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'The Cloud is the new normal' – Microsoft WPC 2016

14 Jul 2016 by Emma Robinson

The final day at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference is in full swing, so we wanted to take a look at a couple of the key themes, and Office 365 announcements that have emerged during the last few days in Toronto.
Satya Nadella’s opening keynote made it clear that he saw Microsoft’s partner network as an integral part of their ecosystem, responsible for propelling the successes that he has observed during the past year. As with many recent Microsoft events and announcements, the keynote conversations revolved around building an intelligent cloud, revolutionising industries with new technologies, and enabling users to work more effectively in a modern, and increasingly ‘digital world’ (a recurring theme throughout the event). There was also a keen focus on developing AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning, and the ways in which this could be leveraged for specific industries, such as Healthcare and Manufacturing.

Gavriella Schuster, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group announced in her keynote that  ‘the Cloud is the new normal’,  and that it presents a wide range of exciting, innovative opportunities for all Microsoft partners, as well as the IT industry as a whole. In Gavriella’s blog post that followed her presentation, she also highlighted that in a study from IDC research ‘greater cloud spending will exceed $500B by 2020, and nearly 80 percent of customers are deploying or fully embracing cloud technology today’ she continued to propose that ‘those numbers are only expected to grow. The cloud has passed the point of a trend in society. It is now the new norm.’ The ‘cloud-first, mobile-first’ mantra that Microsoft have been emphasising appears to be holding strong, as the majority of sessions encouraged partners to be a part of this changing IT landscape, with Brad Smith, the Chief Legal Officer, describing its potential impact as a fourth industrial revolution.
When it comes to Office 365, there were also a number of interesting announcements, including a recent implementation from a rather well-known brand.
Facebook has chosen to use Office 365, deploying the service for its workforce of 13,000 people. Tim Campos, CIO of Facebook explains that the decision demonstrated their need for both productivity and security, calling Office 365 ‘a mature and comprehensive platform, it meets our stringent security standards, it complements how we work with intelligence, flexibility, and it is continually evolving.’
When he appeared on the stage, he also summarised his choice quite succinctly, with the words “Microsoft got cool again”
Microsoft WPC Toronto 2016-07
Another Office 365 announcement was centred on Skype for Business. Microsoft introduced ‘a new set of resources to help partners unlock the opportunity around Office 365, the Skype Operations Framework (SOF)—an end-to-end planning, deployment and operations methodology for Skype for Business.’ As well as this, the team aim to continue expanding the global footprint of Skype for Business PSTN services, which is now available to customers in 92 countries.
The final announcement for Office 365 was something which we thought sounded pretty cool, and are excited to see in action when it launches in preview by the end of this year. Microsoft have been putting some time into developing Skype Meeting Broadcast and adding ‘automatic transcription and translation’. Skype Meeting Broadcast lets you produce, host and broadcast meetings to large online audiences. They explained that ‘these new services will provide live closed captioning of presentations and allow viewers to choose translation into their preferred language from a list of supported languages.’ Here at Cogmotive, we’ve spent some time exploring and documenting our experiences with Skype Meeting Broadcast – it’s cropped up in previous blogs, and we even produced a white paper on getting started with the tool, so we will be first in line to test out this new feature when it arrives.
Have you been at WPC too? Let us know what you thought of the event by commenting below.
Cogmotive is the leading global provider of enterprise level reporting and analytics applications for Office 365. Find out more now.