Microsoft Ignite features four main themes: empowering everyone for a new world of hybrid work, building a hyperconnected business, innovating anywhere from multicloud to edge, and protecting everything with end-to-end security. Keep reading to learn more about the key announcements aligned to each of these themes.
EMPOWER EVERYONE FOR A NEW WORLD OF HYBRID WORK
Flexible work is here to stay, and embracing it is critical to our customers’ future success. Today at Microsoft Ignite, we’re announcing new innovations that empower everyone for the new world of hybrid work. Learn more below and in Jared Spataro’s blog post.
- Connect, collaborate, and focus all in one place with Microsoft Teams. In this new era of boundaryless collaboration, we’re delivering new capabilities that remove barriers and make it easier to collaborate with whoever, wherever. Today we announced Teams Connect Shared Channels (now in private preview) with enhanced capabilities, new webinar and broadcasting capabilities in Teams, enhancements to Teams Rooms and devices, Teams Admin Center search and app discovery capabilities, and new collaborative Teams apps from partners including Atlassian’s Jira Cloud and SAP Sales & Service Core apps. Earlier this year we announced Microsoft Mesh, a platform to enable presence and shared experiences across anywhere and any device through mixed reality applications. Today we announced that Mesh capabilities are coming to Teams. All Teams users will be able to try these capabilities in preview starting in early 2022.
- Empower creators to fuel innovation. We are reimagining Microsoft Office by releasing more flexible, powerful, fluid tools to reinvent the way people create digitally in a hybrid workplace. Today we introduced Microsoft Loop, a new app that combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay in sync across applications, enabling teams to think, plan, and create together. Microsoft Loop has three elements: Loop components (an evolution of fluid components), Loop pages, and Loop workspaces. Microsoft Loop components are rolling out in preview across Microsoft 365 apps, such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and OneNote in the coming months, with more Microsoft Loop functionality to follow. In addition, we welcomed Clipchamp into the Office family and announced that Editor will leverage Context IQ to expand its capabilities allowing it to predict, seek, and make suggestions in the flow of your work (rolling out next year). We are also making updates to Office.com and Office app for Windows (rolling out in preview now). Lastly, we announced a new Java Script API in Excel that will allow developers to create their custom data types (rolling out in preview in the upcoming days) and recording studio in PowerPoint will soon offer a new way to record your presentations (hitting preview later this year).
- Accelerate and transform the employee experience with Microsoft Viva. Adding to the employee experience platform’s previously available modules—Viva Topics, Viva Insights, and Viva Connections for desktop—Viva Learning is now also generally available. In addition, customers can now purchase Microsoft Viva as a suite (also available with a Glint add-on) to gain access to all the generally available modules, as well as a new module stemming from the recent acquisition of Ally.io, a leading objectives and key results (OKR) company. In the coming year, Ally.io will join the Viva family as a new module to help people and teams come together to build alignment and achieve better business outcomes. Customers who purchase the Microsoft Viva suite will get access to Ally.io when it becomes generally available in the Microsoft cloud over the next year.
- Turn any device into a personalized, productive, and secure digital workspace with Windows 11 and Windows 365. Today we announced new enhancements to the Windows 365 service, including Windows 11 integrations, new configurable grace period controls, new support for Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)-Joined devices, and new reports in Endpoint analytics to help organizations manage their Cloud PCs. For Windows 11, we highlighted new tools such as Test Base to help customers prepare and migrate their environments from Windows 10 to 11 smoothly. And, to help simplify the update and patch management process, while also reducing costs, we’re offering a new entry-level option for our Microsoft Managed Desktop service. It goes into public preview on December first.
BUILD A HYPERCONNECTED BUSINESS
Next-generation businesses need next-generation solutions. Today’s announcements help customers start breaking down traditional data and process silos to put customer experiences first. Read Alysa Taylor’s blog post and the announcements below to learn more.
- Across your business, collaborate in the flow of work with anyone, everywhere. Today new capabilities, features, and integrations were released across Dynamics 365, Power Platform, Office 365, and Teams, enabling the entire organization to operate as one business, everywhere. Announcements include new integrations to the Power Platform and Teams experience, Dynamics 365 + Teams enhancements, and the new capabilities of Context IQ. With Context IQ, we’re breaking down barriers between collaboration and business processes—not just in Teams, but anywhere in Microsoft 365. Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 users will be able to surface results from business data across Microsoft Search, find business data inline when working in Office 365, and collaborate with in-line, contextual chat. Context IQ makes it possible for any Dynamics 365 or Microsoft 365 user to access what they need, when and where they need it.
- Deliver connected experiences across every customer touchpoint. We’re excited to announce the Microsoft Customer Experience Platform, a complete set of customer engagement solutions that puts organizations in complete control of their customer data to accelerate business growth and deepen connections. Microsoft Customer Experience Platform brings together applications spanning the Microsoft Cloud—including Microsoft Advertising, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Commerce, Microsoft Promote IQ, Microsoft Clarity, Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics and Microsoft Azure Purview—to deliver personalized, connected experiences, from awareness to purchase. With a deep understanding of customers and rich, out-of-the-box insights, organizations can now understand and predict intent to deliver the right content on the right channel and in the right moment.
- Exceed customer expectations with an all-in-one digital contact center. We announced the expansion of Dynamics 365 Customer Service to an all-in-one digital contact center solution leveraging the power of Microsoft Teams. With the general availability of our first-party voice channel in Dynamics 365 Customer Service, we’re bringing together contact center channels, unified communications, industry-leading AI, and customer service capabilities into a single, integrated SaaS solution.
- Build a trusted and resilient supply chain with new Dynamics 365 capabilities. We announced Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Insights, now in public preview, which enables organizations to predict and mitigate disruptions and gain resiliency. It enhances supply chain visibility, improves collaboration, and generates AI-powered insights to deliver exceptional customer experiences. In addition, the new Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management capabilities, including Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) integration and priority-based planning, enable organizations to create an agile and connected factory that can help improve quality and throughput, and help optimize production processes.
- Build resilience and drive innovation with Microsoft Cloud industry solutions. Today, we’re excited to announce big milestones in our industry cloud journey with two industry clouds: Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is now in preview and the Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit is now generally available. The Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing brings together capabilities across the Microsoft Cloud portfolio that seamlessly and securely connect people, assets, workflows, and business processes, helping manufacturing organizations become more resilient and sustainable. Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit delivers solutions built specifically for the nonprofit sector and connects our intelligent and integrated cloud capabilities to the most common nonprofit organizational scenarios. In mid-October, we announced wave 2 updates to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, demonstrating our commitment to support our customers through evolving healthcare challenges.
- Empower data-backed decision making. We announced updates to Power Automate to help you simplify how you work by discovering workflow bottlenecks, unlocking insights in your business processes from your systems of record, and identifying bottlenecks and areas for optimization. Process mining—the newest capability available for preview—provides direct data insights across the apps and services you use daily and reveals these insights in a detailed process map. Power BI announced several updates with the aim of creating more data-backed collaboration. The Power BI app in Teams (now generally available) enables organizations to foster a culture of continuous improvement by ensuring all employees can create and have access to real-time, relevant insights at the point of collaboration. Additionally, with Power BI Goals in public preview inside the Power BI in Teams experience, collaborators can easily track goals, create scorecards, and automate processes on their way to delivering business success. We also announced that developers can now connect an Azure subscription to their Power Apps and pay only for what they use, simplifying Power Apps deployment and getting apps to users faster.
- Gain a new perspective by bridging the physical and digital. Today we announced the public preview (on December 1, 2021) of Dynamics 365 Connected Store and its name change to Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces. Now, with Connected Spaces, organizations can harness observational data and use it to produce real-time insights to unlock business value. As an out-of-the-box solution, Connected Spaces is built to be extensible and works with existing hardware. AI-powered retail scenarios will be available for public preview in December with manufacturing scenarios scheduled for public preview in Spring 2022.
INNOVATE ANYWHERE FROM MULTICLOUD TO EDGE
Now more than ever, organizations need solutions across hybrid and multicloud environments that secure, operate, and govern their infrastructure, data, and applications. Today’s announcements highlight our commitment to delivering customer choice and innovation to help our customers deliver next-generation apps that run securely anywhere, built with limitless data capabilities, and harnessing the power of AI. Learn more below and in Kathleen Mitford’s blog post.
- Run your business anywhere with Azure’s hybrid and multicloud approach. We’re announcing new capabilities building on our early leadership and rapid innovation of Azure Arc. Customers can already secure and manage Windows, Linux, SQL Server, and Kubernetes clusters on VMware vSphere, Azure Stack HCI, and multicloud. Customers can also deploy applications and Azure services on Kubernetes clusters on VMware vSphere, Azure Stack HCI, and multicloud. Today, we announced a preview of enhanced integration with VMware vSphere and Azure Stack HCI for VM management. We are bringing inferencing to the edge through Azure Arc–enabled Machine Learning, in preview. In June we announced general availability of Azure Arc–enabled SQL Managed Instance, and today we are expanding the feature set with directly connected mode to support full integration with Azure services. With Azure Arc, customers can secure, develop, and operate in datacenters, edge, and multicloud environments consistently and at scale. We are pleased to announce the preview of Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI. With Azure Virtual Desktop, IT can save on cost with Windows 10 and Windows 11 multi-session—a capability that was previously not available on-premises. Finally, we’re announcing support for additional scenarios in Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP), including hybrid scenarios with Azure Arc and SAP.
- Leverage Microsoft’s comprehensive data platform to power your entire organization. To help our customers be future-ready, we’re making several announcements about our end-to-end data capabilities, including the introduction of SQL Server 2022 (initially available to a limited number of applicants via private preview). SQL Server 2022 is the most Azure–enabled SQL release yet, enabling easier cloud integration and business continuity, automatic performance and scalability enhancements, and seamless analytics over on-prem operational data. Starting today, the Flexible Server deployment option is generally available for Azure Database for MySQL. Additional data platform announcements include the general availability and preview of Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse and SQL Server 2022, respectively. In addition, Azure Synapse data explorer is joining the existing SQL and Apache Spark analytical runtimes in Azure Synapse Analytics with a highly scalable engine to automatically index structured, semi-structured, and free-text data commonly found in telemetry, time series, and logs to surface enriched insights that can directly improve business decisions. Read Rohan Kumar’s blog post to learn more.
- Build intelligent, scalable, cloud-native applications. Microsoft empowers developers to address the real-world needs of their customers and business, with best-in-class tools and platforms that reduce the time from idea to value. Today, we announced the public preview of Azure Container Apps, a fully managed and serverless application hosting solution built for microservices. This enables teams to build apps without having to overcome the overhead of working with Kubernetes directly and enables continued application portability by leveraging open standards and APIs. Behind the scenes, every container app runs on the Azure Kubernetes Service, supports scaling dynamically based on HTTP traffic as well as events powered by Kubernetes Event-Driven Autoscaling (KEDA), and comes with full support for Distributed Application Runtime (Dapr) for building microservices. In addition, several important updates are now available for Azure Cognitive Services, including Azure OpenAI Service, currently in preview mode. A few months ago, we evolved the Azure Migration Program (AMP) to the Azure, expanding it to include support for application and data modernization. This week at Ignite, we are announcing expanded support in AMMP for additional application modernization scenarios including Azure Red Hat OpenShift and cloud-native apps.
- Create fusion teams to boost cross-functional collaboration and deliver apps faster with Power Platform. Fusion teams connect IT Professionals with pro devs and makers in the business to build apps and solutions together through low-code, more quickly than traditional development. To enable fusion teams, we’re announcing key new features across the Power Platform. With the preview of commenting in Power Apps, makers and developers can collaborate in apps real-time to deliver apps in record time. Fusion teams can accelerate app delivery through Power Fx via open-source communities in GitHub. Makers and developers can now package and natively distribute fully branded mobile apps to their employees with Power Apps mobile apps. To simplify app creation and get apps out more quickly, developers now have the flexibility to use an Azure subscription to license users with the Power Apps per app pay-as-you-go plan, allowing customers to use Azure subscriptions to begin their low-code journey. Learn more about these updates here.
- Develop and run your applications securely with the most comprehensive developer platform. Developers can now secure their deployments to Azure through OpenID Connect integration between Azure AD and GitHub Actions—this update is in preview. In addition, new solutions for running Java EE applications on Azure container platforms are now available.
PROTECT EVERYTHING WITH END-TO-END SECURITY
Today’s announcements showcase Microsoft’s comprehensive security solutions that improve threat protection across multiplatform, multidevice, and multicloud environments. To learn more, read the following announcements and Vasu Jakkal’s blog post.
- Threat protection for SMBs. Today we introduced Microsoft Defender for Business, a new standalone endpoint security solution to help businesses with fewer than 300 employees protect against cyberattacks, including ransomware and malware. Now available in preview, smaller organizations will be empowered to elevate their security by moving from traditional antivirus software to next-gen protection, endpoint detection and response, and threat and vulnerability management—all while taking advantage of simplified setup and management. Defender for Business will be available both as a standalone solution and as integrated protection included within Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
- Deeper security detection and event management integration. We recently unified two components of Microsoft’s threat protection solutions—our cloud-native SIEM Microsoft Sentinel, and our extended detection and response tool Microsoft Defender. The next step in that integration is Bi-directional incident detection and response between the two solutions. It will now be easier for users to get the full context around an incident and even close that incident from either tool. Additionally, in Sentinel there is a new Content Hub with more than 100 solutions that help organizations collect data from any source. Also, new integration with Sentinel and Azure Synapse allows security teams to tap into the power of big data analytics and machine learning models for deeper insight into threats and attacks.
- Boundaryless collaboration with a modern identity platform. Microsoft’s identity platform forms the “trust fabric” for our increasingly digital society. It powers Teams Connect, which allows users to easily and securely share channels with anyone, internal or external to their organization. Microsoft’s modern identity platform is also a key component of data privacy protection. We recently announced Privacy Management for Microsoft 365, which helps organizations identify critical privacy risks, automate privacy operations, and empower employees to be smart when handling sensitive data.
- Protection for everyone and everything. We believe modern security should be cloud-native and AI based, so it works everywhere at scale. With that in mind, today we announced that Microsoft Defender for Cloud now extends our native Cloud Security Posture Management and Workload Protection capabilities to Amazon Web Services (AWS). These new capabilities will allow security teams to ensure configurations in AWS follow industry best practices and regulatory standards. Additionally, we are extending protection capabilities to Amazon’s Kubernetes service for improved workload coverage.
- Other multicloud, multiplatform and multidevice news announced at Ignite. Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps has a new application governance capability that helps users identify alerts and protect against risky behavior across data, users, and applications. Microsoft Defender for IoT will now help organizations monitor enterprise IoT devices like VoIP phones, conferencing systems, and building automation. Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention, which was previously only available for Windows devices, can now support macOS devices. Plus, we are expanding the breadth of Microsoft Endpoint Manager with support for Linux desktops. With this new capability, organizations can now apply and mange security policies and configure conditional access from Azure Active Directory across devices on any platform: Windows, iOS, macOS, and now Linux.