Microsoft Ignite 2022: Satya Nadella Keynote Takeaways

Microsoft Ignite sure has grown since its TechEd Florida days of the early 90s. The annual Microsoft conference usually lasts three to five days, and we look forward to every minute of it each year. It’s where Microsoft unveils product roadmaps and its latest innovation. It’s basically the Tech Giant’s Sundance Festival: Everyone gathers, eagerly waiting for this year’s blockbusters news and indie deep content. As custom requires, Satya Nadella — Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO since 2014 — kicked off Microsoft Ignite 2022 with his keynote session. He spoke of how our world has changed and how it’s time to “do more with less with the Microsoft Cloud.”

According to Nadella, doing more with less doesn’t mean working harder or longer. It means applying technology to amplify what we can do as Microsoft partners and what organizations can do amongst today’s real-world constraints. Less time, less complexity, less cost, and more.

From Digital Transformation, Satya moves us to Digital Imperatives: how the Microsoft Cloud will support organizations with its suite of trusted and comprehensive applications: Infrastructure, Security, Business Applications, Modern Work, Data and AI, and Digital and App Innovation. What does doing more with less look like? Satya framed this year’s 5 themes as digital imperatives for this year’s audience. He pleads organizations to do more with less through these statements:

  1. Be data-driven and optimize with Azure
  2. Deliver efficiency with automation and AI
  3. Re-energize your workforce with Microsoft 365
  4. Innovate with a cloud developer platform
  5. Protect everything, everyone, everywhere

 

Be data-driven and optimize with Azure

“Azure is the World’s computer. “

After kicking Microsoft Ignite 2022 off, Nadella started diving into Azure and how it delivers agility to organizations by enabling cost and operational efficiencies.

He then explained how Microsoft is the World’s computer! More than 60 data centers around the World serve organizations and aim to accelerate our own innovations. According to Nadella, Azure is the only cloud that supports all organizations and all workloads, from enterprises to startups to highly regulated industries. Microsoft truly believes in “delivering the power of Azure everywhere.”

He revealed Azure Arc, which extends Azure to support developers in building applications running across on-premises, Edge, and multi-cloud environments.

Satya then introduced Microsoft’s new Azure Virtual Machines (VMs). These new generation virtual machines are more cost-effective and power-efficient than their ancestors due to their high operational speed.

Satya Nadella gave a lot of details on the upcoming changes or enhancements to Azure. As a Microsoft Partner, we are excited about Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework, which allows developers to build, deploy, and manage highly-sensitive, multi-party applications. Nadella highlighted that “Azure is the only cloud provider enabling highly regulated industries to bring their most sensitive applications to the cloud. Azure confidential computing can help protect data while in use, thanks to enclaves that protect and isolate code and data in a Zero Trust environment.

 

Deliver efficiency with automation and AI

“When it comes to doing more with less, AI is the ultimate amplifier.”

Satya spoke about the importance of Artificial Intelligence and mentioned that when it comes to “doing more with less, AI is the ultimate amplifier. It will change what an application looks like, the design language, how applications get built, and how IT gets delivered.”

By leveraging the abundance of data gathered in this modern age, organizations have an opportunity to automate a lot of their internal and external processes while delivering more value to their customers.

Satya talked about how AI is a tool that can be used by all and is not limited to technology experts. Anyone in the organization can use and benefit from automation and AI. By using AI capabilities to do more with less. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s co-founder and CEO gave us real-world examples:

“A number of Fortune 500 companies are now using a combination of our embeddings and completions endpoint together to drive powerful search features that significantly improve current processes. Compliance teams can use these capabilities to search complicated external standards documentation and then compare them to their own internal policies. And if they find any gaps, they can even use these capabilities to suggest new language. This is the type of application that cuts time spent from manually comparing documents from many weeks down to hours.”

  • Designers can leverage Microsoft Designer, a graphic design generator powered by AI, to create the most visually appealing custom designs based on their ideas. As you tell Designer what you like, it evolves with you. We are not limited to searching for existing images and will now be able to create images through AI.
  • Salespeople can discover best practices for contacting their leads and improve their strategies by applying conversational intelligence.
  • Marketing teams can now generate “the right content at the right time.”

Microsoft is also applying these models to transform how people build software, which brings us to the third imperative…

Innovate with a cloud developer platform

“We are turning low-code into no-code with the power of AI.”

Satya and Altman chatted about Microsoft working with OpenAI, an AI research and deployment company, to develop outstanding AI capabilities. One resulting project is OpenAI Codex, which can translate natural language into code. By giving Codex a simple problem, it will solve it and explain its process so you can follow along. Altman demoed a simple question: in a single-elimination tournament of eight players, what is the probability that the second-best player finishes in second place, assuming that the better players always defeat the weaker players in each round.

The keynote’s next 2 minutes are spent watching Codex learn from its mistakes, course-correct, and solve the question.

With this technology, anyone could “speak” code as if it was their native tongue and be able to program solutions without writing any lines of code.

With GitHub Copilot, Microsoft applies Codex to suggest code and entire functions in real-time, getting developers to code faster. We’re used to editors prompting coding help as we build parts of code, but Codex is much more. It draws context from the code you are working on to finish the lines you start and even suggests entire functions for you.

For its users, Copilot is currently writing 40% of the code, and developers can code 55% faster; reflecting on this year’s theme, do more with less.

Nadella moves on to what he believes is the future of building software:

“It’s clear innovation and building great application experiences is everybody’s job in the organization. 70% of the new applications will use low-code and no-code by 2025, up from 25% in 2020. And we are turning low-code into no-code with the power of AI.”

Thus, Microsoft is applying Copilot’s principles and capabilities to Power Platform! Now, we’re excited!

The Platform’s AI innovations will let you go from hand-drawn low-fidelity sketches to fully-built applications in a matter of minutes through Express design in PowerApps. Satya also mentioned automating workflows by simply describing the process you’d like to automate and letting Power Apps list the most relevant fx formulas for you to pick from. We are excited to see these innovations in action and get coding better and faster. We’re even more excited for the citizen developers, and the accessibility to AI Microsoft is fueling. Satya says, “For AI to deliver business value, it just can’t be about data scientists or professional developers in your organization. It’s about empowering everyone.”

Satya also mentioned new AI Builder capabilities will be announced at Microsoft Ignite 2022 this week. New features include the “feedback loop,” which retrains AI models to continuously improve their performance and accuracy.

Suppose you’re tired of searching for company documents like old invoices, designs, contracts, presentations, etc. In that case, you’ll be excited to learn more about Microsoft Syntex. Syntex is the Content AI you didn’t know you needed. It uses AI Builder and Power Automate capabilities to automatically read, tag, and index a high volume of content and surface it where needed.

 

Re-energize your workforce with Microsoft 365

“Employees must be empowered and energized to do meaningful work so that they can thrive.”

Workplaces will never be the same as they used to be in 2019 and are continuously changing. This topic was discussed during the September 2022 Microsoft Viva Roadmap Event, Empowering Your Workforce in Economic Uncertainty. Nadella says:

“We need to directly address the lessons we have learned over the past couple of years. Our latest Work Trends Index identifies three clear priorities for every organization:

  • We need to stop the endless “productivity paranoia.” People are working more than ever, but leaders still worry employees are not getting the job done. We need to embrace data over dogma and re-align organizations around the most important work.
  • We need to embrace that people come to the office for each other, not policy.
  • And, as leaders, we need to re-recruit our employees. Recruiting doesn’t end when the job offer is accepted. Leaders must continuously help their employees learn new skills or risk losing them. Employees must be empowered and energized to do meaningful work so that they can thrive.

To do so, organizations require a new system to build human, social, and knowledge capital across the entire organization. You need to help people feel aligned to the company’s mission, purpose, and business priorities. You need to help them connect with each other where they are and wherever they are working. You need to help them continuously build new skills in the flow of work. And you need to have all these things working in harmony to have a workforce that thrives.”

Next, Nadella talked about Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Viva and how together they form the Digital Workspace for the modern workforce’s needs.

Microsoft 365 is the classic and complete cloud-first experience that makes work better for today’s digitally connected and distributed workforce. The Office 365 app is getting a makeover and being renamed Microsoft 365 app. It will include the apps we are used to and new apps such as Designer, Loop, and Clipchamp.

Microsoft Teams focuses on letting organizations tackle the 4 quadrants of required communications: They need to be great at sync, async, in-person, and remote collaboration. Microsoft has introduced over 450 capabilities over the past year and will spend Ignite unveiling some new ones, including new Teams Premium. Teams Premium will provide advanced confidentiality protection and intelligent meeting recap.

Speaking of Microsoft Teams, Satya unveiled the Private preview of Mesh avatars globally soon for the current Teams app. This feature allows the camera shy — or camera-burnt! — to participate in meetings through avatars. Satya also talked about the Metaverse and its application in the industrial World.

Microsoft is adamant about providing employees and organizations with the tools to transition hybrid workplaces into environments where everyone feels welcomed and has a purpose. Microsoft Places is a fantastic example of this shift towards improving hybrid workplace culture. Nadella reinforces that a space becomes a place when people give it meaning, and this is their vision:

“We are building a new system to help you create a Place — including tools to help you see when your colleagues are planning to come in, what meetings are best suited to be in person, and reserve the right place for you. And for leaders, we provide recommendations on how to transform your space into a Place.”

Satya also addressed Edge and Windows. We are personally pumped about Edge Workspaces and how it’s aiming to make web browsing multiplayer instead of sending links over email or chat. By making internet browsing a collaborative experience where 1 browser session, tools, tabs, and favorites are shared across the teams you work with.

Protect everything, everyone, everywhere

“The more agile you become, the more your security team struggles to manage the risk.”

Nadella introduces Microsoft’s 5th imperative:

“As the pace of threats accelerates, this is a top priority for every organization. Protecting is complex and can get expensive. Every organization experiences this with many different devices, connections to partners, and an ever-shifting cloud resource deployment. The more agile you become, the more your security team struggles to manage the risk. And the more connected we become, the faster a successful attacker can move laterally through the enterprise to their target. For far too long, customers have been forced to adopt multiple disconnected solutions from disparate sources that don’t integrate well and leave gaps. We offer a better option: a natively-integrated security solution supported by a vibrant partner ecosystem.”

Indeed, the more flexible the workforce, the more devices are intertwined together through the same network, potentially providing more gaps to secure. Thankfully, Microsoft’s commitment to security is unchallenged.

Nadella introduced Microsoft Entra for vision and portfolio for identity and access, Microsoft Purview for compliance and data governance, and Microsoft Priva to help manage privacy. Add Microsoft Intune, Defender, and Sentinel to the mix, and you have a banging security team. Not to mention that this unified security suite helped users save more than 60% compared to multi-vendor solutions against any security threats.

Satya also revealed Defender for DevOps to ensure your development lifecycle is as secure as your ideas and unify DevOps security management across multiple environments.

Of course, Microsoft Ignite 2022 is much more than one keynote, with much more for us to dissect and discover. Satya promised more than 100 updates across the Microsoft Cloud this week. He also concluded that these updates are our building blocks to drive new outcomes for tomorrow’s work life and that he empowers us to do more with less.

Whether you are watching live or recordings, check out our sessions hitlist.

 

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