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Microsoft Summit 2017 makes a splash in Sydney at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Darling Harbour.

More than 3,000 delegates across the business and partner community joined global and local speakers, saw world-leading innovation and explored the incredible impact Australian businesses and Microsoft partner organisations are having as they embrace the new possibilities of digital transformation.

It was designed to deliver the skills, solutions and connections for individuals and businesses to engage, adapt and grow in the digital age.

We invite you to relive some of the highlights from this event.

We’re already thinking about our next Summit event – so if you’re looking forward to doing it all again, register your interest today.

Professor Brian Cox’s Keynote: from the universe to the workplace

Brian Cox Microsoft SUmmitProfessor Brian Cox, Physicist, OBE used the field of Cosmology to explain how our world views have changed over time as scientists challenged current theories. As Einstein challenged the concept of absolute space and absolute time with his own space-time theory, sometimes ideas come along which require a complete reformation of current thoughts. Brian encouraged the audience to be optimistic, think carefully and be inspired by new ideas.


Toni-Townes Whitley’s Keynote: defining digital leadership


Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President Industry, Microsoft defined digital leadership. It’s not enough to transform – you need to transform continually, implement technology responsibly and ensure technology is inclusive. She talked about the Digital Feedback Loop and how companies such as Netflix and ASOS use customer feedback and product telemetry to continually improve, thereby bringing in more customers, who bring in more data which ultimately brings in more customers.


Jenny Lay-Flurrie’s Keynote: empowering people to achieve more

Kenny Singh Microsoft SummitJenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft highlighted the importance of inclusivity in technology, to ensure the 1 billion plus people with a disability in the world can participate. She introduced Microsoft employee Kenny Singh (pictured) who has a visual impairment. He shared how the Seeing AI app gives him more independence, empowerment and dignity. Kenny uses the app to help him identify his protein bars and identify people with whom he is interacting.


David Thodey’s Keynote: Digital transformation: an Australian perspective

David Thodey Microsoft SummitDavid Thodey, Chairman CSIRO, Chair Jobs for NSW provided a perspective on digital transformation in Australia. With a focus on people and culture, he shared four principles to help navigate the journey of transformation. He discussed the importance of creating an environment of continuous reinvention, the power of building a culture founded in trust, and the criticality of a learner mindset for leadership.


Understand the blockchain buzz

Craig Hajduk, Principal Program Manager on the Azure Blockchain Engineering, Microsoft told delegates to believe the hype. Blockchain has the ability to transform businesses and it’s being used in business scenarios right now. By creating a shared source of truth, blockchain provides a degree of security that you don’t get when you’re reconciling a centralised system. And because it removes the need for an intermediary between two businesses, it can reduce the time a process takes from weeks to hours.

Behind the Scenes of Microsoft’s transformation

Steve Clayton Microsoft SummitThis session examined the journey that Microsoft have been on since Satya Nadella became the 3rd CEO in Microsoft’s 43-year history. Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller, Microsoft took a behind the scenes look at this journey and shared insights on how Microsoft cultivated a Growth Mindset. He shared some of the small and big things organisations can do to shift culture and shared Microsoft’s key learnings.


Spotlight on Secure Digital Transformation

With digital transformation on the agenda of virtually every enterprise worldwide, security is not just a technology issue, it’s a business issue. Ann Johnson, Corporate Vice President Enterprise & Cybersecurity, Microsoft talked about Microsoft’s point of view on digital transformation and security and shared the fundamentals of secure digital transformation.

Building an empowered workforce through inclusivity

Jenny Lay-Flurrie Microsoft SummitJenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, shared Microsoft’s accessibility journey, the culture shift required and the steps it has taken to ensure there are no limits to what people can achieve. From incorporating a person dedicated to accessibility in every engineering team; to having a diversity approach to hiring; and supporting employee resource groups, she was able to demonstrate how organisations can build an empowered workforce through inclusivity.


Keynote: the new frontiers of innovation

Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller, Microsoft hosted this future-forward session inspired by Satya Nadella’s book Hit Refresh looking at three new frontiers of innovation as artificial intelligence, mixed reality and quantum computing. He shared that when we think about AI—which is simply defined as machines exhibiting intelligence—it’s ultimately about people. It’s about amplifying human ingenuity through intelligent technology.

Lawrence Crumpton Microsoft SummitLawrence Crumpton, HoloLens Solutions & Partners, Microsoft Asia Pacific showed how Mixed Reality can create a seamless interface between our ideas and reality, and used real examples of how it is being put to use to enhance skills development and innovative collaboration within industry.

David Reilly, Director, Microsoft Quantum Sydney(pictured) dove into the fascinating and challenging world of Quantum Computing and the deep commitment and investment that Microsoft is making to create the world’s first truly scalable Quantum computer. David unpacked the basics of Quantum and underlined it as a truly transformative technology that could fundamentally change the world.

Industry Highlights

The message was clear: transform and prosper or be disrupted. Delegates heard industry insights and learnings from peers.

Microsoft Summit Industry

Public Sector

  • Gary Sterrenberg, CIO, Department of Human Services discussed their AI journey and introduced Nadia, an interactive online assistant being used by NDIS recipients. Nadia was developed with direct input from differently-abled Australians and has achieved a 92 per cent approval rating from test users.


  • Flight Centre is using data to predict travel trends ahead of time and feeding the market in anticipation for the trend.
  • Endeavour Group is using technology to connect their ecosystem and provide customers a true omni channel experience.
  • Michael Hill is launching a new brand targeting a younger audience and is amplifying ecommerce over physical stores to meet the needs of their younger audience.

Financial Services

  • Delegates heard from Perpetual Corporate TrustReinventure and additiv about how financial institutions are using cloud as a bedrock for ecosystems. Ingrained data and security services are enabling these organisations to collaborate on common agendas and share the costs in the process.
  • Westpac shared how AI is being used to augment human interaction and move toward a channel-less engagement ie. the ability for customers engage on any channel. While Hyper Anna demonstrated ‘Anna’ a virtual data scientist being used today by Australian Financial Services firms to reduce reporting time.


  • Silverchain is piloting HoloLens in a new approach that enables hospital-level care in a patient’s home. This virtual hospital runs at half the price of a traditional hospital and it’s estimated could reduce number of people in hospital by 40 per cent.


  • ACT GovernmentWyndham City Council and Department of Premier & Cabinet, South Australia joined a panel session examining digital transformation for citizen engagement across three tiers of government. South Australia Government shared its digital wallet and offered an opportunity to collaborate with other departments interested in leveraging this technology.


  • RMIT showed how their students are able to design and build structures using their HoloLens application.
  • Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) shared how they are using data to predict student learning behaviours in metro and remote schools.
  • Griffith University shared their vision for how they are using data to move beyond the culture of mass education for their students.

Other commercial industries

  • Snowden Group shared how they take a ‘start-up’ approach to transformation and the lessons along the way, including what it means to think big and move fast.
  • Pact Group shared the tangible outcomes of IoT in a business; how they are embracing new shifts such as machine learning and AI; and learning from new model of cloud partnership.
  • Ooyala shared how they are how they are enabling their customers to transform and compete in the hyper-disrupted market, media.

Register your interest in attending the next Summit event