Digital Contact Centre Platform
Microsoft announced Digital Contact Centre Platform, an open, extensible, seamless and collaborative platform bringing together Dynamics 365, Power Platform and Microsoft Teams.
“It is interesting to see how the acquisition of Nuance earlier this year slots neatly into a market leading platform. Leveraging the extensive capabilities of Dynamics 365 Customer Service, along with Power Platform and Microsoft Teams, this overarching platform clearly demonstrates the breadth of Microsoft capability.
“Demonstrating how AI can support business scenarios (AI intent prediction), and underpinned by Microsoft Security, this announcement shows Microsoft’s commitment to supporting customers on their digital transformation.
“More than this, the digital imperative – pre-empting industry disruption, addressing maturing customer demands, digitising end-to-end core processes and more – can be addressed through platforms such as the Digital Contact Centre.”
Jason Wynn, Principal Technology Strategist and Microsoft MVP, on new features in Teams
Organisations will be able to further embrace innovation in hybrid working with a host of new features earmarked for Microsoft Teams.
“Microsoft engineering and innovation teams have been working hard to build upon the plethora (more than 450) of improvements made to Microsoft Teams already, including things like Front Row, AI-powered intelligent cameras and intelligent speakers, cameo, PowerPoint Live and Recording Studio.
“Announced at Inspire we now have Excel Live, which will allow people to work collaboratively in workbooks in real-time within a Microsoft Teams meeting. Collaborative Annotations will allow meeting participants to draw, type and react on top of the shared content.
“Video Clips are a new feature that allows you to record a short video and deliver the message at a click of a button. The recipient can respond whenever is convenient to them.
“Finally, Secure Channels, which was announced some time ago, is now generally available. Secure channels allow you to collaborate with people inside and outside your organisation in one shared space. Your users can work, chat, meet, share, and co-author files and develop applications together.”
Nick Isherwood, Azure Product Director, on cloud and Azure developments
One of the major announcements at Inspire was Microsoft’s Cloud for Sovereignty, designed for the government sector. There were also a range of developments around Azure, with notable focuses on security and sustainability.
“We’re encouraged by this week’s Inspire announcement on the new industry Cloud for Sovereignty, which shows Microsoft’s continued commitment to Public Sector organisations. The combination of policies, controls and technologies will enable customers to align with government specific data sovereignty, privacy and compliance requirements.
“This, alongside new Azure Confidential Computing developments (including the ability to encrypt data while in use without modifying the app), make it even easier to work with clients in regulated industries. Data monitoring and governance through Microsoft Purview and Priva, coupled with advanced security provided with Microsoft Entra, Defender for Cloud and Azure Sentinel, has put Azure in a unique position to build confidence in migrating the most sensitive workloads to the cloud.
“We’re also delighted to see Microsoft driving the sustainability agenda with new commitments to significantly reduce waste from data centres as the number of Azure regions continues to grow, reusing up to 90% of retired hardware through job training programmes, schools and even games consoles. Azure continues to build on its intent to be the most secure, scalable and sustainable cloud to help organisations transform and build capability.”
Chris O’Brien, Product and Services Director and Microsoft MVP, on empowering fusion teams
A key message at Inspire was around the ‘digital imperative’ – how technology can help organisations manage the challenges of the next ten years. One feature of this was ‘empowering fusion teams’, facilitating app innovation by nurturing citizen development while harnessing DevOps approaches.
“The paradigm shift to low-code apps featured heavily in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Inspire keynote, reinforced by Gartner’s prediction that 70% of new enterprise apps will be built using low-code by 2025.
“Content+Cloud help organisations get to value faster using the Power Platform, building solutions with less complexity, cost, and maintenance overhead while still providing rich experiences, data integration and robust security.
“We also help organisations empower their workforce with low-code tools, providing Power Platform Centre of Excellence services to ensure the governance guardrails are in place to allow innovation across the business, without risking organisational data or operational standards.”