Announced at Microsoft’s digital Inspire, 21-22 July 2020, were a number of exciting new features and developments for the partner community to incorporate into their services and solution offerings.
Below, we summarise the key announcements:
- Azure Lighthouse has had multiple enhancements, including MFA and Azure Privileged Identity Management support for just-in-time access.
- Launched at Inspire, as part of Microsoft’s hybrid portfolio, Azure Stack HCI provides the easiest and fastest way to integrate datacentres with the cloud, and enabling the management of deployments and Azure resources directly from the Azure Portal.
- Enhancements to Azure Migrate create improved datacentre assessments, supporting use of Configuration Management Database data and enabling Azure VMware Solutions assessments.
- Currently in public preview, Last access for Azure Blob Storage, will improve customer data visibility, and enable data lifecycle management according to access time.
- Microsoft Lists will help users organise workloads, and track applicable information - such as task issues, asset availability, inventory records. In addition to the availability of easy-to-start templates, Power Platform integrations can be created to enhance Lists. The roll out of Microsoft Lists will begin late July 2020 (Lists home), and become available in Microsoft Teams (Lists app in Teams) the following month.
- Yammer has been redesigned, with groups renamed as ‘communities’, and incorporating various new features, such as support for external guests.
- The launch of an interactive Yammer app, Communities, enables every employee in an organisation - including firstline workers - to take part in their Yammer communities.
- Microsoft has introduced new device management capabilities to support in-person and remote-attendance meetings, with customers able to manage their Microsoft Teams Rooms devices either in-house or via a partner through newly introduced features in the Teams Admin Center, or with Teams Room Premium, on an outsourced model to Microsoft or a certified Microsoft partner.
- In August 2020, Microsoft will launch their new Power BI personal app for Microsoft Teams, creating easier access to Power BI reports within Teams and a more streamlined sharing functionality.
- Teams is developing, moving on from being a hub purely for teamwork to a hub also for business processes, with Power Platform enhancements making the creation, deployment, and management of apps possible without leaving Teams. Power Apps and Power Virtual Agent apps and chatbots can also now access data held in Microsoft Dataflex, the relational database built into Teams.
- Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie, currently in public preview, will enable Android devices to become walkie-talkies, enabling immediate and secure voice communication over the cloud, accessing via a cellular network or WiFi.
- To help businesses through the process of managing the return of employees to the office following the coronavirus lockdown, Microsoft has launched a Power Platform solution, comprising individual customisable solutions that fully integrate and can be deployed at scale:
- Location Readiness supports the use of critical factors - COVID-19 infection rates, or production line supply availability, for example - to determine a business premises’ readiness for reopening.
- Employee Health and Safety Management gives employees tools to play an individual part in ensuring a safe and productive working environment - enabling remote work check-in, and self-screening prior to entering the office building, for example.
- To actively manage health and safety within the office location, with Workplace Care Management, businesses can identify areas for improvement regulating the health policies within the business location as well as import data from contact tracing systems to identify potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
- Location Management supports the business in keeping the office premises open on an ongoing basis, providing tools to monitor occupancy rates, for example, observance of safety procedures and other premises-relevant policies.
- Dynamics 365 Voice simplifies Dynamics 365’s integration with third-party business applications to provide real-time feedback.
- Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection now offers Account Protection and Loss Prevention.
Security, compliance, and identity
- As part of Azure Sentinel’s developments, new connecters simplify the process of obtaining security insights across the business, including from networks, firewalls, endpoint protection and vulnerability management solutions.
- Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP) (available currently in pubic preview) provides an integrated experience with DLP in Office 365, including Teams, and DLP for cloud apps through Microsoft Cloud App Security.
Head of Vuzion, Craig Gordon, says, “ There have been some major improvements and enhancements this year to enable the channel to continue to change, adapt and respond so solutions meet the needs of our customers. The Teams updates to enhance remote working and the Power Platform solutions to aid organisations returning to offices, for example, are some great solutions for partners to build on.
“My one piece of advice is focus. Pick a solution area and/or an industry and really focus on driving deeper value in that area. If you have multiple areas of expertise, pick your best offering or the industry that you have the most customers in and simply ‘put your best foot forward’ Why? You’ll get much more traction with Microsoft sellers, a bigger chance of leads and ultimately a better brand for what you do best.”
You can find more details about Microsoft’s Inspire announcements through their Microsoft Inspire 2020 Book of News.
Vuzion is also running a series of post-Inspire webinars, looking at the key themes behind the announcements (4 August 2020), giving a Modern Workplace update (5 August 2020), and with a look at the Azure and Biz Apps news (6 August 2020).”
Visit Vuzion’s Events and Training courses page for more information about Vuzion’s Inspired webinars - and contact any of the Vuzion team if you’d like further details about any of the above announcements - or if you’d like more information about becoming a Vuzion partner (email email@example.com).