Whether you’re the president of a technology company or a data analyst just starting out in your career, my advice is always the same: always look for opportunities to learn more, discover new trends and upskill your technical abilities. In an industry that moves as fast as technology, I try to heed my own advice – which is why I was so excited to attend Microsoft’s annual Ignite and Envision conference last week. Throughout the four-day event, hosted this year in Orlando, Florida, I was immersed in high-level strategy and deep product dives, and had the opportunity to hear directly from customers. It was inspiring to learn alongside more than 26,000 business decision makers and IT professionals from around the world and share best practices.
This year Microsoft Ignite focused on three major themes that are essential to the future of IT: Security; AI and Data; and IoT and Edge Computing.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, kicked off the conference with an inspiring keynote where he was joined onstage by Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, and Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe, to announce an exciting new partnership: the Open Data Initiative. This new initiative allows companies to harness and action massive volumes of data to deliver world-class, personalized customer experiences in real-time. To learn more about how Adobe, Microsoft and SAP are joining forces to empower their mutual customers, click here.
In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is of critical importance. As a leading global technology company, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help and empower organizations to unlock the security capabilities of the intelligent cloud. This year’s announcements focused on three main areas: Security operations at a global scale that work for our customers; Enterprise-class security technology; and cybersecurity partnerships in a heterogeneous world. I encourage you to learn more and read Rob Lefferts’ blog post Delivering security innovation that puts Microsoft’s experience to work for you.
I was particularly interested to hear more about the work we are doing in AI and Data. As Canadians, we have an enormous opportunity to lead in this revolutionary field. As part of our ongoing commitment to democratizing access to AI, we launched AI for Humanitarian Action. This new $40 million, five-year program is aimed at harnessing the power of AI to aid efforts such as disaster recovery, protecting children, refugees, and displaced people, and promoting respect for human rights. I’m incredibility proud to work for a company that continues to invest in AI for Good and uses its position to empower positive action around the world.
Throughout the week, we also heard from various customers – many of whom flew in from Canada to share insights and learnings from their own digital transformation. For example, Justin Arbuckle, SVP Cloud Engineering and Ryan Yang, VP of Cloud Infrastructure, shared Scotiabank’s journey of incorporating the public cloud into their digital transformation mandate. Using a platform mindset, they are addressing the challenges of scale and velocity in delivering applications that power the bank’s services.
We also heard from PCL Construction which was very timely given the announcement we made around IoT and Edge Computing solutions. Microsoft announced Azure Digital Twins, a new platform that enables customers and partners to create a comprehensive digital model of any physical environment. Canada’s very own PCL Construction is on the leading edge of this technology. As a cloud-first, technologically innovative company, PCL Construction is truly changing the perception of the construction industry. See here to learn more about their incredible work.
As I reflect on Ignite/Envision, I know I left Orlando more knowledgeable, curious, and more eager to continue my learning journey. I’m inspired by the work my Microsoft colleagues are doing around the world and I’m proud to stand beside our Canadian customers who are on the leading edge of this technology. Until next year, I encourage everyone to continue to seek new opportunities to expand your skills and pioneer advancements. To learn about all of the announcements and advancements from this year’s conference, see here.