The Microsoft Ignite 2021 Event
by Daniel Newman | November 9, 2021

The Six Five team discusses the Microsoft Ignite 2021 Event.

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Patrick Moorhead: Daniel. Let’s move to the next topic. We’re going to move out of earnings into Microsoft Ignite 2021. Gosh, Daniel, we have so much stuff to talk about. There’s no possible way for me to take all the energy out of it.

Daniel Newman: Pick a few things, and then I’ll pick a few things. And-

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah it was interesting. I give Microsoft a lot of credit for the consistency that they give that they give Satya and they tended to change it a bit. This was all about the Microsoft Cloud. And essentially what Satya did is he came up and essentially talked about four trends and how Microsoft fits into this and essentially how are businesses being digitally transformed when many were not built to be digital? He asked questions like how can business collaborate and connect to the degree to which collaboration connection or accelerated digitally? How businesses are equipped, the tools and infrastructure to innovate? And then the big question of how does all this digitization collaboration and connection and infrastructure, how is it secure? So you get the idea, not something you wouldn’t expect, but it was a little bit different than before.

I would say the one black and white product that was brand new that I want to talk about is Microsoft Loop. I want to admit something. And I do really try to be self-effacing when I don’t fully understand something or something sounds complex. Microsoft Loop is essentially think of them as blocks of code or blocks of applications. And there are three essential part Loop components, pages and Loop workspaces. Essentially these are blocks of applications that can work anywhere in the Microsoft environment, whether it’s Dynamics, whether it’s Office, whether it’s in OneNote, whether it’s in Outlook. And that was absolutely the new one. And Loop reminds me of this, like a Canvas experience with the capabilities of a tag system with dynamic templates. I think Microsoft’s going to have to work pretty hard to communicate this I’m potentially butchering it, but I am going to be writing about it with screenshots.

You almost have to see it to fully understand it. I think the final thing I’ll talk about is some of the enhancements to Azure Arc. So Arc is a multi-cloud management tool that allows you to manage containers and VMs across your own private cloud, AWS, GCP, Oracle, and even IBM Cloud. And they’re now starting to call it trust fabric, which drives me a little bit crazy, but it’s more marketing than anything. I get what they’re trying to do here, but they enhanced it with vSphere, new integration with Azure stack HCI.

There were some, Arc enabled data service announcements that I thought were interesting in. Well the reality is that no customer goes all in on anyone’s cloud. Okay. It’s kind of fantasy at some point. So Microsoft [inaudible] it might as well be the management plane for all workloads in the future. And I’ll leave. I think there’s a ton I’ve left for you.

Daniel Newman: A ton, a ton Pat, and we could go in so many different directions and we’ve covered a few different things. You mentioned Loop, which was the fluid framework, or I think they called it that for a number of years. And Loop is finally where they’re turning this from an idea into something that’s going to be productized, it’s going to be marketable. It’s super meta.

Patrick Moorhead: Are there too many of these Daniel, like it hit this point where it’s like, is this going to be too complex for enterprises to integrate?

Daniel Newman: Well, here’s, what’s going on, right? Enterprises need a digital fabric. They need a fabric, kind of the way a cloud and or the IT within a company needs a networking fabric. Most people that are using an app don’t care where the app is actually located. That’s something that we care about, because we’re analysts and we like to talk about this stuff. But in the end it’s like, does the app work or not? And so there’s a little bit of that, but what is going on, right? And it’s very, very clear is there’s a few horse race that are basically trying to reimagine work. And so when you think about Loop, you’re thinking about reimagining work. I remember at MWC a few years ago, watching Halo and this is going to help me transition into another thing that was really big here.

And we were watching HoloLens, not halo, HoloLens. And we were watching, how we could potentially work and manipulate and collaborate in an environment together. Well, we saw Mark Zuckerberg showing the metaverse the other day. And now, Microsoft is talking about collaboration that transcends boundaries, right? And that’s mesh. So you got mesh from Microsoft Teams, we’re going to go from meetings face to face, to asynchronous. You got Viva, which got some enhancements, which is all about employee experience and work life balance. And then you’ve got these asynchronous and then you’ve got mesh, which is effectively going from the 2D to 3D meetings to be able to put us in spaces together, to have us operating and collaborating inside these immersive spaces. So now you got Facebook building the metaverse for the consumers. You got Microsoft building the metaverse for Teams and for meeting and immersive spaces.

What we do know is in the end, there’s a ton of meeting fatigue. We need to do this better. Microsoft is trying to address that. So that’s something that’s going on there. You’ve got cross organization collaboration going on. You’ve got Teams Connect, which is basically all about breaking down silos, making things simpler, enabling companies to have different Teams connecting across channels in a more simple, streamlined way. Again, complex, yet simple. This is all about this remote operating system for work. You’re seeing CIVET now being integrated into the Team’s platform, Pat.

So here are on Streamyard. We really like this platform. Well, Microsoft is going to have its own version now with events, with broadcast, with virtual green rooms, with Q&A. So you can see that Teams product by the way, being thematic, because what you’ve even mentioned with Loop it’s a lot of it’s about Teams, it’s about collaborating is about being able to cowork within an environment.

This is where everything is going. This is where it all ties together. Then you have collaborative apps where you’ve got partners like SAP and ServiceNow and being able to work in your Team’s environment and see the SAP screen or see your ServiceNow workflow all in one place. And then of course now guess what else they’re doing? Streamlining the contact center experience. We’ve all seen how contact center operates over here as one thing. And then you’ve got the Service Cloud, or Dynamics 365 customer service. Well, in the end we want a single streamlined experience that includes Teams, that includes service, that includes contact center, building that here now as well.

So what we’ve basically have going on across the board is that Teams continues to become more and more the epicenter of the Microsoft ecosystem. And now they’re attaching everything, whether it’s collaborating, whether it’s creating, whether it’s distributing and broadcasting, whether it’s working inside of different applications, that’s where this is all going. That’s how I’m tying this all together. This is the future. If you make it about apps and about IT and about individual solutions and complexity, it does Pat. It becomes an absolute head scratcher. I would pull my hair out, but in the end, the real question is what are you trying to do? And do you in fact, have a dynamic or a digital fabric that allows you the ultimate extensibility think platform. And that’s what I think Microsoft was really trying to get across. I think it got out there somewhat well.

And of course we didn’t even mention a mountain of Azure updates that are going on, but it really does still go back to that full stack. It’s about Azure platform built on top, applications built on top of that. And then of course all the service layers. In the end, Microsoft wants to be able to get you everything you need end to end. And then, like I said, with the ability to bring in those collaborative apps, whatever you don’t get from Microsoft, they want you to use, you heard it in Microsoft. So that’s what’s going on. That’s Ignite. That’s where we’re going rock and roll.

Patrick Moorhead: No, I appreciate that Danny. And I understand having notepad available. I just can’t shake this, I’m not going to let this go. I totally get having, OneNote inside of my Microsoft email program, I get it. I get all of these things back and forth, but Loop is essentially an application, a new place to go. It needs to be called something and calling it a Canvas. I know I did that, but it has to be called something. Box has that similar challenge, but they came out and actually called themselves something. And there’s a category. It’s like, what category is Loop? I don’t know yet.

Daniel Newman: I don’t know. Collaborative work, future of work. Pat, well, let’s call it digital transformation.

Patrick Moorhead: Listen I think you were one of the first analysts, if not the first to site digital transformation and there’s as many people who hate it and who love that term, but changing your enterprise to move quickly is a good thing regardless of what we want to call it. But hey I’m not going to let this be a dangling chat.

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio