Microsoft Ignite 2016 Highlights IT Transformation and Digitisation.
This article was written by guest contributor Raphael Köllner, an IT system engineer at the Bechtle IT System House Cologne.
For over 15 years, Raphael Köllner has spoken and provided training on diverse topics relating to IT and the law, often linking these two fields. He is an MVP Office Server & Services, Windows Top Insider, MCT and Microsoft Student Partner Evangelist. Mr Köllner focuses primarily on the technical and legal aspects of cloud computing.
To read more articles by Raphael Köllner, visit our Bechtle Blog.
This year, Microsoft held its largest conference, Ignite, in Atlanta, Georgia, from 26 to 30 September. The venue was already abuzz a few days prior to the event’s official start, as visitors registered and took part in full-day, pre-conference workshops. The 2016 Ignite conference attracted over 500 speakers and 25,000 attendees to the Georgia World Congress Center, where they participated in more than 1,000 sessions, including traditional, breakout and theatre sessions, hub talks and community meetups.
The event as a whole focused squarely on IT transformation. This encompasses not only the technological transformation of business processes and collaboration through Yammer and Groups, but also the journey into the cloud. Regarding this last point, Scott Guthrie highlighted five main focus areas, namely productivity, business apps, application innovation, data & intelligence, as well as security & management. Microsoft views digital transformation in the “cloud first, mobile first” world as a process with three recurring stages: creating more personal computing, reinventing productivity and business processes, and building the intelligent cloud platform.
To this day, Microsoft’s mission strives to “empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.”
But Microsoft is not walking the path of transformation alone. It is strengthened by several partnerships with large and small businesses. During the keynote address, Microsoft announced its expanded partnership with Adobe, whose CEO, Shantanu Narayen, shared the stage with Satya Nadella to explain how the two companies plan to advance together: in addition to basing all of its Adobe clouds on Microsoft Azure, Adobe will also embrace the Surface Pro and Surface Book as the hardware platform for its products.
In addition to sessions and keynote speakers, Microsoft presented customers who are genuine examples of IT transformation. For instance, visitors could stop by the event’s Expo Hall to see how Renault’s Formula One team relies on Microsoft Dynamics. Facebook was also proudly cited during the keynote address, as its employees now all use Office 365. Particular attention was paid to BMW in Germany, which is driving automotive digitisation, complete with apps, through Microsoft technology.
Several interesting cloud facts were shared, for instance that Azure is available in 34 regions worldwide—twice the number of regions currently offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). This includes new local, closed-off cloud regions in the UK (Cardiff and London) as well as the German Microsoft Cloud (Frankfurt and Magdeburg), through which Azure services are slated to be generally available from 21 September 2016.
Microsoft customers are experiencing IT transformation.
Now that apps have taken a universal foothold, Microsoft is taking everything a step further with its new Bot Framework. Bots can, for instance, help improve customer support. They can also enable vehicles to identify problems themselves, analyse them and make them searchable with Azure Search. Through Bot Framework and Cortana, the vehicle could then voice-transmit this information to the user.
And what would a major conference be without several intriguing announcements? Visitors were informed that Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 will be released in October 2016, with evaluation versions already available for download. Microsoft also announced that it was taking its partnership with Docker Inc. to the next level. Cooperation between the two companies continues to bear fruit, bringing Docker Engine container technology to Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10.
I myself participated as a speaker in multiple breakout sessions, one theatre session and several podcasts. I was also given the opportunity to share my Microsoft product expertise with customers visiting the various Office 365 and Windows Insider stands. This allowed me to connect personally with representatives of Microsoft’s different product groups and to exchange ideas with them. It was an incredible experience to contribute as a speaker and attend sessions in person instead of relying on live streams through my PC. Next year’s Microsoft Ignite conference will be held from 25 to 29 September in Orlando, Florida.