Microsoft Ignite 2019 – Day 1

I am not attending Ignite, but in my current role I have to follow it. Here’s my opinion, with links to listicles for details.

Microsoft Triples Down on Security & Analytics

If there is one theme to every session and keynote it’s this: solutions in the Microsoft Cloud will help you use your data, signals, and telemetry, to help make it usable for decision-making.

I spend a lot of my time these days in the security and compliance space, and the big news there is major makeovers in “Security and Compliance” in both M365 and Azure. That crumpling sound you hear is about three draft blog posts hitting the trash can. Additionally, Microsoft is expanding the workloads that the underlying solutions for Security and Compliance, especially in support of Teams.

Microsoft Arc and Project Cortex respectively extend Azure’s formidable management capabilities to other vendors’ clouds, and use AI to enhance the classification of content based on the data it contains. The short version: Classify all your dark data, and also bring your monitoring, alerts, and action policies to whatever cloud you use. This is great news for customers who need a single pane of glass but don’t want to lock themselves in to a single cloud services provider.

On the end-user front, the new “Chrome Edge” has a release date of January 15, 2020. I’ve been running the preview release for a month now and it’s great, not only for normal people, but for enterprises – integrated search can surface content from a company’s intranet above all the internet searches. I.E. I can look up my co-workers and see what we’re working in the same browser I sneak my LinkedIn searches on.

Cortana* is getting extended into Outlook as part of “her” overall expansion into Microsoft’s overarching AI-assist platform, and later coming to Teams. Warning, ‘bots: there is a dark queen coming to rule you all.

Speaking of Teams, it’s finally getting a whiteboard. I have firsthand experience with that being a factor in a Zoom compete.When you add in the SharePoint backbone of Teams, along with all the new data protection solutions in M365 and Azure, it’s increasingly difficult to see why any enterprise that cares about its data would not use Teams, especially if they’re already 365 customers. Teams is getting a whole bunch of other new features that users expect, best summarized at TomTalks.

That’s all for now, and that’s just Day 1. We have four more to go! And seriously, the new capabilities of security and compliance are amazing. Some things are entering preview, others enabled by the end of the year.

*I will never fail to chuckle at Cortana being the name of the AI assistant in the popular Halo games, owned by Microsoft but developed by Bungie, which previously had cut its teeth on the amazing Macintosh-only Marathon series.

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