The C3 team was at Microsoft Ignite in force at the beginning of the month, and there is a lot to share. The annual event features a slew of product releases, some of which are rolling out and some of which are “coming soon.” We counted, and there were about 175 separate releases, but rest assured you probably don’t need all 175 (yet). So, here’s a quick recap of our top takeaways.
This year’s event was big –even bigger than last year: we’re talking thousands of top IT professionals from across the country crowded into a conference center. And while some may enjoy (literally) bumping into all these new friends, there’s some good news for the introverts and binge-watchers in the crowd: you all can catch the on-demand sessions at your leisure.
One of the biggest announcements at the conference was rebranding Flow into Power Automate. With this change, Microsoft is adding robotic process automation (RPA) to Power Automate to help automate repetitive tasks.
Power Automate is part of the group of applications newly minted as “The Power Platform,” also includes Power Apps, and Power Bi which are the keys to creating automated workflow extensions through the Microsoft and Dynamics 365 platform. One of the new features announced is Power Virtual Agents, which will allow people to build “no-code” intelligent bots.
Front and center in every conversation with Microsoft are security and compliance. From Azure Sentinel to Compliance Score to Microsoft Defender ATP, there was something for everyone with respect to security and compliance. This post provides a good summary of the highlights.
Microsoft is “all in” on Teams, so there were a number of announcements at Ignite including private channels (yeah!), multi-window, and Linux clients. Adding to the list is the general availability of Microsoft Whiteboard, collaboration with Citrix on virtual environments, and easier access for Firstline Workers.
SharePoint and One Drive got their moment in the sun with several announcements summarized here. Increased protection of content was the theme with sensitivity labels for Teams Groups and SharePoint sites. Additionally, Microsoft is expanding the ability to automatically detect and label sensitive files. Information barriers, due out in 2Q of 2020, is a development to watch that will add additional governance to your environment. Finally, the automatic expiration of external user access will help ensure that personnel outside the company don’t have access longer than they should.
The SharePoint news wasn’t just about improved governance. Microsoft also made a bunch of announcements aimed at improving the user experience and “bringing data to life.” Lists and libraries get an expanded view to provide “more visual space” while adding Power Apps into SharePoint libraries will add more business logic and conditional formatting directly into your forms. Stuck on design ideas? The SharePoint Lookbook will give you ideas and templates to design around.
Microsoft acquires Mover. This is a big move that will really shake up the SharePoint migration market. Mover is a solid tool with a very wide range of data sources it can pull from – and great news for those trying to move files up to the cloud. However, while having the tool is nice, moving across different platforms, especially to SharePoint, still requires some thought, business process analysis, and design.
Microsoft announced that a new version of Project is rolling out, complete with a new subscription plan. Early indications are this is one of those rollouts where some features are available and some are still being released. Resource management, budget analysis, and expense tracking are still being worked on.
Despite the crowds, this event is a must-attend for anyone that lives and breathes the Microsoft product set. The access to the product managers, insights on new capabilities, and networking opportunities are all first-rate. Hope to see you there next year!
Bill Wootton is the Founder and President of C3 Integrated Solutions, a full-service IT provider based in Arlington, VA that specializes in securing our nation’s Defense Industrial Base through cloud-based solutions and industry leading partners. Bill is passionate about bringing cyber-awareness, and cyber-maturity to the nation’s Defense Industrial Base, working with clients to help them achieve CMMC and NIST 800-171 compliance by providing MSP, security and Office 365 integration services.