Your Inspire 2019 debrief: What Microsoft sees for the year ahead

  • Posted on August 6, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
MS Inspire 2019

This article was originally written by Avanade alumn Alim Somani.

Avanade alumn Dave Seybold also participated in this blog.

It’s no longer news that the world is increasingly digital. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are ubiquitous and infused into our daily experiences in deep ways across all our devices. We’re at a tipping point where GDP is so digitally-driven that every company – including yours – is now a tech company, regardless of industry. It’s why tech hiring in non-tech industries is growing faster, by double digits, compared to tech hiring in “traditional” tech industries. And it’s easy to see why the auto industry hires far more software engineers than mechanical engineers. 

Attending Microsoft Inspire 2019 left us charged with terrific insights for operating in this ever-digital landscape. Inspired by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and humbled by the tremendous awards and recognition Avanade received from Microsoft, we came together to share with you our learnings about the question that we ask ourselves every day to help us best serve clients: What’s ahead?

Broaden your thinking
One of the key themes of Inspire was this: It’s not enough for companies to find more ways to take advantage of technology; companies need to broaden their thinking to include new ways to adopt and use technology. 

In other words, think about the consequences of using technology. Consider the impact your technology has on everyone around you. And delve into the processes where technology serves as a central tenant to your strategy. 

This shows up in various ways. For example, think about cybersecurity that protects information at the edge and beyond. It shows up as well in democratizing digital so that everyone can participate in the digital economy. And it appears in an array of ethical concerns – not just around data privacy – but around AI and how it can reinforce bias if used improperly. When you think about technology, there’s much more to consider than ever before.

Now, it’s about co-creation
Fortunately, Inspire also pointed to collaborating in new ways. Instead of engaging technology providers that want to sell technology to you, look for partners that want to co-create solutions with you. And those solutions should address not just technology gaps, but also should align to your business needs and strategic goals. 

Look for technology partners that want to understand your desired business outcomes and want to team with you to meet them. Be prepared to engage with these partners in broader, more strategic ways than ever before.

It’s time for Teams
Inspire highlighted the growing importance of another type of team: Microsoft Teams, the new hub for intelligent collaboration in Office 365. It’s easy – but misleading – to think of Teams as a replacement for Skype for Business. It’s all that…and so much more: an ever-expanding canvas for your team members and their workplace experience. Teams is a platform for your business processes, innovation and productivity. 

Don’t underestimate Teams. It can, quite literally, help save lives. A case in point is how Avanade helped Ascension Health. Thanks to Teams, patients at Ascension Health now get faster cancer diagnoses and treatment. The healthcare provider’s traditional Tumor Board required specialists from various disciplines to meet in person to review cases. But, getting everyone in the same room at the same time wasn’t easy. So, we worked with Ascension to co-create a Teams-based solution that empowers clinicians to access, share and comment on case files from wherever they are, then track diagnoses and treatments. The Teams-enabled Tumor Board is a new best practice that increases clinician participation, improves quality of care, and triples the number of patients who can be evaluated.

The honors go to…
Partnerships like that earned Avanade the “Microsoft US Teams Growth Partner of the Year” award. Teams isn’t the only technology where Microsoft recognized Avanade at Inspire. We were also awarded:

- Global Digital Transformation Partner of the Year
- Global Internet of Things (IoT) Partner of the Year
- US Dynamics 365 for Field Service Partner of the Year

Beyond that, Avanade was singled out from more than 1,000 Microsoft partner companies by Microsoft Corporate VP, Gavriella Schuster for our record in helping clients with their digital transformation journey and migration to Microsoft Azure.


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