WPC 2016 Day 1: The digital transformation opportunity

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 (WPC) got under way today with a keynote session from Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft.

At the core of today’s opening session was ‘Digital Transformation’, primarily the desire of CEO’s to use technology to change business outcomes – whether it be how they:

  • Engage with their customers
  • Empower employees to make better decisions
  • Optimise their operations
  • Build up the predictive power within their organisations so that every operation is intelligent
  • Transform their products and services

In this day and age, every customer of every size business (start-up through to enterprise) is looking to use digital technology to develop and grow their business.

Businesses are looking  to function with greater efficiency – automating processes and increasing productivity, particularly in those areas where there are operating costs. This poses an unprecedented opportunity to Microsoft Partners of all levels.

There are over 25,000 Microsoft Partners worldwide of varying levels. The Top 100 of these are called Field Managed Partners and Quiss Technology are proud to be one of these.

Microsoft Ambitions to Drive Digital Transformation

Microsoft has three core ambitions which play a fundamental part in digitally transforming businesses. Nadella provided some great examples of what these 3 ambitions entail.

1) Re-inventing productivity and business processes

This is all about removing the barriers that exist between productivity tools and business applications to create greater efficiency within the business. Nadella focused on two key areas:

  • Connected Cloud & Data: In essence striving for connected cloud data SaaS solutions such as Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to simplify information/data sharing, removing what he terms the productivity friction in businesses.
  • ‘Conversations as a Platform’: Using human language understanding personal assistants and Bots (conversational interfaces) which augment our connection with technologies.

2) Building out the intelligent cloud

To showcase how intelligent cloud is helping transformation, Nadella invited General Electric CEO, Jeff Immelt, on stage to discuss how he has digitally transformed the GE business. Considering GE is over 140 years old, it’s a company that has embraced change, growth and digital transformation so it was fascinating to hear his opinions on the subject.

Nadella then went on to talk about ‘The next phase of building the intelligent cloud’ with ‘cognitive services’. We’re seeing the beginnings of a new platform for cognitive services. Microsoft has taken decades of research from Microsoft Research encapsulating speech, computer vision, natural language text understanding, and made these available as API’s. These API’s are being used to infuse perception into apps – the ability for Apps/Bots to understand speech and see i.e. computer vision. These cognitive capabilities are capable of transforming business by bringing productivity gains. A great example of this is how MacDonald’s are creating efficiency in their Drive Thru’s with speech/order recognition.

3) Create more personal computing

Create more personal computing was the third and final ambition covered. Nadella discussed Windows 10 – an OS system spanning multiple devices from Raspberry PI to Hololens and bringing centralised infrastructure benefits and cost savings to business.

It was on the topic of Hololens, he discussed how personal computing is shaped by category creation moments. Moments where input and output change. ‘Mixed Reality’ is that moment. With Hololens it’s created an interface changing moment – Mixing real with virtual, enabling us to be anywhere and everywhere – fully untethered and mobile.

What followed was a great demo showcasing how Japan Airlines are using Microsoft HoloLens to change how they train flight crews and mechanics. Click here to view the demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vei9hax0s5s&feature=youtu.be

Mixed reality offers huge opportunities for partners with so many applications across so many sectors.

Matt Rhodes, Commercial Services Manager, Quiss Technology

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