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Microsoft Tech Summit – Day One

Waking up quite early I decided to go to RAI Amsterdam, the venue for the Tech Summit. I got there a few minutes before 8 AM. This turned out to be excellent timing, because I was there exactly when the doors opened. I registered myself, enjoyed the complimentary breakfast and took a stroll around “The Hub”. While there, I also enjoyed meeting people from all over Europe who were signed into various on-site labs.

The labs I chose and workshops I participated in were all about Microsoft 365 and Azure. We will post more in-depth stuff about both of these technology clusters in the near future.

Lori Wright, General Manager of Microsoft Teams and Skype Marketing (LinkedIn profile) used her keynote hour effectively. She made everyone in the room believe and understand what she said about Create a modern workplace with Microsoft 365. When today’s high school graduates will join the workforce in the early 2020’s, that workplace will not be the same nor will it function in the same way as it did when I and many of you started out in information technology some time ago. With cross-platform adaptive tools, modern hardware and software, creativity and collaboration will assume an even bigger role in all the work we (and those new workforce entrants) will do.

Microsoft 365 offers about everything needed to get that work done.  As a case in point,  Lori Wright presented Dutch KPN, that country’s largest telecom company. After planning done right, they started to move 12,000 employees from Windows 7 and Office 2010 to Microsoft 365 (Windows 10 and Office 2016). Today, seven months later over 11,000 of them have moved to a new OS, a new Office and a new enterprise mobility and security platform. What is remarkable here is that because of Microsoft Intune, AutoPilot and Microsoft 365, that move has been handled mostly by the employees themselves. The IT department at KPN prepared tools that let employees do the upgrade, by following simple instructions and first checking that their workstations and laptops were ready for the upgrade, then running the upgrade process without intervention from IT.

Also, Microsoft Teams was strongly present in Lori Wright’s keynote. Teams turned one year old just two weeks ago but it is already starting to replace Skype for Business. And why not? Teams takes collaboration and team work to a level far beyond Skype’s capabilities. Together with Ed, he and I will cover Teams in more depth soon.

Today’s second keynote was Microsoft Azure – Cloud for All, presented by Tad Brockway (@tadbrockway), the General Manager for Microsoft Azure Storage and Azure Stack. To be honest, I missed it but I have a good excuse! I completely forgot the time while talking with guys from Code Two (https://www.codetwo.com), a Microsoft Gold Partner from Poland. Their email signature products use Azure. No client software is required, signatures will be automatically added from Azure. A signature editor, easy to use as I saw by myself, can for instance contain keywords that will when email is sent be replaced with correct signature; first email to a client can show full signature, later emails to same receiver somewhat modified. Tenant admin can create signature templates to any group or add users individually. Signature will then be modified on the fly with correct profile picture of sender if used in signature, correct contact details and so on.

(Image courtesy of Code Two.)

Code Two’s products are a good example of the versatility of Azure and the amazing things that app developers can do for it and with it.

All in all, the day was most interesting and exciting. As I mentioned, more in-depth content about both today’s topics, Microsoft 365 and Azure will follow.


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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