Sep 28 2020

Microsoft Ignite 2020: 4 Things to Take Away This Year

From collaboration upgrades to integrated security, these were the main topics during Microsoft Ignite.

The current climate is accelerating businesses’ plans for digital transformation. Organizations have been pushed to enable sprawling workforces and protect their employees, and IT teams have been at the center of it all.

“The case for digital transformation has never been more urgent,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during Microsoft Ignite 2020. “For any organization to succeed in a world of unprecedented constraints, they will need to empower employees, foster a new culture of hybrid work, engage their customers in new ways intelligently and virtually, transform products and services with new business models, and optimize operations to keep customers and employees safe and secure.”

Nadella discussed how the pandemic has changed the way we work, possibly forever. Here are other important takeaways from the virtual event.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Get more insights from Nadella's keynote address.

1. Integration Is More Important Than Ever

Businesses have had to dramatically expand the number of tools at their disposal. From collaboration and document sharing solutions to additional devices and networking capabilities, IT teams have added more solutions to their environments.

This complexity makes integration key, Nadella said in his keynote address. He said that putting the pieces together with tool integration, optimization and security is “tech intensity,” and he said that it can make all the difference for businesses.

“The stakes could not be higher,” Nadella said. “Tech intensity will determine not only whether organizations can weather the current crisis and also determine that they are prepared to navigate future tail events.”

2. Collaboration Experiences Must Be Sustainable

One of the biggest areas of focus for businesses during this time has been collaboration. Employees now need to be able to work together from anywhere.

“There’s no question that the PC has become mission-critical during this pandemic, across work, school and life to sustain productivity in a remote-everything world,” Nadella said. “We think about productivity holistically, understanding how someone spends their time, who they work with and what content they create, and use these signals to create value for individuals and their organizations.”

Microsoft has rolled out new, artificial intelligence-powered collaboration features to help ease workflow and keep employees on task. 

3. Employee Well-Being Needs to Be Prioritized

Speaking of employees, many of them are feeling burned out. Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, said that the biggest increase in usage for Microsoft Teams has been outside of the standard 9-to-5 workday hours. 

“Up to this point, technology has been focused on efficiency, and I think that’s a fallacy,” Spataro said. “Sustainable productivity for people isn’t just about efficiency. People need cycles of performance and they need cycles of recovery.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn more about how employee well-being is coming to the forefront.

To help employees get this recovery, Microsoft has partnered with Headspace to integrate mindfulness tools into its products. There are also new features like a “virtual commute” to help create more separation between work and home lives.

4. The New Normal Needs a New Security Approach

With so many new tools being used, keeping data secure and easy to work with is crucial. One way to achieve that is to integrate security right into solutions, said Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for security, compliance and identity.

“We believe that modern security should empower you to go further faster,” Jakkal said. “It should be at the intersection of great human expertise and great technology. It should be cloud-native and AI-based so that it works for you everywhere, at scale. It should be extensible to a broad ecosystem of third-party tools. It should be based on zero-trust principles.” 

At the center of this strategy is a focus on integration, compliance and identity. With the right tools and the right strategy, businesses can empower their workers to continue to be productive and secure, regardless of where they’re working from. 

Follow BizTech’s full coverage of Microsoft Ignite here.

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