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Microsoft Ignite Recap

Building Digital Resilience in an Age of Uncertainty

One of the themes to emerge from the recent Microsoft Ignite all-digital conference is the continued strengthening of Microsoft’s position as a pre-eminent leader in digital innovation and its ability to continually raise the bar with technologies and capabilities designed to meet today’s rapidly evolving user needs. Indeed, the world of IT is accelerating faster and the ideas and creations from Microsoft continue to meet those changes.

As Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella emphasized during his keynote session, “tech intensity” will play a key role in enhancing business resilience as well as transforming organizations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The stakes could not be higher,” said Nadella. “Tech intensity will determine not only what organizations can weather the current crisis, but also determine that they are prepared to navigate future tail events.”

To succeed in the digital age ― and indeed in the era of COVID-19 ― organizations must accelerate innovation, which requires an environment that celebrates originality and encourages risk-taking. At Kin + Carta, we believe organizations that foster that creativity, set aggressive goals and aren’t afraid of failure are better prepared to thrive in the midst of market chaos and uncertainty.

During the virtual conference, Microsoft announced key updates that will allow for organizations to better pivot & adapt to these new digital changes ― easier and quicker. Our team at Kin + Carta attended the virtual conference to discover, connect, and most importantly, learn. We are excited to share our key takeaways and personal perspectives from a few of our leaders at Kin + Carta.

Joe Nedumgottil

Meet Joe Nedumgottil, Technical Director at Kin + Carta

Joe has over 18 years of experience in enterprise technology consulting across a gamut of industries including B2C, finance, and energy. He has experience working with companies in sizes ranging from Fortune 500 companies to early-stage and late-stage startups.

Joe's Key Takeaways

Enhancements to Microsoft Teams: What That Means for You

Remote video conferencing is evolving at a lightning pace in 2020. Microsoft is helping to ensure that companies are keeping up and adapting to today’s “new normal” mode of working. Most notably are the new features added to Microsoft Teams. These new features include custom layouts that will be available for all presenters, the “Together” mode feature that will make the content more engaging, and additional security and compliance features that will reduce risk and improve data protection. I would encourage IT teams to continue experimenting with all of the new features as Microsoft continues to enhance and improve existing capabilities. 

Microsoft Healthcare Cloud: First Industry-Specific Cloud

There is no doubt that the healthcare industry is experiencing a fast-tracked transformation. It comes as no surprise that Microsoft announced that it will develop its first industry-specific cloud. I'm a big fan of the cloud-based industry solutions, so I’m excited to see this product go to market. Our clients have appreciated the strong, out-of-the-box regulatory compliance Microsoft provides and I am looking forward to seeing how this all-inclusive, healthcare-specific cloud will allow our clients to deliver better experiences, better metrics and improve care to people around the world.

Serverless Cosmos DB: A Great Solution for Azure Customers

While improved analytical capabilities is integral to Microsoft’s digital strategy, so is ramping up the functionality of the Azure platform. Azure Cosmos DB serverless is a great addition to the continued evolution from databases to data services. Enterprise developers are becoming much more comfortable with NoSQL solutions and Cosmos DB provides a great solution for Azure customers that now provides easier on-ramp for small projects.

AKS on Azure Stack HCI: Easily Deploy Your Modern Applications ― Anywhere

Getting a hybrid AKS running on-prem, but managed through Azure, is another great addition. Many customers still have workloads they want to modernize but not move to the cloud. A single control plane and management experience provides a ton of value for the DevOps teams that need to run these apps.



Mark Robertson

Meet Mark Robertson, Senior Partner Development Manager at Kin + Carta

Mark has been at Kin + Carta since late 2019 and leads the Global Microsoft Partnership. In his spare time, he enjoys playing Microsoft Flight Simulator with his kids.

Mark's Key Takeaways

Microsoft Flight Simulator Is Back!

I first played Microsoft flight simulator (v3) back in 1988 on my friend's Amiga and I couldn't get over how realistic it felt. Fast forward to 2020 and Microsoft has launched the latest installment. It prompted me to watch the evolution of the game on YouTube, which is, in effect, a showcase for the evolution of the microchip itself — Moore's law in action. It is easy to forget that amongst so many other amazing products, Microsoft also makes the greatest games and consoles.

Azure Is Now Everywhere, Including Space and Deep Sea

Microsoft has more data center regions than any other provider — now 61 globally — and is venturing into uncharted waters (literally). In a bid to find even more reliable and energy-efficient ways of hosting data, the 'Project Natick' team has successfully tested a subsea data center off the coast of Scotland, featuring 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage, 117-feet deep. Microsoft also announced the launch of their Ground Station-as-a-service Azure Orbital. In my opinion, if Microsoft wasn’t already the world's leading cloud platform provider, they are now.

It Is the Age of the 'Citizen Developer'

It is amazing to see the growth of the Power Platform. There are over 500,000 organizations using it every month and 97% of those companies are Fortune 500. I particularly love the stories of 'Citizen Developers' and the case study with Toyota where developers created a game-changing mobile application for their field engineers in just a week.

Aidan Dodd

Meet Aidan Dodd, Partner Development Manager at
Kin + Carta

Aidan manages the Microsoft UK relationship and has been with the firm since late 2014. In his spare time, Aidan enjoys eating Italian food and playing (learning) golf.

Aidan's Key Takeaways

Power BI: The True Leader

Microsoft’s Power BI tool is clearly a market leader. It was announced that the tool had a triple-digit paid usage growth for the fifth year in a row and that there are now over 150,000 organizations across the globe using Power BI. The tool also leads on economics with customers saving anywhere from 25% - 75% on business intelligence costs, when moving to Power BI. All in all, Power BI is clearly the industry champion and the adoption of the tool will continue to grow for years to come.

“The Powerpoint of Data”

Microsoft is on a mission to make Power BI the “Powerpoint of Data.” The designers at Microsoft have made the tool easy and simple to use with visual improvements that include a drag and drop functionality. They’ve also added new AI visuals such as “Smart Narratives” which give users the ability to turn visual diagrams into written reports at a click of a button, as well as “Anomaly Detection” (coming soon), which discovers anomalies in data originations and automatically runs an analysis to understand possible explanations with results presented back in an easily digestible format. These new features within Power BI are all a part of “building the data culture” that Microsoft sees as the gateway to success.

Customer Experience Management (CXM)

Microsoft partner, IBM Global Business Services, believes having a CRM solution with a documented CRM strategy is a clear differentiator between best-in-class Microsoft Dynamics customers and the rest. While this isn’t old news, it's still amazing that organizations haven’t realized this yet. Let’s be honest, CRM execution is aimless without a clear solution and strategy. IBM believes that CRM tops customer strategy for many companies and is driven by the need to achieve more emotional interactions with consumers. Customer experience needs to be more memorable and brands need to be more customer-centric. Interestingly, IBM states that organizations don’t decide how customer-centric they are — their customers do. To be honest, I tend to agree. Growing customer relationships via experience management has to be front and center for all brands and can’t be done with technology alone.

Sudeep Moothedath

Meet Sudeep Moothedath, Technical Principal at
Kin + Carta

Sudeep has been with Kin + Carta since 2017 and specializes in various cloud technologies. He is skilled in Java, Spring Boot, Azure, Cloud Foundry and Redis. In his spare time, Sudeep loves to cook and bake.

Sudeep's Key Takeaways

Public Preview of Steeltoe .NET support in Azure Spring Cloud

It’s not uncommon for applications to have a mix of Java and .NET services running together to support an array of operations in an application. Now with Steeltoe.NET Applications in Azure Spring Cloud, programming .NET tasks takes on a more streamlined approach. Azure Spring Cloud is a fully managed service for Spring Boot. With the launch of the public preview of Steeltoe .NET application support in Azure Spring Cloud, Microsoft provides enterprises with a solution that allows them to utilize Spring Boot and Steeltoe to run both Java and .NET applications in the same ecosystem.

Inga Finneke

Meet Inga Finneke, Partner Marketing Manager at
Kin + Carta

Inga is the Partner Marketing Manager, dedicated to supporting the Partnerships Team at Kin + Carta. She is focused on strategic business development efforts and is motivated by joint transformational marketing initiatives developed with partners. She enjoys reading mystery novels, going for a run, cooking new and creative meals, and spending time with family and friends.

Inga's Key Takeaways

Deliver Insights Where Decisions are Made with Power BI

As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella mentioned during his keynote presentation, “We’ve seen two years of digital transformation in two months.” This has impacted clients globally; and as realities continue to shift for organizations, running a data-driven business is crucial — now more than ever. To support this new reality, Microsoft announced new features of Power BI that will provide users with AI capabilities, enhanced reporting and improved Teams integration. This in turn will encourage collaboration, allow easier access to insights and drive deeper Excel integration. Ultimately, this will give users the power to work with consistent and governed data ― more efficiently and securely.

Better Connected with the New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft announced several new capabilities in Teams that will allow users to better stay connected, build solutions, communicate, and collaborate. Microsoft assured users that the new features within Teams will allow organizations to work remotely more seamlessly and communicate more effortlessly. A few of the features especially stood out to me:

  • The Together mode feature that will help you feel “together” with your colleagues — even though you are physically apart.
  • Custom layouts that will allow for more impactful and dynamic presentations — very exciting for a marketer.
  • Breakout rooms that will allow meeting participants to split up into smaller groups — great for virtual events & webinars.
  • Webinar registration and reporting, which will allow meeting organizers to set up event registration, send automated emails and receive detailed reporting directly through Teams.
  • And lastly, a feature that I personally think is pretty awesome, is the meeting recap capability. This new capability will provide meeting participants with the recording, transcript, chat, and shared files directly following a meeting.


Looking Forward

In times of crisis, one’s natural inclination is to play it safe until the storm passes. Businesses, however, don’t have that luxury. With the extraordinary market challenges created by COVID-19, adapting is crucial. Whatever your landmark or end goal looks like in your digital transformation journey, it starts with taking action.

If you are interested in seeing how Kin + Carta can help you during your digital transformation journey with Microsoft, please reach out to Mark Robertson, Senior Partner Development Manager, dedicated to Kin + Carta’s Microsoft partnership.

If you would like to virtually attend any of the sessions from Microsoft Ignite, you can find all sessions on-demand here.

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