Microsoft Ignite in Four Words: Azure, Office, Teams and Power Apps
by Jim Lundy
I attended my 10th Microsoft Ignite this week and it did not disappoint. Coming on the heels of the DOD Jedi Cloud Contract win, Microsoft was quietly confident, and we can see that it has paid off with all of the new products and services it unveiled. While there were many significant announcements, this blog covers the key takeaways that you can’t miss.
Microsoft Doubles Down on Azure with Azure Stack
No one can argue that Amazon has been winning in Cloud, but Microsoft has held its own and with the flurry of news this week, it is clearly in the Hybrid Cloud game with its updated Azure Stack that features its own set of regular and ruggedized server appliances.
On top of that, Microsoft has focused nearly all of its developer initiatives to enable Azure Cloud Services. The one area where this was clearly evident was with its rebranded Microsoft Flow, now called Power Automate, which is now part of the Power App platform that features low code development offerings for the “citizen developer”—aka the business analyst.
The Power Play with Power App—RPA, Chatbots, and More
With the success of Power BI, Microsoft has staked its claim with the Power App family, including Power Automate. Microsoft has very big plans for the Power App family, which will allow firms to build apps, automate workflows, add AI with AI builder and enable external access via Portals. Microsoft is playing for keeps here and Low Code providers and RPA providers should take notice.
Microsoft 365: Doubling Down on Teams
Microsoft unveiled a number of new capabilities in Teams—which makes it the common unified client for most of Microsoft Office when it comes to collaboration and communication. These included:
- Multi-Window- Allows for multiple conversations. This UX enhancement was needed.
- Private Channels- The Year of Yammer – which will be very popular with executives.
- Teams and Power Platform Integration- Support for Chatbots.
- Outlook and Teams Integration- As Messaging becomes more vital and immediate, it needs to be fully integrated with Outlook, and now it is.
- Tasks in Teams Support- Again, this makes Teams a complete Digital Work Hub.
2020 Will Be the Year of Yammer
Not to be outdone, the Yammer team has re-imagined Yammer, making it look very modern and leveraging things like Office Identity and Profiles. Stream will also be able to do a Live Event in Yammer (may require a Tenant Upgrade). The new Yammer looks sleek and fast. The updates will likely be well received by the thousands of enterprises that use it. There is also a related development, called Project Cortex, which is Microsoft’s re-entry into knowledge management. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog on this major move as well.
The Microsoft Ignite 2019 event was one of the best corporate events Microsoft has held in years. Customers were buying the story, possibly because they want some help becoming a full digital enterprise. Microsoft is on its game and all roads point to cloud and to the Power App Platform.