Letter from Microsoft Inspire – Vegas 2018

22 Jul 2018 | News

It wasn’t just the weather that was hot. Microsoft is hot right now, and given how much we all rely on them for the tools to run our businesses, that’s an exciting prospect.

While there weren’t specific announcements, what I found encouraging was the consistent progress under CEO Satya Nadella.   In contrast to the last regime that wanted to do everything, to compete with everything and to a “Microsoft vs the other guys” perspective, the new Microsoft is much more open, more purposeful and mission-led. When their CEO now talks about the success of Microsoft customers, and about empowering people and organisations to achieve more, that really resonates for me – it’s what we mean by ‘Making IT work for You’.

For Kinetics, that’s about helping people adopt technology that’s relevant to them, and helping them embrace it to be productive. It’s not terribly exciting but it is very important.   These days, it’s got a few names ‘Digital Enablement’ and ‘Modern Workplace Transformation’ or various combinations of these words.

The vision that Nadella outlines is exciting. He calls Azure the “world’s computer”, and continued the refrains from last year, talking about the “intelligent cloud” and the “intelligent edge”. Basically, this means we connect with our PCs, notebooks, tablets and phones – and they do local processing as they do now. Our experience is subject to the device we are using – some are better at reading documents (consuming) and others are better at creating documents, but the key thing is that as we move from device to device, our data etc moves with us.   They keep up to date and in-sync. This is driven by the cloud, and the cloud continues to get smarter and help us out. We’ve mentioned before that there are tools like Dictation in Word and Outlook, and these are a driven by the AI and machine learning in Azure.  Ultimately this is something known as ‘hybrid cloud’ and it’s the future!

The developments in the AI in Azure are astonishing. I’m inspired to try a few out, and that’s because it really is moving forward rapidly. By January of this year, Microsoft AI could read text and answer questions about it sufficiently to pass a school SAT test.

But with that power comes some responsibility, and three key points were made:

  1. Privacy is a human right, have to do our best work
  2. Cyber-Security, need a new digital Geneva convention to protect the weakest
  3. Ethical AI – need to develop principles

So, this as an exciting glimpse into the strategy of an organisation that’s reinventing itself.   We’re seeing the benefits of this development in the enhancements in Office and the tools we can use to build solutions with our clients.   The summary was best in Nadella’s own words : “Committed to making others cool, not being cool.”