Sep 18 2020

What to Expect from Microsoft Ignite 2020

Amid unprecedented disruption, businesses reach for resilience.

Six months after a global health crisis triggered shelter-in-place orders and closed business doors across the country, organizations are still adjusting. What began as a mass migration to home offices has now become something of a limbo for many, with some businesses beginning to plan for their return to the office or phasing in onsite employees.

Even as localities move through various stages of reopening, there’s no guarantee that that trend will continue. Experts have warned that additional measures may need to be taken in the fall and winter if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases — which is breeding even more uncertainty among organizations that have spent several months trying to settle into a new routine.

Preparing for that uncertainty will be the main theme of this year’s Microsoft Ignite event. The all-virtual experience will feature the latest trends in tech and deeper dives into how Microsoft's solutions are helping businesses through these challenging times. From September 22 through September 24, attendees will have free access to keynote addresses, breakout sessions and certification classes, all from the comfort of their own home. Here’s what we expect to learn at the event.

Arming Businesses with What They Need in the Future of Work

Like most tech events this year, Microsoft Ignite will heavily feature the kinds of IT tools that are helping organizations maintain business continuity. Cloud services and analytics, collaboration and security are all playing vital roles in allowing businesses to remain operational amid disruption.

Resilience is a major theme across presentations this year. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be delivering a keynote titled “Building Digital Resilience” to kick off the event, setting the tone for what attendees can expect from company leadership. Other featured keynotes topics include “the future of work,” “supercharge organizational agility” and “meet the needs of tomorrow.” It is clear that Microsoft recognizes how challenging the constant uncertainty has been for businesses.

Social responsibility has a stronger presence in this year’s agenda, perhaps echoing current sentiments about the role businesses should play in society. Expert panels will cover Microsoft’s Global Social Entrepreneurship Program, transparency in global food supply chains, and powering nonprofits through the pandemic.

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Security Is a High Priority in the New Normal

Security is one of the hottest topics at any technology event, and Microsoft Ignite is no different. Remote work en masse has changed the security needs of businesses drastically, with so many devices connecting to organizations’ networks from faraway locations. In many ways, businesses have had to treat each employee as if he or she were an individual branch of the company, requiring additional protections.

The increase in vulnerability comes as resilience grows ever more critical for businesses already facing budgetary pressures. Tools to strengthen businesses resilience will have a prominent place at Microsoft Ignite, including a keynote with Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president for security, compliance and identity. Also expect deeper dives into integrated security solutions and broader strategies, such as zero trust.

Change has been one of the few constants for businesses this year, making it clear that agility and adaptability are some of the most valued traits an organization can have. Microsoft Ignite will have more about how companies can achieve this state, and build resilience for the future. 

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