Ignite 2019 – Day 1

Ignite never fails to delver a vast conference with an overwhelming amount of information!  And the scale of breakfast is awe-inspiring!

Game Plan

This year I am lucky enough to be attending with three colleagues which means we can be strategic about the sessions we attend.  While I am planning on attending a wide variety of sessions, my focus is definitely around identity, security and compliance as I have worked with many clients where these areas are the priority items that need to be ticked before any other workloads can be implemented.

While my schedule has maybe 2 or 3 sessions per time slot, I am realistic that I will attend only 3-4 sessions a day and talk with e product teams in the booths in the Hub for the rest of the time.

This year day 1 got off to a different start compared with previous years as Satya Nadella did a vision keynote and then there were four separate technology key notes. 

The Vision

Link to the recording

The vison key note was a good overview of the breadth of tools that Microsoft delivers, and in 1.5 hours, it was crammed with a ton of demos!  How so much managed to be covered is a feat of fast talking!

I certainly took away some ideas of things to go look at later on:

  • Azure Arc – manage cloud multiple data centres, including AWS!
  • Azure Synapse – mind-blowingly large and fast analytics in Azure
  • Azure Quantum – seems to be in the key note every year as it progresses slowly but surely to a wider audience
  • Project Cortex – A new intelligent way of converting data into knowledge

And the Power Platform has been shuffled:

  • Flow becomes Power Automate
  • PowerApps becomes Power Apps
  • Power BI is happy to stay as Power BI
  • New to the party is Power Virtual Assistant
  • Power Platform is happy as Power Platform

Tech Keynote – Microsoft’s roadmap for security, compliance, and identity

Link to the recording

I honestly found it difficult to choose which of the four keynotes to go through but in the end opted for the security keynote as the others were being covered by different colleagues, and my focus this year is this subject area.

The tech key note had the usual warnings:  99.9% of attacks could be blocked by using MFA.  These are great but I suspect that the audience was aware of these kinds of stats and converted to the tech!

There were some key items that need to be investigated further:

  • Management of authentication mechanisms
  • Improved management of users’ permissions to access apps and entitlements
  • Microsoft Compliance Score

What’s new and next for Microsoft search

Link to recording

Search has been a contentious issue for years in the SharePoint space as the Modern experience does not offer the same capabilities and flexibility of the Classic experience.  Last year the integration with Bing was announced, and this year I wanted to see more capabilities for customisation.

Based on this session, they are coming:

  • Results Types
  • Adaptive Cards to provide customisation of results
  • Custom verticals (previously scopes)
  • Custom results pages
  • The ability to extend with SPFx

And of course, there was the traditional teaser of what is on the roadmap

Intelligent automation with Microsoft Flow

Link to recording

Final session of the day was on Flow, no wait, Power Automate!

This is such a hot topic that I really wanted to make sure I stay on top of what is available within this shiny, newly named product.

They made some bold claims: The only automation platform your organisation needs.

Whether that is true or not remains to be seen as the Azure Logic Apps component was not mentioned and we see that as a more enterprise scale tool than Flow was.  What was interesting was that the Dynamics365 Business Processes were included in this new product.

The inclusion of management connectors was intriguing as this is something that a lot of clients want in order to govern their Power Platform environments.

Summary

Day 1 has kicked off the week with some great sessions, and already my focus for the rest of the week is evolving and changing to reflect what I have seen and learned so far.