Microsoft WPC: Day 1

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From the very outset of today’s opening keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) the notion of making computing personal resonated, with Cortana introducing the journey that Microsoft has been on over the past twelve months prior to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, even stepping foot onto the stage.

Microsoft’s vision remains unchanged; to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, however what is apparent from today’s keynote is the role in which Microsoft, and partners, are playing in empowering businesses across the world to achieve digital transformation.

Often, I find the term ‘digital transformation’ over-used, a buzz-term that lacks any sense of meaning other than ‘transform your business using our technology.’ Today, I heard Microsoft’s definition and it’s one that I like a lot; it’s not monolithic and closed business application packages that take half a decade to customise and deploy, and another for employees to begrudgingly learn how to use. When Microsoft speak of digital transformation reference systems that requires a level of intelligence tailored to the individual business and users – systems that have the ability to learn, expand and evolve as the world and business changes.

Together with their partners, Microsoft are focused on enabling businesses to experience the subsequent benefits that come from fundamentally changing business outcomes, empowering employees to make better decisions, optimising business operations and ensuring that every business process is intelligent within their digitally empowered organisations.

After hearing from many CEO’s around the world about what digital transformation means for their business, Nadella summarised suggesting “Leadership in today’s age is about driving successful change” After which, he went on to unveil three of Microsoft’s focus areas surrounding digital transformation, to ensure that together, we are able to support customers in successfully driving and implementing change within their respective businesses.

Reinvent productivity and business processes
Within the keynote, and within this blog, Nadella discussed how by removing the barriers between productivity tools and business applications, we are able to support our customers in reinventing business processes whilst taking a people-centric and platform-centric approach – meaning that IT are able to deliver what the user wants and needs in order to work productivity in context to their role, from a platform that will drive lucrative business outcomes. 

Enable computing to be more personal
There is a clear focus on making computing more personal and to an extent combining both digital and physical experiences to drive better outcomes. A great example of this was shown in relation to the cognitive services Microsoft have developed. During the demo, Nadella showed how a speech algorithm has been created to transform McDonald’s’ drive-through experience – something simple, yet very cool and a clear improvement to business processes for McDonalds.

When looking at personal computing no digital transformation outcome is going to be complete without having the right device at the edge. There was evidence again that Windows 10 is not just a device operating system for a single device, it is an operating system for use across all devices. And for the first time ever, I saw a HoloLens being demoed in a way that served a purpose within a real business environment – showing it as a mixed reality training tool for an aircraft engineer. Again, this was a great demonstration of how technology is changing, and benefitting organisations around the world who are deciding to go digital.

Build out the intelligent cloud 
Finally, the third focus for Microsoft was very much to build the intelligent cloud platform to take advantage of scalability and flexibility, combined with the power of intelligence and security. The ability to connect all your solutions whether it be Office 365, Dynamics 365, alongside Microsoft Azure and third-party technologies to provide an unparalleled cloud platform.

Reflecting back to the start, Nadella asked the question “What if we could personally stitch together and connect disparate worlds and processes… bring them together seamlessly?” In the pursuit for digital transformation, technologies are leveraged to drive change and achieve business outcomes, and different teams need to be engaged to create heightened value and tailored intelligence associated with digital transformation. This is where Microsoft partners like Cetus Solutions can help customers accelerate their time to value and drive the adoption of transformational IT solutions that piece together to create a seamless solution for users – and as a result, fulfilling Microsoft’s vision to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

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