During the week of July 13th, Microsoft held their annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando, Florida. With several thousand partner companies attending from around the world, Microsoft uses this conference to debut new platforms and technologies that are used to create solutions. This year, there were 5 key announcements that are relevant to how organizations can use Microsoft technologies to advance their business.
The Cortana Analytics Suite helps enterprises transform their data into intelligent actions by combining the capabilities provided by big data, machine learning and cloud-based analytics. Microsoft made it clear that the marriage of mobile and cloud with advanced analytics and predictive intelligence is the future of enterprise solutions and products. The suite will be available in the Fall through a monthly subscription and depending on your business needs, offers a wide range of preconfigured solutions including: Perceptual Intelligence, which helps recognize human interactions and intent through facial, visual and text analytics, Dashboards and visualizations that help you organize and consume data with ease and Machine Learning & Analytics that handles complex event processing.
The recently announced Azure Internet of Things (IoT) Suite has been rolled into the new Cortana Analytics Suite. These platform capabilities were demonstrated by North American Eagle and how they are using Azure and IoT to collect data on their jet rocket car, and plan to break the world land speed record early next year. Microsoft stressed IoT as a key business opportunity for organizations moving forward across many traditional industries, from manufacturing to retail.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, stated: “We work to deal with exceptions”. By this simple statement, he made the point that knowledge workers mainly spend their time working through the exceptions, and not on the business cases that can be automated. In a given day, we work with different people across various departments accessing data from different, disparate applications to accomplish sometimes simple tasks. Workers today spend a good portion of their time gathering data and people, and spend less time on the real decisions that need to get made. Businesses need new ways to get employees to collaborate together in a dynamic manner. Microsoft announced they had launched a new project to research this type of dynamic work, and the first peek at a potential solution was shown in the form of a new technology called GigJam. During a demo of GigJam, integration between Cortana, Surface Hub, Skype, and an iPhone application showed how GigJam tied together these platforms – and data from custom line of business applications – can be tied together rapidly to create a “mini-application” on the fly that allowed for dynamic collaboration between workers in different places and with different devices. This vision may take some time to be realized by businesses, but it’s very likely to change how we work in the coming years.
“We work to deal with exceptions”.
Microsoft continued to sell the vision of the Surface tablet/laptop, and announced a hugely expanded distribution channel, from a few dozen resellers to several thousand in the coming months. This push into different distribution channels represents their significant investment in the hardware market. The Surface has been a very well-reviewed computing platform, and will no doubt be a key piece of Windows 10 adoption.
Windows 10 is one of the most anticipated Windows releases, and represents a sea change coming for how Windows is licensed and sold. There are two key features that are extremely interesting to enterprises: enhanced security and Cortana support. Enterprises can take advantage of security features such as easy to use multi-factor authentication, highly-manageable disk encryption, an updated trusted application model, and integrated hardware security, which are far beyond what is available on any other desktop computing platform. With data breaches and cyber-security at the forefront of every CIO’s mind, these features will plug some of the gaps that exist on desktops and laptops today. Cortana support on the desktop is interesting to enterprises because of the possibilities it opens up to interact with line of business systems, especially when tied to analytical tools such as Power BI and the rest of the Cortana Analytics Suite. Enterprises can hook analytics and line of business data into Cortana to enable business workers to use natural language queries to rapidly find the data they are looking for. Instead of launching an application, navigating through menus, and drilling down to find the data they need, workers can verbally ask “Cortana…show me sales by customer for the last quarter” or “Cortana…bring up the latest information in the Penske file”. The integration of this industry-leading technology represents opportunities for companies to transform how they find information to make decisions.
These announcements and demonstrations reinforce that Microsoft is serious about changing how we do work, and furthers their strategy of “mobile-first, cloud-first”. At AgileThought, we understand the challenges that organizations face in rapidly creating value for their customers through technology. We are excited about the introduction of the recently announced technologies and more importantly, how we can leverage them to help our clients reach their business goals.
AgileThought in a certified Microsoft Partner and has achieved status in Application Development, Application Lifecycle Management and Cloud. We provide technology solution to some of the nation’s top companies. We’d love to chat. Contact us by filling out the below form.
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