It’s that time of year again, when Microsoft reveals a slew of new products and updates at the Inspire conference. Even though it was online only this year, there was still loads of important news for partners.
No need to worry if you missed it; Westcoast Cloud have got your back. We gave our experts a mission to watch all the key sessions and bring you back the choicest insights. Here’s a rundown of all their most important notes from Inspire 2021…
One of the biggest themes to come out of the event (it was mentioned in almost every single presentation) was the introduction of Windows 365. Hybrid and remote working is Microsoft’s hot topic this year. The aim of Windows 365 is to give employees a smoother experience of Windows on any device. It’s an OS streamed through the cloud – Microsoft are describing it as a ‘Cloud PC’.
What does that mean in practice? Users can stream all their apps, tools, data, and settings from the cloud through any device, without needing to go through a portal or virtual desktop. That includes Mac, iPad, Linux, and Android devices. It builds on Azure Virtual Desktop, but with a simpler virtualisation process.
We’ve already spoken to quite a few partners who are interested in how this could work for customers, so feel free to drop us a message if you’d like to talk it through. You can also read Microsoft’s full press release on how Windows 365 works.
Continuing the hybrid working theme, Microsoft also had an exciting announcement around collaboration software. At the moment, it takes a few steps to collaborate in Dynamics during a Teams call – but Microsoft are now integrating Dynamics fully into Teams, making it much easier to edit records in real time. What’s more, Microsoft are also eliminating the licensing tax, making this available to any user, at no additional cost.
Participants on a video call will be able to click a Dynamics icon while they’re in the meeting, open up a CRM record, and all contribute at the same time. Teams will recognise who is in the meeting automatically and bring up the correct records.
For salespeople, it just makes life that little bit easier. No more switching windows or programs. Just look up the opportunity notes, existing relationships, financial history and more in one place. It can also boost productivity for service engineers, finance teams, field technicians, and so on. You can read more about it on Microsoft’s Dynamics blog.
Obviously, there were loads of other announcements at Inspire, and we can’t cover them all in one go (without making it a 70-page snooze-fest). But here are a few of the other key updates that we think will be relevant for your customers.
We’ve been expecting it for a while, and now it’s in public-preview mode. Lighthouse is a managed security service for SMBs, giving you a centralised view of all threats. It promises to make cybersecurity much easier for MSPs – although it’s worth noting that customers will need to be using M365 Business Premium to access it. Read more about M365 Lighthouse here.
This one’s not a new product, but a notably improved one. Microsoft are adding more than 20 fresh integrations to Viva, their solution for employee experience management. Those include vendors like ServiceNow, Workday and Qualtrics, and they’re due to launch from the autumn. You can find out more about the Viva updates here.
As well as launching Windows 365, which is built on AVD, there were also quite a few improvements announced concerning AVD itself. These included better integration with Azure Active Directory, app streaming as a service, and smoother onboarding. You can find out more in this blog.
Those were our biggest takeaways from our digital jaunt at Inspire, but there were heaps of other announcements too. You can go through them in detail with Microsoft’s ‘Book of News’. And as always, we’re very happy to chat – so if you have any questions, feel free to fire them over to any of the Westcoast Cloud team.