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Data Sovereignty, Hybrid Work, Outer Space and More: Key Announcements from Microsoft Inspire 2022 as shared by Dave Sasson, Chief Strategy Officer

By Dave Sasson

As we close the door on the third year of digital Microsoft Inspire Keynotes and gatherings (although I was thrilled to attend in person), the tech giant has cemented their commitment to the Azure Cloud. This is perhaps best exemplified by their new government and public sector-focused Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty solution. They have also adapted to the “new normal” of hybrid work environments with several new cloud-based solutions. And let’s not forget their brand-new partner program for companies building out Azure-based solutions in outer space.

This touches on another key theme seen at Inspire: partnership. In addition to the space program, Microsoft have launched a success program for ISVs, as well as updated and improved the Azure Migration and Modernization Program.

Whether you’re a Microsoft partner or one of the many hundreds of thousands who rely on them to grow your business, here are 6 Microsoft Inspire takeaways that I think everyone should be aware of.

1-Data sovereignty is bringing Azure to the government

Microsoft showcased Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, their new data sovereignty solution. Cloud for Sovereignty is tailored for government agencies and customers, providing the security, transparency, and governance features public sector organizations require.

“It’s all built on what we have come to expect from the public cloud – improved resiliency, agility cost, and scale economics,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “This builds on our innovation with Azure confidential computing, which is already helping customers bring their most sensitive workloads to the cloud”.

One of Cloud for Sovereignty’s main features includes the introduction of Sovereign Landing Zones. Built on the Azure Landing Zone, the Sovereign Landing Zone uses Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) and Policy-as-Code (PaC) to provide organizations with a streamlined workflow and architecture for enforcing policy controls and regulatory compliance.

Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft’s CVP of Security, Compliance, and Identity, elaborates on the potential of Sovereign Landing Zones: “While respecting the public sector sovereignty customers can specify the country or region of the service secure and control their regulated data and operate with their desired controlled and policies in place.”

If you need help with data sovereignty and data compliance, the team at Hanu can help with the following:

  • Get enterprise-level visibility of compliance via executive and operational dashboards
  • Monitor IT compliance, corporate governance and regulatory compliance controls
  • Receive real-time alerts of control failures and directions for remediation
  • Be up-to-date on policies from regulatory organizations, ensuring compliance frameworks
  • Have full synchronization of new services with regulatory compliance frameworks
  • Reduce time, cost and complexity of audit preparation

2-Hybrid work is here to stay, and Azure is here to help

Work from home, hybrid work – whatever you want to call it, it’s no longer a pandemic phenomenon. It’s our new reality going forward.

Microsoft knows this, and they’ve adapted accordingly. At Inspire, they unveiled a host of new capabilities for Teams and M365 to enhance organizational digital experiences while driving new collaboration opportunities.

One standout that was announced is Excel Live (look out for the launch in August 2022). Excel Live lets users collaborate on workbooks directly in Teams meeting windows. Using the same Share tool as PowerPoint Live, users can now drop in provisional numbers or edit formulas directly in teams. Best of all, this happens in real-time within your meeting, letting users share a spreadsheet while keeping everyone’s video visible.

Another new and important feature is Microsoft’s Digital Contact Center. The platform combines Dynamics 365, Azure, and Teams to provide call and contact centers with the ability to engage customers with omnichannel communication. Digital Contact Center uses Nuance – Microsoft’s newly acquired AI tool – to communicate through video, voice, and text and provide customers with faster, more personalized resolutions to their concerns.

If you’re among the many organizations struggling to adapt to the new hybrid normal, Hanu can help:

Microsoft 365 Management: Hanu empowers companies with an increasingly mobile workforce—all enhanced by 24x7x365 support, continuity, protection and migration services.

Microsoft 365 Security & Governance: Hanu works to deliver powerful email continuity, email hygiene and threat protection solutions for Office 365.

Microsoft 365 Migrations: For Managed Office 365 Productivity Suite customers, Hanu takes steps to manage transitions with minimal burden on your IT teams.

3-The Azure Migration and Modernization Program gets a facelift

Several exciting changes for the Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) were just announced.

AMMP, which gives over 500 partners best practices, tools, incentives, and access to Microsoft experts, is now providing over 2.5 times greater incentives for SQL and Windows Server migration. Additionally, Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure and Azure Well Architected Frameworks’ best practices have been expanded and updated. ISVs can now integrate their own IP into Azure Migrate, enabling new opportunities for third-party application developers.

If you’re currently working with a Microsoft partner enrolled in AMMP, be sure to ask them about the new incentives they receive that can be passed on to you.

Curious about what a cloud migration and modernization look like? Here’s how we do it:

  • Drive Your Application Transformation: Set a clear path for the full transformation of applications, reconfigurations, communication services, code changes, software development and database transformation, and tap into true SaaS enablement and performance.
  • Modernize Your Business Capabilities: Modernization of complex, aging application portfolios may focus on the oldest platforms rather than the most valuable capabilities. Design, plan and budget your transformation agenda through the entire life cycle of your solutions.
  • Accelerate innovation by building apps in the cloud: Gain speed without compromising security or quality by embracing Microsoft cloud-native approaches like serverless, microservices, and Kubernetes solutions.

4-From manufacturing to non-profit, Microsoft is creating industry-specific solutions

This year’s Inspire conference saw the introduction of six clouds offering hyper-focused on specific industries. These include manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, non-profit, sustainability, and retail.

Described as “vertical expressions” of the Azure Cloud, Microsoft is encouraging partners to use these tools to tailor their solutions according to industry. The new bundles give companies in each vertical access to industry-specific tools, best practices, and data models that leverage the existing Microsoft suite of infrastructure services and software.

Alysa Taylor, corporate vice-president of business applications and global industry, elaborates:

“Embedded industry experts among our employee base are informing our priorities – doctors working alongside engineering teams on healthcare challenges, retail executives imagining new customer experiences, financial experts helping us understand fintech, banking and payments, and non-profit leaders shaping our vision and solutions to impact those helping others. Designed with industry challenges in mind, these clouds can enable organizations to jump ahead and deliver value at record pace. This is because they provide an on-ramp to the broader portfolio of Microsoft cloud services, enabling customers to begin with the areas where the need for technology transformation is most urgent.”

These changes are exciting for the team at Hanu, as we’ve known the importance of creating industry-specific solutions for years. We expect these new solutions to help us deepen our industry practice over the coming months.

5-Microsoft heads to outer space – and takes their partners with them

To drive further innovation in space technologies, bring the cloud to the farthest corners of the earth, and catalyze space data usage, Microsoft has unveiled the Azure Space Partner Community.

For those unaware, Microsoft launched Azure Space in 2020. The program provides cloud capabilities and space technologies to government and relevant industry partners. This includes machine learning, augmented intelligence, edge computing, and (of course) the cloud.

The Azure Space Partner Community, which includes ISVs, manufacturers, data providers, and space operators, will receive access to Azure Space tech first, prior to general availability. They will also get perks – such as discounts and exclusive marketing opportunities – for the purposes of accelerating Microsoft’s push into the Space industry.

6-ISVs get new tools and support to meet growing SaaS demand

As ISV’s become a more integral part of the Microsoft partner system – and as customers come to rely more on them for completing customized, innovative solutions – the demand for SaaS continues to grow exponentially.

To tap into these opportunities for ISVs and their customers, Microsoft created the ISV Success Program.

The Success Program provides new benefits to ISVs looking to build applications with best-in-class architecture and grow their sales on the commercial marketplace. This includes new developer tooling, cloud sandbox features, a Microsoft ISV community, and business resources.

When available to the general public this fall, the program will provide a path to success more tailored for ISVs working in the Cloud Partner Program.

Even with the new Success Program, ISVs can still benefit from the help of a managed service provider. At Hanu, we provide a comprehensive and tailored model for ISV application migration to public cloud. We offer a flexible & customizable strategy and engagement model powering application innovation, as well as help on-boarding to Azure Marketplace to gain exposure and reach millions of potential customers around the world.

If you’re like me, Microsoft Inspire 2022 has left you very excited for the year to come.

And, as always, if you’re interested in discussing how any of the new developments from the conference can be applied to grow your business, don’t hesitate to reach out.