My Microsoft Ignite 2021 recap

To kick off this year’s Microsoft Ignite event, I poured myself a cup of coffee and settled on my couch. As I switched on my laptop, the other meeting attendee (my older dog) curled up beside me to listen in on all the new features and cool announcements from Microsoft.

If you were not able to carve out time in your schedule to attend some of the sessions, I’ve got you covered--read my key takeaways below:

Teams is evolving

Jared Spataro’s session titled, “The Hybrid Workplace” revealed some powerful and inspiring new capabilities coming to Teams. He started off this event by acknowledging the difficult realities we all currently face. Spataro said simply that we are in in the position where “life spills into work, and work pushes into life” and organizations and their workforces are not going to go back to life before the pandemic. Microsoft is releasing new features in Teams, like a webinar experience, presenter mode, and more. In addition to these features, Teams will soon make available its Connect feature, where you will soon be able to share channels between organizations, enhancing collaboration. We’re all excited for these features which will fuel the ‘work from anywhere’ world we will soon be living in.

Microsoft Edge turns one…and releases a slew of new features

The session I watched about Edge was all about celebrating the features and capabilities that customers have been raving about in the year since Edge’s release. In its first year, Edge has accomplished a huge feat—it is more secure than Google Chrome on Windows 10, for its industry leading security features and Zero Trust security approach. As far as other capabilities, Edge now has ‘your day at a glance’ available in the work dashboard. Using the data points from the Microsoft 365 Graph, your dashboard will have meetings, recent work, and frequently used sites surfaced in your browser. Another feature, Microsoft Search, allows users to search the internet and their intranet, saving employees a total time of 5 to 10 days a year and reduces the number of support tickets by 30-60%.  But the feature I am most excited about is Sleeping Tabs—Edge will release tabs that have been inactive, meaning a faster and more responsive experience. One thing is for certain—Edge is the browser built for business.

Cloud capabilities are front and center

If you’re able to, go to your Ignite registration page and simply type in the word ‘cloud’—around 100 sessions will pop up. Needless to say, Cloud capabilities featured prominently during this year’s Ignite event. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, captured the importance of cloud capabilities succinctly in his keynote speech. He said, “…as the world recovers, it will require more from technology and the cloud in particular, to help address our most pressing challenges and ensure that nobody is left behind.” ‘The next generation of innovation in the cloud’ will be driven by Nadella’s five key motions: ubiquitous and decentralized computing, sovereign data and ambient intelligence, empowered creators and communicators, expanded economic opportunity, and trust by design. Given the way the Cloud has powered digital transformation in 2020, I know I am not alone in anxiously awaiting the Cloud revolution that is to come.

At the end of Ignite 2021, I can honestly say I am inspired and encouraged by the things Microsoft has for next year. I feel confident, as should my coworkers, our clients, and customers, that together with Microsoft, we will be will innovative and successful in this year and the years to come.

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