Microsoft’s most anticipated partner event of the year, Inspire, was historic having been the first event in its 18-year history to be held online.
Although fully virtual, Microsoft Inspire 2020 did not fail to surprise us with a fascinating picture of the possibilities ahead. A lot of the event’s revelations seemed to underscore the current situation and therefore revolved around the urgency of Remote Work, Business Continuity, Security, and Cloud Migration.
At Dogma Group, the anticipation for this year’s Inspire was as great as ever. Our teams stepped up to engage in this immersive experience at their comfort – some at the office, some from their homes, and some even with their ‘sushis’ and ‘gimbaps’.
We’ve put together a collage of what caught our attention at Microsoft Inspire 2020. Let us get you started with the key takeaways.
1. Crucial announcements in security, compliance, and risk management
“52% of compliance decision-makers say that data leakage is their top challenge for remote work.”
With the shift to remote work, organisations have moved from spreadsheets and filing cabinets to online data access, sharing, and video conferencing. This, on the other hand, has caused an upsurge in demand for solutions focused on security, compliance, and reliability.
A bunch of security and compliance enhancements were announced at ‘Microsoft Inspire 2020’ – built-in security and compliance, deep use of cloud-powered AI and automation, and an integrated solution to name a few. As these changes apply across the Microsoft ecosystem, these will help streamline and strengthen your organisational security.
Microsoft is eyeing huge investments in security to support the partner ecosystem and customers, with a focus on ‘Zero Trust’, threat protection, and information protection.
Another important bit was the public preview of Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), which is a step further in Microsoft’s journey of strengthening its data loss prevention. Endpoint Data Loss Prevention is a part of Microsoft Information Protection scheme and collectively contributes to preventing the exposure of data outside of an organisation.
2. Good news for developers – app integration capabilities extended in Microsoft Teams
Developers can now integrate their apps within the scope of a Teams meeting to make their meetings more interactive and collaborative.
This is a welcome improvement, as such integrations used to be limited to the confines of ‘chats’ and ‘channels’ in Teams. It doesn’t end there – the participants can continue to collaborate on the project in the same thread at any time.
The “notification bubble” within the meeting interface is also a handy new feature. This allows the app to show personalised content to users based on their roles in the project during the Teams meeting.
3. Next-gen ‘Azure Stack HCI’: flexible pricing, simplified deployments, and enhanced hybrid working
Hybrid work models are increasingly in use as customers want the speed and security of the cloud and the compliance and simplicity of on-premise systems. The next generation of Azure Stack HCI solution has enhanced security, performance, and reliability to support such hybrid workloads.
Microsoft is providing customers with the flexibility of running smaller ‘office-sized’ to big ‘data-centre’ scaled deployments. This means that you pay based on your ‘per core subscription model’ and can optimise your cost based on your needs.
Additionally, a new feature called ‘Stretch Cluster’ provides disaster recovery capabilities, so you can extend a cluster from a single site to multiple sites without losing your data.
The latest benchmarks for Azure Stack HCI have shown great promise even in high server workloads, so customers can expect to get excellent performance at a cheaper price.
4. Enable resilient organisations and deliver critical digital infrastructure with Dynamics 365
There were several interesting changes across the Dynamics 365 platform, mostly aimed at supporting organisations through the time of crisis and preparing for resilience. Three major instances of improvements and innovation were in Customer Voice, Connected Store, and Fraud Protection.
A. Dynamics 365 Customer Voice:
Microsoft unveiled that Dynamics 365 Customer Voice will replace Microsoft Forms Pro. Customer Voice is a feedback management tool that allows you to create feedback surveys and automate them at the right time to get the best responses. It easily integrates into everyday applications such as Microsoft 365 and Power Apps, so your feedback is connected across all applications.
With ready-to-use survey templates, you can quickly collect feedback and customise your question even with little technical knowledge. It provides real-time feedback visualisations, so you always have accurate insight into your customer needs.
B. Dynamics 365 Connected Store:
For retailers, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Store has exciting new prospects.
Shopper analytics is a new feature which provides trends and patterns in sales, customers, and store activities. Similarly, store owners can use the new queue management feature to measure customer waiting time and reduce long queues for a faster service.
Two new announcements were made to help retailers accelerate their retail operations, whilst taking optimal social distancing measures. Curbside queue is a feature that allows you to provide customers with a seamless pickup of their goods. Using computer vision, it identifies an approaching vehicle and matches it with the service order to accelerate the customer’s pickup process.
Store traffic uses ‘footfall’ data to observe the volume of customer entries inside the store and alerts store owners to stay within their capacities when serving customers. It gives store owners the control over their store traffic and helps them increase customer safety by putting necessary regulations in place.
C. Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection:
Online retail and eCommerce businesses are an increased risk of frauds and scams. At Inspire, Microsoft announced two new capabilities for Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection to address such risks.
First was the ‘Account protection’ feature that protects you and your customers from fake account creations, counteracts fraudulent account access, and safeguards your account from abuse and fraud.
The other was the ‘Loss Prevention’ capability that helps protect your revenue by detecting potential fraud on returns and discounts occurring from omnichannel purchases, empowering your store managers to promptly take action to mitigate losses.
5. New Power Platform solution to facilitate your return to the workplace
While reopening a business during difficult times does not have a definitive rulebook, this new Power Platform solution will certainly help organisations get started.
This new solution is uniquely built to support businesses reopen safely and operate responsibly. It offers built-in location readiness, so you know which of your locations are safe and ready to reopen. Moreover, employees can check-in remotely, get self-service health care and take necessary safety measures through the solution’s ‘workplace care management’ feature to ensure their return to the workplace is less daunting.
The solution is powered by Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Automate – so it has all the goodness!
6. Move to the cloud with confidence with Azure Migrate enhancements
With changing times, the need for businesses to optimise costs and scale their workforce remains a top priority. Microsoft is continuously looking at ways in which organisations can leverage new Azure infrastructures to migrate their operations to the cloud.
The new advancements in Azure VMware Solution make it much easier, faster, and more reliable to run VMware natively on Azure.
Other notable announcements include seamless integration between VMware applications and Azure, the ability to migrate on-premises clustered applications to Azure Disk Storage, and the lightweight Azure Migrate appliance that tells you how many servers (virtual and physical) are running on a customer’s on-premises system.
7. Dataflex allows app and chatbot integration in Teams; Common Data Service (CDS) becomes Dataflex Pro
Microsoft introduced Dataflex to bridge the gap in solution integration between Teams and Power Platform. Dataflex is an exciting new prospect that will allow developers to build, share, and deploy apps and chatbots directly within the Teams interface. Remote collaboration just got to a whole new level!
Dataflex offers all this while keeping the simplicity of ‘drag and drop’ at the fore. Combined with Teams and Power Platform, it seems to have ramped up the efficiency of building low-code, customisable apps even more. Common Data Service (CDS) however, has been rebranded to Microsoft Dataflex Pro, as announced at Microsoft Inspire 2020.
We’re thrilled about the possibilities ahead as we continue to help you harness the power of cutting-edge technology for success. At Dogma Group (Parent Company of SeeLogic) we seek to be our clients’ most trusted advisors. We have our fingers on the pulse and are excited to bring you the latest information on Microsoft solutions, so you do not miss out on anything.
If you have any questions about the new developments from Microsoft Inspire 2020, contact us for a no-obligation consultation at email@example.com or on 01296 328689.
Author: Barsha Shrestha, Senior Marketing Executive at SeeLogic Ltd.