It’s finally here – Day 1 of Microsoft Ignite kicked off today as a digital event. Satya started the event by acknowledging the challenges people faced over the past year and how it has brought significant changes across multiple industries. Fundamentally, Microsoft is moving from a mobile first, cloud first era to an era of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence – an era which Satya states that will see “more digitization over the next 10 years than there was over the past 40.”

 

As computing capabilities increase and the needs of the evolving hybrid workplace expand, Microsoft is also committed to making these experiences sustainable. A key theme from today’s events revolved around providing organizations with a sustainable cloud environment.

 

Below are some of our top takeaways from Day 1, including Microsoft announcements, product news, and best practice guidance.

 

Opening Session

In the opening session, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella kicked off the event by discussing how every business is becoming a digital business with 70% of workers wanting flexible remote work options to continue. While there is a strong trend in flexible, hybrid workplaces, Satya was also clear in sharing that 65% of people are craving more in-person time with their teams. With conflicting sentiment about the evolving workplace, Microsoft is committed to provide tooling to meet end users where they are. Some of Satya’s most exciting announcements include:

 

– Microsoft Loop: Microsoft Loop is a new app that combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across applications.

– Microsoft Customer Experience Platform: Businesses will be able to use this customer engagement solution to gain control of their client’s data to deliver connected experiences.

– Teams Connect: Businesses will be able to securely collaborate across organizations. With this capability, users can collaborate seamlessly in the same digital environment with anyone.

– Microsoft Defender for Business: Focused on security for small businesses, Microsoft Defender for Business is an endpoint security solution that helps businesses with up to 300 employees protect against cybersecurity threats.

– Azure Arc: Azure Arc-enabled data services enhancements will provide deeper support for VMware vSphere and new integrations with Azure Stack HCI.

 

Empower Everyone for a New World Session

In this session, Microsoft discussed how having a digital fabric that connects people through data, automation, and AI is key. The digital fabric is key to connecting people with their managers and ultimately their organization’s mission. Here we learned more about Microsoft Loop’s project management and collaborative capabilities along with Context IQ. Context IQ streamlines the user workflow, taking insights to action by suggesting the info needed when it is needed at the point of action.

 

Additionally, Microsoft delved into their idea of the metaverse with Microsoft Mesh. Microsoft Mesh will provide Teams Connected Spaces, “embedding computing into the real world, and the real world into the computer” with avatars in digital immersive spaces. Microsoft is also reimagining the employee experience with Mesh experiences in Microsoft Team, featuring tools such as Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Learning, and Viva Topics all integrated directly into the platform. Mesh experiences in Teams will be available in the first half of 2022.

 

Build a Hyperconnected Business Session

Data is the new fuel for a company, but just having the data isn’t enough. That’s why, in this session, Microsoft talked about the need to move from siloed data and processes towards a hyperconnected business that’s proactive with their data. To enable every organization to build a hyperconnected business, Microsoft is announcing dedicated Dynamics 365 experiences:

 

– Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Insights: Organizations will be able to anticipate disruptions, such as weather, with early warning insights combined with visual overlays on maps.

– Voice Channel: Voice Channel for Dynamics 365 Customer Service provides a collaboration first approach for organizations and their clients with an all-in-one digital contact center. Powered by the same communication platform that powers Teams, organizations will be able to connect with their clients through voice, chat, SMS, and more.

– Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing: Announced earlier this year, Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is now available for preview.

 

Innovate Anywhere from Multicloud Session

The need for innovation is never-ending, and in this session, Microsoft talked about the areas of Azure where they’re advancing capabilities. Four key areas of focus include:

Hybrid and multicloud

End-to-end data platform

Cloud native development

Developer velocity

 

You can read this Microsoft blog to see how Azure can change your hybrid, multicloud, and edge cloud strategy.

 

Protect Everything with End-to-End Security Session

Today, the cost of cybercrime is $6t annually and projected to increase to $10.5t in 2025. One-third of cyberattacks target SMB organizations and 61% of these businesses cannot operate after the attack. Security has continued to be a major need for companies, and Microsoft is doing even more than ever to provide comprehensive security. In this session, Microsoft announced several new enhancements to empower organization and users with its two security superpowers together — their integrated end-to-end approach and AI and automation capabilities — to tackle security from all angles, at scale and to protect devices and back-end systems.

 

Accelerate Cross-Organization Collaboration with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 Session

The future of collaboration is about empowering the workforce to exchange information, ideas, and knowledge in a seamless and natural way, which is why Microsoft announced new capabilities that integrate collaboration across D365 and M365. Microsoft is providing organizations with a new way to collaborate within Dynamics 365 or Teams, creating one place that users can work together to stay organized and focused. Microsoft is bringing the best of Teams, Office and Dynamics 365 with the in-depth capabilities for Dynamics 365 Sales, Customer Services, and Marketing.

 

Other Top Takeaways

The push for new ways to engage with each other in the evolving workplace is clearer than ever. Microsoft is committed to providing streamlined and connected experiences. Here are additional takeaways from other sessions that happened today:

 

Infrastructure is the heart of every business. To power their new connected experiences, Microsoft announced numerous new capabilities and Azure Virtual Machines entering preview.

 

Simplify the IT experience. Microsoft is not only committed to providing streamlined capabilities for end users, but for IT administrators as well. New features such as admin units and accessing the admin portal from Teams will help provide simplified IT admin experiences.

 

Microsoft Teams is becoming the communication and collaboration hub for businesses. A majority of the latest innovations Microsoft announced in Day 1 are connected back to Microsoft Teams. Going into 2022, we will continue to see Microsoft add onto Teams to build it into a centralized tool organizations can use to connect, communicate, and collaborate.

 

Microsoft is rebranding a few services. With the focus on cybersecurity Microsoft is updating and rebranding the following services:

  • Azure Defender is becoming Microsoft Defender for Cloud
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security is becoming Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
  • Azure Sentinal is becoming Microsoft Sentinal

 

See You on Day 2!

Day 1 of Microsoft Ignite was jam-packed, and we can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! Stay tuned for our Microsoft Ignite Day 2 recap tomorrow after the event or attend Microsoft Ignite tomorrow by registering here.

 

This article contains contributions from our team of Microsoft experts.