Do more, with less – Alex Pearce
The last few years have been a period of large change, with disruptions to our society, global economy, technology and the way we work. As organizations adapt to new challenges, they are turning to their technology providers to help them succeed.
With this in mind, Microsoft Ignites focus point was to enable customers to "Do more, with less". From this perspective, this means doing more with the time, money and resources that we have.
Softcat were delighted to be one of eight sponsors at the Microsoft Ignite Showcase hosted at the O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, UK. Whilst Microsoft hosted their main Ignite Conference in Seattle with over 2500 people, the UK, Japan, China and Latin America all had satellite events with some content streamed whilst other content given in person by top quality presenters.
How can tapping into data help organisations do more with less?
Satya Nadella's opening keynote went into depth around Microsoft's Intelligent Data Platform, which unifies databases, analytics and governance, and has a Partner Ecosystem which is a selection of integrated partner solutions to help customers accelerate their data integrations.
This loops back to those customers looking to do more with less, as the Partner Ecosystem meets customers with select cloud-based partner solutions that complement native Azure capabilities with better together solutions, all within the integrated Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform.
Microsoft’s showcasing of the new updates to their branch of AI services, labelled “Cognitive Services” , as well as the updates to the wider Power Platform were really exciting. On the AI side, there is now a split between Cognitive Services and Applied AI services. The latter being a SaaS-like way to consume the function of the traditional AI within the Cognitive Services, without necessarily having to build a model from the ground up or build an application around the API set.
These Applied AI Services consist of: Azure Form Recogniser, Azure Cognitive Search and Azure Metrics Advisor, amongst a few others. What excites me about these three in particular is how they can empower organisations to automate mundane, time consuming yet absolutely necessary tasks, while also being able to generate additional metadata and analytics from their existing data landscape.
Take Azure Form Recogniser for example, it allows you to automate data processing within an organisation by providing tools to identify and abstract text, tables, format structure and other identifying properties from documents and forms. The service allows you to establish values to these abstractions, giving you the ability to get quick and accurate results about the data contained within these documents - at scale. It even allows you to recognise foreign, similar formatted documents - say if you were receiving an invoice from another supplier, the service could recognise key content, abstract information from it and provide insight. It even has support and translation capabilities with over 275 languages! Essentially, it allows you to get more insight, generate more productivity and efficiency, with less time and human resource.
Bring the Team into Meta
Ignite brought many great conversations that were further and beyond doing more. Hot topics and challenges still face many organisations such as remote working, device management and exploring effective communication and collaboration technics that support a company’s culture. With recent announcements from Microsoft around Surface and demonstrating Teams and Meta integration, it will all change the way we work further. Microsoft’s intent to use the Meta platform from Facebook for work will support the growth by both organisations and we will see further development between Microsoft and Meta on both work space collaboration but also within mobile, console and VR based gaming.
What excites us at Softcat is that we can that Microsoft continue to be an innovator in technology. The push the boundaries of collaboration with Microsoft Teams and beautiful looking devices with Surface, the Surface Hub and Surface Duo. Their eco-structure from end users to device management means that our users get a single feel to all their application that are becoming more integrated together.
Do more, with less is also about ensuring you get more out of your Microsoft 365 licensing. The best return on investment is to use as many of your applications in your licensing as possible so you are not paying twice and leveraging the integration of the Microsoft platform.
Get in touch with your Softcat Account Manager who can help you do more, with less.