(Stephen Parker, Senior Industry Evangelist, 1visionOT)
Update: The official “WPC 2016 Day Two Highlights” video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y2gqd5gakg
Having livestreamed and tweeted until the early hours in wonderful but currently very windy Sydney, it’s now time for the keynote summary… (if you want to watch the keynotes yourself then they are available here (https://partner.microsoft.com/en-US/wpc/wpc-2016-vision-keynotes)
3 Ambitions, 3 VP’s
On Day 1 Satya Nadella described the 3 core ambitions that Microsoft will pivot the business around in FY17. Today it was the turn of three VPs to flesh out the story for each of these:
- Build the intelligent cloud platform – Scott Guthrie (@scottgu), Executive VP Cloud + Enterprise Group (but not red shirt!!)
- Reinvent productivity & business processes – Kirk Koenigsbauer (@kjkoenigsbauer), Corporate VP, Office Marketing
- Create more personal computing – Yusuf Mehdi (@yusuf_i_mehdi), Corporate VP, Windows & Devices
Build the Intelligent Cloud
Scott as usual pleased the crowd with lots of great info on the scale and industry leading capability of Azure. He claimed that the 34 Azure regions are more than AWS and Google combined, talked up the increasingly “open” nature of services available on Azure and highlighted Azure’s leadership position in multiple Gartner Magic Quadrants (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/campaigns/magic-quadrant/).
Azure Stack (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-stack/) got another call out, although there was not too much detail. A short discussion about the common APIs and services and how this would help deliver the vision of the Hybrid Cloud. However, for the service provider community this is a “must find out more” area.
The AppSource (https://appsource.microsoft.com/) demo was pretty impressive and if Microsoft get this right then there is a great partner opportunity here (both commercialising IP and consuming others experience). However, no mention as to which countries this will be available in and when. If history repeats itself then expect to wait for a while until it gets out of North America.
I don’t know much about Xamarin (https://www.xamarin.com/microsoft), other than it helps people build mobile apps across multiple platforms and Microsoft recently bought them (http://fortune.com/2016/02/24/microsoft-buys-xamarin/). Nevertheless this looks pretty impressive and given that it is now part of the IUR for Action Pack and Competency Partner this would definitely be worth a look for any dev shop (https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/ptsblog/2016/05/02/top-mpn-programmembership-questions-from-april-2016/ last question)
Scott referenced a great set of resources covering key Solution Areas that are enabled with Azure (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/)
Scott closed out his presentation with a review of management tools. EMS now called Enterprise Mobility + Security (https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/server-cloud/enterprise-mobility/Overview.aspx) kicked things off (apparently 40% of installed Office 365 base have access to EMS). He invited Julie White to show a couple of new tools within EMS.
Azure Information Protection (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/azure-information-protection) was also pretty impressive in the way that rights management and control of Microsoft Office documents was simplified and automated so that users might actually use it (all be it in the controlled world of demos).
Cloud App Security (https://www.microsoft.com/en/server-cloud/products/cloud-app-security/) can identify the SaaS apps that are running within your business and allow you to drill down into detailed information on each of these (apparently they have information on 13,000 SaaS applications).
Next up was Operation Management + Security/OMS (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/operations-management-suite) allowing management across multiple environments (including non Microsoft such as vmware).
The big news here was that EMS and OMS are available to partners through the CSP licensing program.
Reinvent productivity & business processes
The real starring role in this section went to Facebook.
Tim Campos (@tcampos) the Facebook CIO explained that they had decided to go with Office 365 and then gave a glowing endorsement of Microsoft.
We need partnerships with industry leaders and we are glad that Microsoft has got its mojo back
He was excited about Office 365s capability around intelligence and analytics. He explained that Facebook employees spend 4 hours per day in collaboration systems with an unprecedented access to information. He discussed how tools such as Delve, Clutter and Microsoft Graph would help employees “sift through the noise”. The bottom line through is that this is huge endorsement of Office 365.
A couple of links to further information:
- Microsoft’s Office blog: https://blogs.office.com/2016/07/12/why-facebook-is-betting-on-office-365-and-the-microsoft-cloud/
- And a comment from ARN: (http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/603299/surprise-facebook-using-office-365-now/)
Back to the beginning and Kirk started off with the Digital Transformation theme and how this was driving the thinking about how the Office family needed to evolve. He highlighted number of key trends:
- Collaboration – Employees work on nearly 2x the number teams compared to 5 years ago
- Remote working – increased 4x since 1995 from 9 to 37%
- Rise of the Millennials – by 2020 millennials will be 50% of the US workforce
- Information Overload – 90% of worlds data was generated in last 2 years
- Information sharing – 87% of senior exec uploading content to personal storage account
This rolls up into 4 core elements:
There were some good demos across the Office 365 capability including Delve Personal Analytics (https://products.office.com/en-us/business/explore-office-delve) which was both impressive and little bit Orwellian scary.
I was also found it interesting that in all the demos where a mobile phone was needed an iPhone was used – no sign of a Lumia anywhere.
Sharepoint is still a big focus for Microsoft and with lots of new capability and the stat that the Sharepoint ecosystem generates USD10Bn/year in sharepoint services.
The demo of all the capabilities of the Office suite from Sharepoint to Skype was very slick and you can watch it at the 19:10 min mark in this video https://player.vimeo.com/video/174410386
Kirk made a big call out to the CSP program and the support of partners using this program to drive growth of Office 365.
Create more personal computing
And to finish off the final of the 3 VPs Yusuf arrives on stage. He discussed the 3 challenges that are driving the thinking around creating more personal computing:
- Security threats
- Easier interaction – touch, voice, pen
- Mixed reality – move away from 2D
Each of these areas was covered off and showed how Microsoft are addressing each of the issues and all pretty impressive.
However, there was 1 BIG item that is all I am going to cover:
Windows 10 is available through the CSP program as a subscription service and called Windwos 10 Enterprise E3 at USD7/seat/month
What this means is that service providers will be able to wrap up a full end to end solution suite and buy it under a single subscription program (CSP) – Azure + Office 365 + Dynamics 365 + Windows 10 E3.
The thing that I expected to see but didn’t was the showcasing of Windows based hardware from Microsoft and the OEMs. Given how important a part of the Microsoft world this is I am assuming it will happen in the Day 3 keynote. (but I’m not expecting much about Windows phone which is rather sad).