Microsoft Ignite 2020 Summarized in Four Words: Power, Teams, AI, and Syntex
by Jim Lundy
Microsoft Ignite 2020, while virtual, did not disappoint. With a focused no-nonsense delivery, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivered on the promise of new technology. While it is true that there’s more to it than just technology, this blog is about the four key takeaways we caught at Ignite 2020.
Power Platform All the Way
If there’s any doubt about Microsoft’s focus on Power Platform, that was just erased at Ignite 2020. With Power Platform Microsoft is doubling down on the digital business platform market focus and its integration with other Microsoft business applications.
Power Platform added a number of new updates:
• Low-code updates with a more integrated management platform for Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Power Virtual Agents, and Microsoft Azure API
• The ability to delivery Power Apps via Microsoft Teams
• Microsoft Power Virtual Agents and Azure Bot Framework integration to allow enterprises to build bots with low code and distribute via Teams
• Microsoft Power Automate Desktop—RPA comes to the desktop
• Power BI is now natively integrated with Excel
• A new Power BI Premium per user as an entry point to Premium
Aragon feels that Microsoft is making a strategic enterprise play with Microsoft Power Platform.
It is focused on assisting organizations and re-organizing to be able to support the development of new applications. The other aspect of Power platform is the focus on citizen developers, which extends coding capabilities throughout the enterprise.
Microsoft Teams Gets Real About Meetings
Last year, Microsoft was focused on first-line workers, this year, it will be focused on Microsoft Teams as a complete support for meetings. The provider is rolling out more features for its Together mode. Microsoft uses themed background pictures that it says are an alternative to tile squares, but we’re not totally sold on Together mode yet. Although, the US National Basketball Association is using Together mode for a virtual background during games (fans are visible).
There is also a new Microsoft Power BI app for Teams that was announced. It is clear that Microsoft is making Microsoft Teams its digital work hub of the future (as opposed to Microsoft Outlook).
Microsoft Teams Gets More Bots
While bots were supported with Teams in the past, the new Microsoft Power Virtual Agents and Azure Bot Framework integration enables the creation of low-code bots that can be distributed via Microsoft Teams.
It is nice to see Microsoft streamlining its approach to bot development—that will allow it to make a stronger push for Microsoft Power Platform overall.
Azure AI for the Enterprise
Microsoft Metrics Advisor, which is in preview mode, is really about putting an item to work. It gives enterprises the ability to monitor key business metrics, such as sales and manufacturing, and to use AI to flag anomalies on the Microsoft cloud. Our opinion is that this kind of out-of-the-box capability, which will involve training on some of the enterprise data, is really what enterprises need to put intelligence to work.
Vision, which is part of Azure Cognitive Services Computer Vision and the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, allows an application to do spatial analysis (based on video analytics) of spaces such as retail to understand things like the amount of time spent looking at a product or a proximity detection of how close people are relative to social distancing recommendations. It does this by compiling data from multiple video cameras.
SharePoint Gets Smarter with Syntex
Microsoft just put all content management providers on notice with SharePoint Syntex. An output from the Project Cortex team, Syntex is a full content analytics offering. It has document analytics, text analytics, and imaging analytics and it is ready to train on your documents.
Syntex can read your documents to understand them—and that will help it speed up the analysis of what is in them so you can make faster decisions. A common use case will be forms extraction and identification of key items in a document that users need.
Syntex will also allow for AI models to be generated based on use case, so it is a platform for growth. For SharePoint Administrators, Syntex will come with some pre-made Wizards to aid with deployment.
Aragon will be doing more analysis of Syntex, but for SharePoint shops and for Office 365 users, Syntex means you now have an intelligent content platform once you turn it on.
With this Ignite conference, Microsoft has come out swinging with substantial enhancements, and a message that the world is going digital with Microsoft ready to assist enterprises on that journey.