3 things I learned from Microsoft’s Inspire 2021 Conference

I can’t believe it has been a whole year already!

A lot has happened since writing my recap of last year’s Inspire Conference (you can check it out here). In the last 365 days, Teams rooms have been created, Internet Explorer’s end of life was announced, and we here at Vitalyst released our own app! I was, and I am sure we all were, eager to hear what Microsoft has in store for the next year.

Here are my three key takeaways:

1. Unlocking hybrid work starts with Teams

In his keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella remarked that the shift to hybrid work represents the “biggest change to the way we work since the adoption of the 9 to 5 workday over a century ago.” Nadella continued, stating hybrid work will demand “a new operating system” and a need to redefine productivity to include “collaboration, learning, and well-being”. According to the CEO, adapting and thriving in the era of hybrid work begins by using Microsoft Teams. With over 145 million daily active users (almost double the number of last year’s users) Teams is the only solution where people can collaborate, call, chat, and automate business processes—right in their normal flow of work. Teams has positioned itself, thanks to over 300 new features, Teams rooms, the HoloLense, and Viva, to be the central location for employees and enterprises to stay connected, keep learning, and remain engaged no matter where they are. Said more simply by Nadella, “Teams is the future of work”.

2. Powerful integrations between Dynamics and Teams

 In the same speech, Satya described the “new features” that have made Teams and Dynamics “increasingly integrated”. These platforms' capabilities now allow people to chat and collaborate in Dynamics and search for records and data in Teams. As a bonus, Nadella said enterprises using Teams can access Dynamics 365 data, “at no extra cost”. Microsoft’s goal is to empower employees, organizations, and external collaborators to “share content and information, and to create a new opportunity for all of you”. These integrations will be powerful, as the world moves to hybrid work and to the Cloud.

3. Partner award winners revealed

In a blog released right before Inspire, Microsoft announced its 2021 MSUS Partner Award winners. Vitalyst is honored and pleased to have been selected as the winner of not one, but two MSUS partner awards! Vitalyst won both the Modern Work and Security Award for Employee Experience, as well as the Modern Work and Security Award for Apps and Solutions for Microsoft Teams. These awards celebrate our company’s hard work, both in releasing our Adaptive Learning Learn Now App and our continuous commitment to customer success. I’ve detailed more about these awards in our press release, here! But I think our Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Keith Carvalho, sums up how we as an organization feel about this recognition. He said,

“We recognize modern, hybrid work requires our customers to think differently about the way people learn. The future of work calls for agile learning solutions— like the Adaptive Learning Platform, Learn Now App — that enable employees to learn however and wherever is best for them.  With the skyrocketing adoption of Microsoft Teams, it is critical those solutions deliver the knowledge employees need, right in their normal flow of work in Microsoft Teams.  I am grateful to Microsoft and our customers for their continued trust in Vitalyst to pioneer creative solutions that drive new learning experiences for their employees”.

2021 has been a year of hardships, but also of resilience and recovery. This year's Inspire Conference showed me that through the inventive solutions created by Microsoft and its partners, we will all be able to navigate and make a better working world.

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