Oct 13 2022

Microsoft Ignite 2022: Microsoft Helps Customers Do More With Less

The evolution of work — and the tech tools we use to support it — shows no signs of slowing down.

The past couple of years have seen rapid changes that have touched nearly every aspect of our lives. From personal and societal change to adjustments in the way we work, technology has evolved to adapt at every step of the way.

“Suffice to say, we’re living in some uncertain times, arguably some of the most uncertain times of the past several decades,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Microsoft, kicking off Microsoft Ignite.  

“If we’ve learned anything during the pandemic, it's that no business is 100 percent resilient,” he continued. “But businesses fortified with digital capability are, in fact, more resilient than others.”

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How the Microsoft Cloud Can Enable Change

Althoff issued a challenge to conference attendees to pivot from resiliency to perseverance. He defined resiliency as “what you do when bad things happen to you. It’s how you respond. It’s how you react.” He explained the ways Microsoft has helped its customers and partners pivot during the pandemic and also noted some of the challenges the company is still facing.

“While we thought it might all be sunshine and rainbows, we’ve woken up to wars in the world, sustainability challenges, supply chain challenges, disruption in the economy, and it's time to pivot and use the same skills that we used during the pandemic,” he said. “We’re still challenged trying to thread the needle on employee productivity, satisfaction and well-being. We have challenges in the supply chain, we have challenges relative to sustainability, and challenges relative to cybercrime.”

Althoff touted Microsoft Azure as “the most comprehensive and trusted cloud, and also the cloud that enables customers to do more with less. Because whilst all of those challenges still exist, the added challenge of having to solve those challenges and rise and meet opportunity is met with the need to do so with less, and to spend less to accomplish our goals.”

In the opening keynote that followed, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said, “You are the change agents who make doing more with less possible — less time, less cost, less complexity, with more innovation, more agility and more resilience. Doing more with less doesn’t mean working harder or longer; it’s not going to scale. It means applying technology to amplify what you can do and ultimately, what an organization can achieve amidst today’s constraints.

RELATED: Discover how the cloud is enabling digital transformation.

Hybrid Work Demands Continued Improvements in Collaboration

As hybrid work has continued, we’ve all become aware of the benefits and challenges it presents. In response, Microsoft is continuing to improve the tools it offers to enable hybrid work.

“No CEO is somehow immune from the considerations of trying to figure out how to make their workforce more productive. And every CEO, at the same time, wants to make sure that while they’re driving productivity, they’re also focused on employee well-being and satisfaction,” Althoff said. He suggested Microsoft Teams and Viva Insights as tools to help elevate the hybrid work experience.

Nadella also spoke about the needs of hybrid workers, adding his own concerns about the shortage in skilled labor. “Employees must be empowered and energized to do meaningful work so that they can thrive,” he said. “You need to help people feel aligned to the company’s mission, purpose and business priorities. You need to help them connect with each other where they are and wherever they are working. You need to help them continuously build new skills in the flow of work.”

Judson Althoff
When work is increasingly happening anywhere, anytime, the employee experience needs to adapt accordingly.”

Judson Althoff Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Microsoft

He said Microsoft 365, Teams and Viva can help a workforce to thrive.

“We provide a complete cloud-first experience that makes work better for today’s digitally connected and distributed workforce,” he said. “When work is increasingly happening anywhere, anytime, the employee experience needs to adapt accordingly. Microsoft Viva is the first employee experience platform for hybrid work. It brings insights, connections, purpose and growth into the flow of work to empower employees and teams to do their very best.”

Last month, Microsoft announced new capabilities as a part of Viva, which will become available to customers beginning in 2023. “The data makes clear that hybrid work has created a growing disconnect between employees and leaders. They’re at odds about what constitutes productivity, how to maintain autonomy while ensuring accountability, the benefits of flexibility and the role of the office,” notes a company press release.

READ MORE: Find out what IT leaders can do to embrace hybrid work.

The Future of Work Will Be Automated

Nadella spoke with Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, about the ways AI is already being used to make work more efficient.

“A lot of companies are using our completions endpoint to help create really compelling content, from web copy to recruiting materials. And recently, we’ve seen more sophisticated applications that combine multiple AI capabilities for some really interesting use cases,” Altman said.

He cited the example of companies using a combination of AI capabilities to improve processes. “Compliance teams can use these capabilities to search complicated external standards documentation, and then compare them to their own internal policies. If they find any gaps, they can even use these capabilities to suggest new language,” he said. He also noted that this type of application can cut the time spent manually comparing documents from many weeks down to hours.

“Customers are also using that combination of embeddings and completions to help employees quickly find and synthesize answers from across a massive internal knowledge base,” he said. “For example, Morgan Stanley is building an AI assistant that helps their tens of thousands of wealth managers better support their clients so the wealth managers can quickly find and tailor the right information for every client at any moment.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event and follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and the official conference twitter feed, @MS_Ignite.

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