With many organisations already making headway on their digital transformation, the focus now turns to the ‘digital imperative’ – delivering integrated technology that helps organisations differentiate themselves, build resilience and do more with less. That was one of the key messages at this year’s Microsoft Inspire event, which showcased a host of new ways to leverage the Microsoft cloud to help organisations innovate.
What is Microsoft Inspire?
Microsoft Inspire is the annual event held for Microsoft partners worldwide, showcasing the latest in technology innovation. This year’s key themes included how modernisation 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 organisations through the challenges the next decade will bring – which will be entirely different to what we’ve witnessed over the past decade. The key announcements revealed how the Microsoft cloud can provide organisations with the technology to help them to do less with more.
For the reaction of some of Content+Cloud’s experts, head over to our blog compiling their thoughts.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
Digital Contact Centre Platform
One of this year’s new announcements is the Digital Contact Centre Platform, an open, collaborative solution that brings together the recently acquired Nuance along with Dynamics 365, Power Platform and Microsoft Teams. It helps organisations create a seamless experience for customers reaching out across any channel.
Organisations will be able to leverage this platform to build contact centre experiences that are tailored to the customer, with a seamless experience thanks to the collaboration across channels – whether that is a modern Teams Voice telephony solution, online live chat boxes or AI-driven chatbots.
- Read expert reaction from Duncan Kerr, Enterprise Apps Business Development Consultant
Making hybrid work, work
It’s clear that hybrid working is here to stay – but there’s a balance to be struck between flexibility and connectivity. Microsoft is rolling out new capabilities across Microsoft 365 and Teams to make collaboration easier.
- With Excel Live, you can collaboratively edit workbooks directly from the Teams meeting window.
- Collaborative annotations allow people to engage with content shared in a Teams meeting.
- Video messages will be introduced to Teams, giving users the ability to record, edit and send a short clip in a conversation.
Microsoft’s employee experience platform Viva has been helping organisations increase productivity, wellbeing and collaboration with modules integrated directly in 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 grow your employee community and engagement with leadership through new features such as Stories.
- Read expert reaction from Jason Wynn, Principal Technology Strategist and Microsoft MVP, and David Bowman, Product Director for Fresh Intranet
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’s been a key enabler of the hybrid way of working that has now become the norm.
Organisations have been using Windows 365 and modern endpoint management to streamline onboarding, improve the hybrid working experience, reduce infrastructure costs and improve security. The ways that the cloud PC platform can be used by organisations continues to evolve. Two new features in Windows 365 include:
- point-in-time restore, which allows administrators to restore a cloud PC;
- the Autopatch service, which automates Windows updates for improved security.
A stack of new Azure capabilities
Azure is the key to Microsoft’s digital imperative of integrated technology that helps you do more with less. Modernising and migrating to Azure is fundamental to innovating your workforce – and Microsoft is focusing on building a multi-cloud, multi-edge infrastructure to support this innovation.
Among several Azure announcements was a plan for ten additional data centre regions, spanning ten regions across four continents, over the next year. As more organisations move to the cloud, this will bring faster access and improved data residency.
Other key Azure capabilities from the Microsoft Inspire event include:
- Azure Confidential Computing capabilities are available for organisations to handle sensitive data in the cloud with even more enhanced protection;
- Azure Center for SAP Solutions will be available to deploy and manage SAP workloads so you can run an SAP system seamlessly with the Microsoft Cloud;
- Azure Arc Boost Program will allow organisations to build apps with Azure services that run across environments, thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with Intel.
Another exciting announcement was the Azure Space Partner Community, tailored for partners that are evolving the power of their cloud computing with satellite networks and other space technologies. This will offer an innovative way for organisations to widen the scope of connectivity and gather new insights using space data.
- Read expert reaction from Nick Isherwood, Azure Product Director
Empowering fusion teams of developers
In this digital world, the demand for developers is stronger than ever and extends beyond the technology industry. This opens up a new opportunity to support citizen and professional developers alike by innovating applications to empower a fusion team of developers.
Microsoft already has a complete range of tools that help developers take their ideas from code, to cloud, to the world, in Azure DevOps, GitHub and Visual Studio, but this isn’t where it ends. By 2025, 70% of new applications deployed for the enterprise will use low-code or no-code tools. To put this in perspective, this figure stood at just 25% in 2020.
Content+Cloud can help your organisation with this paradigm shift – we can create bespoke applications via the Power Platform and Teams, as well as helping you establish a framework for low-code development across your workforce.
- Read expert reaction from Chris O’Brien, Product and Services Director and Microsoft MVP
Enhancing security across clouds and platforms
In an increasingly digital world expanding across clouds and platforms, security is a top priority for every organisation. 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 Microsoft Defender for Internet of Things (IoT) enhancements – offering 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 customers in the governmental space. It was, then, with great interest that we listened to a major announcement for this sector: the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty.
This will allow organisations in the public sector to meet data sovereignty, security and privacy requirements with policies, controls and technologies for their workloads. It gives organisations the full power of the cloud – broad platform capabilities, security, resiliency and scale – all while maintaining control over their data with transparency for governance processes. It’s a unique cloud that combines Microsoft’s core capabilities in confidential computing and sovereignty.
- Read expert reaction from Nick Isherwood, Azure Product Director
Celebrating Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Awards
Microsoft Inspire also gives everyone the opportunity to celebrate the Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards. This year, Content+Cloud has been announced as Partner of the Year for Customer Experience. As a partner that lives and breathes client success, we’re especially proud of this award – take a look at this video to find out just what customer experience means to our people.