Microsoft 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference Recap
I have a confession to make. I’m new to consulting. However, I have been working with Microsoft technologies for over 15 years now. From support to architecture to managing IT teams, I’ve seen Microsoft from many different angles. Now that I work for Arraya Solutions, I can experience Microsoft from a new side – as a partner.
This year, I was able to attend Microsoft WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference), which was held July 12-16 in Orlando. While the focus was mostly on Microsoft, partner, and customer relationships, there were surprisingly a few talks and announcements that Microsoft customers should know about.
How Microsoft Views Security and Privacy
If you ever have a doubt as to Microsoft’s investment in your privacy or their understanding of the security of your data in a global marketplace, look up Brad Smith. Brad is Microsoft’s Executive VP for Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) and at WPC, he delivered a fantastic 28 minute keynote centered on data security and the balance between trust and empowering everyone through technology.
It may seem odd, but Brad started by talking about the Charlie Hebdo attacks, where terrorists used Microsoft accounts. He continued on that thread by discussing how law enforcement used the same data to capture the terrorists and how the people of Paris used it to organize protests. From there, he moved into concerns from governments about data encryption.
“The internet is not some other place, cyber space, it is the place where people go to organize themselves and define what will happen in the real world.”
Microsoft realizes that it can only succeed by figuring out how to ride the security and privacy wave. It was the first company to get a thumbs up from Europe’s Data Protection laws and the first to attain ISO27018, a standard for cloud privacy. Microsoft has also sued the US government three times in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over privacy concerns. But it goes beyond profitability through security. Microsoft is genuinely invested in empowering everyone while protecting them.
“Our customers and society expect us to maximize the value of technology while also preserving the values that are timeless.”
Windows 10, Office 2016 and Phones
Bryan Roper, Executive Demo Lead at Microsoft, stole the show at WPC through his amazing demo of Windows 10 (starting here at 4:50). If you want to be entertained and learn about Windows 10, check out the video. He covers Windows 10 from the end user experience, starting by showing how Windows 10 is a familiar experience whether you are coming from Windows 7 or 8 through the desktop, task bar and, of course, the return of the Start Menu.
Bryan also covered Office 2016 briefly. In that time, he managed to show two new powerful features – real time collaboration in the Office suite and how Outlook will suggest the most recently used files when you add an attachment.
Unexpectedly, there was a demo of the Cortana Analytics Suite in a small custom application as well, which showed how Cortana can help anyone work with Big Data.
My favorite announcement at this keynote though was Terry Myerson, Executive VP of OS and Devices, reaffirming Microsoft’s commitment to Windows Phone. As I’m stuck with an iPhone 4s at the moment, I can’t wait until the new platform launches!
More Office 365
In early July, Microsoft announced the preview of three new Skype for Business Online features focused on Enterprise Voice – Skype Meeting Broadcast, PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling. The real news came during WPC though.
Microsoft announced Office 365 E5, which will encompass these new features, plus analytics like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics, and new advanced security features for eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and Safe Attachments.
This new E5 license basically throws everything Office 365 can do into one license.
Julia White, General Manager of Office, had another surprise at WPC. Besides announcing over 400 updates to Office 365 in the past year, GigJam made its debut.
GigJam is an on-the-fly mini-application for sharing content and data from into a single workspace that can also be shared.
“GigJam isn’t some fancy screen sharing. It distributes a light-weight app cross devices. Future of biz process, productivity.”
-Satya Nadella (Twitter)
Imagine being on your desktop and working on a complex data set. Your engineer is on the road with his mobile device and needs to see what you’re working on. With GigJam, you can share out your workspace with the relevant data sets. You and your remote worker can collaborate on the data sets in an application, no matter what device you are using.
The New Microsoft
Over the course of WPC, Satya Nadella and others touted “The New Microsoft” across their keynotes. Microsoft certainly has a renewed vigor since Satya became CEO as is indicated by all the announcements from Microsoft Ignite, WPC and the release of Windows 10 this week.
If you would like to hear more, Arraya’s Microsoft Practice team can run through some of the topics that were announced at WPC and help you get going! Visit www.ArrayaSolutions.com today to schedule a meeting with an Arraya Account Executive. Also, be sure to follow Arraya on Twitter, @ArrayaSolutions, for all of the latest company and industry updates.