Key Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2021

Microsoft is back with its biggest annual event Ignite, an enterprise-focused developer conference.

Today, the launch of Microsoft Ignite 2021 was full of new announcements and product updates. But there were three overarching themes on which the keynote session was focused: Hybrid work, innovating anywhere from multi-cloud to edge, building a hyperconnected business, and protecting everything with end-to-end security.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella kicked off the virtual event with a keynote speech where he stressed on the era of digitization and computing in his opening remarks. He stated that “We are moving from a mobile and cloud era to ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence. This era will experience more digitization over the next 10 years than what we witnessed in the last 40 years.” As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella commented and we quote, “the case for digital transformation has never been more urgent,”.

Nadella’s keynote session was broadly split into two major sections: the first part was focused on key trends, while the second one entailed some exciting new announcements related to Microsoft products and services.

Empowering everyone for hybrid work

70% of employees want flexible work options and about the same number of employees want in-person connection. Employees today want to spend most and the least of their time for more focused work. More people are switching jobs as they need flexibility at work, flexibility to work anytime, anywhere. Thus, every organization today needs to incorporate digital methods to empower their employees and increase productivity at their workplace.

Hyperconnected Business

Microsoft cloud will allow every organization to build a hyperconnected business, enabling agility and flexibility for companies and employees to grow and sustain in the current business environment. 

End-to-end Security

Cyber threat is the biggest challenge for digital transformation and it’s a risk that every business faces today. During the pandemic, every business became remote due to which every IT and cyber operations department had to go through complex change which only increased with the increase in hybrid work culture.

Besides, cybercrime is also costing the economy more than 6 trillion dollars each year that is expected to reach 10 trillion dollars by 2025. To prevent cybercrime, every organization is required to have tools across identity, security, compliance, privacy, and a cross-platform multi-cloud zero trust architecture.

Major Microsoft product announcements made during the keynote
Microsoft Loop

Microsoft Loop is the next breakthrough in Microsoft 365, a new office collaboration application that encourages communication first in the AI-first world. This allows employees to contribute to their work through chat, email, meetings, documents.

Microsoft Customer Experience Platform

This new service allows organizations to keep control over their customer data and decide how they want to utilize the data to enhance their customer relations. 

Azure Arc

Arc is the first of its kind control plane extending Azure security, governance, dev tools, and managing azure services on any infrastructure.

Mesh for Microsoft Teams

To add a personal touch to the remote meetings, Microsoft added a new feature to Teams where people can now create their own digital avatars and interact/collaborate in a virtual environment or ‘Metaverse’, say a virtual office space, simply by plugging into the virtual reality headset along with the other productivity tools like chat, share documents, etc.

Talking more on this, Satya Nadella, said, “I can’t overstate how much of a breakthrough this is. It’s no longer just looking at a camera view of a factory floor, you can be on the floor. It’s no longer just video conferencing with colleagues, you can be with them in the same room. It’s no longer just playing a game with friends, you can be in the game with them.”

Azure Open AI service

A new Azure cognitive service that allows access to OpenAI’s cutting-edge innovation through the Azure platform. The new Azure Cognitive Service will give customers access to OpenAI’s powerful GPT-3 models and a tool that uses a new model based on GPT-3 called CODEX, along with security, reliability, compliance, data privacy, and other enterprise-grade capabilities that are built into Microsoft Azure. This will allow developers and content creators to offer their customers engaging experiences. With integrated content moderation using OpenAI service, content editors are now empowered to pick up the most appropriate summaries and come up with original content for the audiences. This will accelerate the process of content creation and production.

Teams Connect

Teams Connect powered by Azure AD allows users to connect with other people within the organization as well as outside the organization in shared channels in a matter of seconds. People can collaborate as a team, collaborate on files, schedule meetings and get access to do their work effectively. In addition to this,

  1. Users can schedule a shared channel meeting
  2. The team can initiate a pole from the shared channel
  3. Users can record their meetings for their future references
  4. Senior managers can see the tasks assigned directly from the lists and keep an eye on the progress.

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