Takeaways from the Microsoft Inspire Conference (2017)
By: Ryan Barton on August 7, 2017
Two of Mainstay’s team members attended Microsoft’s annual international conference – the Microsoft Inspire Conference – in Washington DC last month. The event is a showcase for Microsoft’s vision for the future and a chance for them to announce new products and initiatives. Below are some highlights, told by Rick Dupuis:
The Microsoft conference is always an inspiring event. That held true this year as in past years!
Satya Nadella gave an inspiring Day 1 keynote speech focusing on how Microsoft’s mission statement (to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more) is being turned into strategies to transform today’s organizations, by leveraging the cloud, next generation security, centralized applications, compelling infrastructure, business intelligence, and AI.
Behind the buzzwords were specific products, upgrades, and company changes.
- Security. It should come as no surprise that this was a major focus! 91% of all attacks start via email, and security focused sessions followed the paths an attacker takes after an unsuspecting user clicks on that malicious email to gain control of the whole organization. Microsoft has new and upgraded products that help protect each customer, and Office 365 and Azure have strong security components and visibility. Microsoft is encouraging more of its partners to create a separate Information Security team and raise their focus on security – much as Mainstay has done successfully.
- Compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). The European Union has passed a stringent set of new privacy and security regulations which go into effect May of 2018, that impact not just European companies, but companies with European employees or clients. Microsoft has released resources to assist with GDPR compliance.
- Industry focus. Microsoft is reorganizing its sales team around industries and is focusing solutions around the problems faced by distinct industries. As they continue to evolve BI, application, and augmented reality solutions, this could be very powerful! More info at Microsoft’s Industries page.
- Future focus. Up to 65% of today’s graduates will hold jobs that don’t yet exist today! Microsoft preached Internet of Things (IoT), business intelligence, analytics, and AI that informs business decision making and introduced the term “intelligent edge” – bringing the power of the cloud to IoT.
- Azure has had 98% revenue growth over the last year and now has over 100 datacenters.
Some of the specific products that stood out to us included:
- Microsoft 365. A new product, Microsoft 365 combines Office 365, security products, cloud management, and Windows 10 licensing to allow small companies to work securely and efficiently without the need for local servers. We are excited by the prospect and have initial tests in progress so we can determine exactly when to recommend this solution to clients and if it’s ready for deployment.
- Microsoft Teams. Many of our clients are familiar with Skype for Business. Teams takes this to the next level, with persistent chat, file sharing repositories, and social features. It now directly competes with Slack. Implementing effectively takes a strategy for each organization, but if you are already using Office 365 you can start using Teams and see what you think.
- Microsoft Dynamics. The Dynamics suite continues to receive a heavy focus and new products and modules have been rolled out. It’s a compelling application solution that can include finance, sales, service, recruiting, and more.
We are pleased with the progress Microsoft is making and honored to be a Microsoft Partner with multiple silver and gold competencies. Attending the conference helps us to stay at the edge of Microsoft’s initiatives, network with partners from around the world, and gain insights into specific products – all so we can serve our clients better and help them leverage technology so their organizations are more efficient, secure, and productive.