Skip to main content

Microsoft Ignite Part 2: What it means for you

Following last week’s blog on the back of Microsoft’s annual tech conference, we’re taking a deeper look at how these updates can work for you and your business.

Laptop and accessories
Abbie Hanson Headshot

Abbie Hanson

Microsoft Licensing Specialist

Now before we dive into this article, we’re going on the assumption you’ve already read part 1, Softcat goes Loop-y for hybrid working updates at Microsoft Ignite READ HERE where we discuss the features. In this article, the focus is on what it means to you.

For small businesses

Customers with under 300 users can benefit from a cost saving with an M365 Business plan in order to able to hit the group running but previously have not had any way of benefitting from a similar cost saving across the Defender stack.

The introduction of Microsoft Defender for Business is going to be monumental in ensuring smaller businesses now have the relevant security features in place to ensure they can prevent attacks to the best of their ability.

During the Ignite event, Microsoft stated that one third of all cyber-attacks target small businesses, and that after these attacks, 61% of those small businesses can no longer operate due to the budgeting restraints and lack of professional resources to assist post-attacks. With this in mind, Microsoft Defender for Business is going to be a life-saver, or should we say business-saver..

For retail companies and production lines

Dynamics 365 harnesses powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technologies, and Ignite highlighted some amazing new features that are going to allow customers to utilize these in new ways.

Firstly we were told about the new app, Dynamics Connected spaces, and how this is going to allow industries such as retail really be able to analyse their workspaces through their existing camera systems by looking at statistics such as key footfall areas within areas, and best positioning of high value displays as well as run simulations off the back of this.

This technology does not stop here. Dynamics Connected Spaces has the capabilities to assist with production lines to ensure tools remain in the correct spaces in the interest of efficiency and can even assist with making sure employees in more dangerous environments are positioned in safe areas. As you can see, this technology is hugely flexible across a range of industries to be able to pull data from and monitor your physical spaces.

And how can we not discuss the fact that Dynamics 365 modules are now going to be integrated with Microsoft Teams? This is going to be a huge positive for the adoption of Dynamics as you will now be able to streamline your CRM and ERP functionalities previously accessed online to the same app you used for the majority of communication. This really is going to make the end-to-end experience of Dynamics 365 smooth, slick and more than ever allow for users to seamlessly share information as opposed to having 2 different spaces for different types of communication. The Dynamics apps are going nowhere though so do not worry, and alternatively if you love your apps online, you can choose to use the Teams functionality from here instead.

For creatives: Like standing at a whiteboard together, virtually

In our first article, we said we were feeling a bit loop-y for Loop. Now you might be thinking this will be a burden, yet another app to add to the Office 365 stack, but actually we think this is going to make a lot of change.

Let’s admit it – there’s something that is missed when we work remotely, brainstorming sessions just aren’t the same. Now this is where Loop comes in. We could compare this to standing at a whiteboard and brainstorming together, but instead giving this real-time collaboration element to a digitally dimension showing that hybrid working is no feat for efficient and seamless interaction.

Users can feedback options and ideas off the back of other users additions to make sure that everyone is happy that content is relevant. Loop has really shown that despite a huge change in the way we see ourselves working as we move away from physical and towards digital workspaces, this doesn’t have to hinder collaboration and Microsoft have shown just how we can use this to our advantage.

For everyone: Speeding up your emails, and you’ll never forget an attachment again

We’ve all done it. Sent an email and only gone and forgot the attachment. Context IQ can help, and will instantly recommend the attachment for you.

In an individual user scenario, Context IQ is going to be your new best friend. Fuelled by AI this clever tool is going to bring the relevant information to you without the need to go looking. For example you start writing an email to send a quote to a customer. With the power of AI, recommended attachments are going to pop up for you to click to attach instead of trawling through saved files and will learn who you would be sharing this information with to suggest recipients. What about when trying to find the relevant expertise across the business? Again AI is going to be there to suggest the best contact to help, suggesting to ‘@’ them in the body of your email. As you can see, Context IQ is not only going to be a huge timesaver, but is going to help gain the most applicable and relevant assistance efficiently and easily.

For the burnt out, who don’t want to show their face on camera

It’s not a secret that a large proportion of how we receive information is not entirely through the words being spoken, but through elements such as body language and facial expressions as well.

Despite Mesh initially seeming like a crazy idea (how many grown adults want to present themselves in a professional environment as an avatar), once you start thinking about this in terms of accessibility and employee wellness, it doesn’t seem so strange. For those who are juggling a working week with a family in isolation, or those who are feeling anxious or burnt out and every so often just really do not want to be on camera, they can now match the engagement of others with their camera on and still have their expressions and movements captured. As Microsoft said, there will be more digital transformation in the next 10 years than we have seen in the last 40, so maybe this is the beginning of a potential new norm?

It will be interesting to see in the comings months how Microsoft plan to charge customers to onboard this industry leading technology and bring their businesses to the Metaverse.

So as you can see, Ignite 2021 has provided us with a huge amount of exciting features and new technologies that we can’t wait to help customer’s utilize. Whether you are looking to improve collaboration amongst your employees or are a smaller business looking for the next big step in securing your environment, you can see that Microsoft can provide you with the latest and greatest technologies to cater for your needs.