Lee Ganly, Acora’s CIO, reports the best bits from day 1, including Satya Nadella’s key note.

The excitable energy of Steve Ballmer was suddenly replaced with an altogether more composed and poignant Satya Nadella. The record 170,00 people in the auditorium were all suitably impressed by Satya’s articulation of Microsoft’s future vision and knew that they were in good hands investing in their products. Microsoft’s sheer size and their investments in integration really stood out for me.  The scale of the Microsoft Cloud and the number of offerings in their portfolio presents some truly unique opportunities for customers and partners alike.  Microsoft may not be “best of breed” in every segment they operates in, but they are certainly best of suite.  They are focusing on actionable intelligence, be that the integration of Linked In, Office 365 and Dynamics to change the game in sourcing and attracting talent and managing into companies or the Azure Security Centre which includes InTune, Azure Active Directory and Information protect.

Introducing Microsoft 365

Satya Nadella unveiled Microsoft 365, which brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, delivering a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. It represents a fundamental shift in how Microsoft will design, build and go to market to address their customers’ needs for a modern workplace.

Microsoft’s digital transformation message has been consistent for multiple years, but has often been difficult to attach products to bring to life for clients, with the introduction of 4 groups of associated technology and services families, this was addressed head on:

  • Modern workplace
  • Business apps
  • Apps & infrastructure
  • Data and AI

Satya explained the modern workplace using Microsoft 365 provides “that complete solution for intelligent teamwork and security”. Improving the employee experience, driving cultural behaviour in promoting innovation, collaboration and creativity. I am delighted to report that Microsoft were promoting Teams nearly as hard as Acora have been, to empower employees by surfacing and collaborating across a huge range of content sources, including integration with non-Microsoft SaaS applications.  The modern workplace tools had to integrate security capabilities within the core of Microsoft 365, Azure Information Protect, InTune and Windows 10, providing defence in depth protection and end-to-end visibility against cyber threats.There were live demonstrations, which are usual at Inspire (WPC), Sonya Dara showing her mobile (Apple iPhone), with a complete set of applications to perform the majority of her productivity tasks done without switching devices, a great showcase for the wide range of native mobile apps.

Dynamics 365 had a massive push too, with some very specific integrations, such as  Microsoft Relationship Sales—combining LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics365 for Talent which integrates their vast LinkedIn database to provide a fully integrated lifecycle of sourcing, attracting, onboarding, and growing talent – a scary challenger to the existing recruitment consultant market. Finally, Satya reinforced the speed and rate of change of the increasingly digital world on the Apps and Infrastructure space explaining how:

  • Distributed Hybrid computing is replacing the Public vs Private Cloud, container and microservices or server-less compute is replacing virtualisation, data silos with a connected data estate and Artificial intelligence over big data.
  • Azure is positioned as the first hyperscaler that supports true distributed computing, built in DevOps CI/CD toolchain, intelligence and the core security features required by regulators.

Roll on day 2!


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