Earlier this month C5 were in London to attend Microsoft’s Future Decoded. As Microsoft’s largest UK event, which brings together both suppliers and clients, this was an opportunity for us to hear about new developments in the Microsoft world, but also to learn about real-life challenges and opportunities that are currently impacting businesses everywhere. This combination of visionary/strategic learning and practical, tangible advice is what makes the Future Decoded event so popular each year. So, what were the takeaways?
- Modern Workplace – Microsoft predict that in 3 years 50% of workers will be mobile, and the launch of Microsoft 365 at Inspire earlier this year shows that everything they are developing at the moment reflects this. Many sessions focussed on the modern workplace; how Microsoft 365 is empowering employees with solutions that enable them to work remotely and collaboratively being a key focus. Integrated tools that enable joint editing of documents and shared whiteboards are all being introduced as part of the Office 365 offering. This is also reflected in how Microsoft is integrating their hardware with software. The Microsoft 365 powered device has intelligent security built-in, is easy to deploy and manage, always up-to-date and provides proactive insights.
- Cloud as a Service – while not a new message, this was still very much an ongoing theme at this year’s event. The vision that Microsoft set out when they first launched Office 365 is simply evolving and growing. They see the need for physical infrastructure reducing further, with no need for in-house servers and everything being managed as a service, to reduce capital investment, increase efficiency and access to new tools. Now there is clear evidence that the anticipation of this trend was not only accurate, it was understated. Moving to the cloud is today seen as an eventuality for most existing businesses, and the only logical starting point for new ones.
- Mixed Reality – when it comes to virtual and augmented reality, or ‘Mixed Reality’ as Microsoft describe it, the vision is…insidious. Creeping into our lives, built naturally into our day to day tech, they see it as having the potential to enhance our capabilities, especially when it comes to giving us access to ‘hands-free’ information. This isn’t going to be a dramatic change, just an organic progression, that we won’t notice…until it’s too late. #jokingnotjoking
- AI Machine Learning – much like ‘mixed reality’, Microsoft see developments in this area as natural, with AI integrating into cloud services, embedding into our working lives as tech and software evolve. The event showcased the fact that the use of Applied AI has the greatest business impact upon ‘Predictive Analytics’ at 82%, which is a trend that we see mirrored in our client strategy.
- Security – underpinning all of Microsoft’s services and solutions, security is at the heart of everything Microsoft are doing. Microsoft are committing to security, privacy & control, compliance, transparency within all of their services and applications. You can’t go to any event these days without the topic of GDPR being discussed and there were no exceptions here, with their solutions helping us to prepare for the regulatory changes that are coming.
While learning about Microsoft’s vision for the next few years was exciting and inspiring as ever, one of the most useful benefits of attending this event was hearing about what off-island businesses were doing to solve problems and maximise opportunities. In Jersey and Guernsey, we can all sometimes find ourselves in a feedback loop, where clients come to us with problems and we solve them, but this is a pretty closed way for us all to learn. We gained some extremely useful insights into what other businesses were doing, especially within the financial services sector, to use Microsoft services better and also to adapt for the changes that are predicted.
If you would like to have a chat with us about what we learned and discuss how your business is currently using Microsoft services, please email James Solomon.