Last week, Agile IT sent a team to Microsoft Inspire, the annual Microsoft partner conference where we get to learn about the newest technology in the Microsoft ecosystem, both from independent software vendors as well as Microsoft themselves. Over three days, we were treated to demos and learning sessions of real-life applications in productivity, security, first-line workforce and augmented reality. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Corenote on Day 3 was one of the highlights of the week as he discussed both Microsoft’s mission and culture and the future of technology (See part 1 of our recap here) before showing off how he personally uses the Microsoft 365 productivity stack to run one of the largest companies in the world.
Satya Nadella’s Modern Workplace With Microsoft 365
It is uncommon for a CEO to give a tech demo, particularly one that highlights his personal workflow. Nadella’s was particularly interesting, as it moved between Android, Windows 10 and iOS devices seamlessly while showing off some lesser known features in Outlook and Teams while showing off transcription and searchable meetings in Microsoft Stream.
“I want to show you my own personal use of Microsoft 365. I have multiple devices in my life, I have a Surface Studio at work and at home, in fact, Surface Go has really been a game-changer for me, I have this early access Panos gave me over LTE, it’s just awesome.”
Open Loops, Inner Loops, and Outer Loops
Nadella breaks his communication up into three distinct groups, which he calls loops.
- Open loop (Outlook) – Communications with anyone, inside or outside the company
- Inner Loop (Microsoft Teams) – Communications with the teams he works with on a day to day basis
- Outer Loop (Yammer) – Communications with the company as a whole
“And then I use multiple phones along with it. So, let me start, in fact, this is an Android phone, which to me is a Microsoft 365 end point. And what I want to start with is my communications diet. I use three things throughout the day: I use Outlook as my open loop. This is my ability to communicate with any one of you or anyone inside the company. Microsoft Teams, that’s my inner loop, that’s how I stay in touch with the groups as well as the projects that I’m closely working on and closely working with. And then Yammer, that’s my open loop, that is the ability to really make sure that I’m in touch with what the 100,000 people are really buzzing about. That’s the open loop, inner loop, outer loop. That’s how I think about the taxonomy of my communication.”
Among the features Nadella showed off were Do Not Disturb,
“Outlook can be your universal inbox. So, I have, in fact, Outlook.com, my Office 365 email, as well as Gmail all — in fact, Outlook is the best Gmail client. If you don’t trust me, check it out.”
Teams was shown off to great effect, showing how everything in a project or team is tied together, including files, discussions, tasks, Power BI dashboard and Notes.
“The thing about Teams as I said, is it helps me really stay close to the teams that I’m working with. So, this is the leadership team at Microsoft that I’m, obviously, working with. The project getting ready for this keynote, believe me, this has been a lot of work.
And, for example, one of the things that Teams has done is create this user experience scaffolding, because it’s not just the communications or the messaging, but it’s all of the other artifacts that are required for us to collaborate.”
“Now, Yammer, as I said, is my outer loop. In fact, religiously, every day, I get a Yammer Digest in Outlook, I click on it, I go to Yammer, I see the News Feed, and it always sort of scares me what I’ll read here. But, nevertheless, it’s the 100,000 people at the company basically talking about anything that’s top of mind for them.”
“The last thing I want to show you is Edge. Now, with Edge, you can log in with your AAD, or Azure Active Directory, and that means you can now start searching.
So, let’s say I search for Gav and I now get — there she is. This is from our AAD, in fact, I use this as the best way to find people. I can even go look at something like where is our exact office location, so the map is right there. I’m just using Bing, but Bing now indexes, because I’m logged in with AAD, all of the internal information.
The other thing I love about Edge is the ability to really make it a multi-device experience. So, in this case, this is a nice article. Maybe you came across this over the weekend from The Guardian, which is about Minecraft and how Minecraft is being used to teach kids to get into reading and they’re building all these Treasure Island worlds and that’s what causes them to go and now read the book even.
Say I want to continue on PC, I can just go in and say, “Here’s this, take it to the Surface.” And now let me switch to Surface, and you’ll have that pretty much on your device.”
Android and iPhone
The Microsoft 365 Launcher is another unifier, bringing an up to the minute surfacing of important info, including recent messages as well as notifications from across your Microsoft 365 infrastructure.
“Now, the other thing is the launcher on Android — this is, again, something that if you’re an Android user, you should download and use, helps me get to things that are — like the people I’m interacting with, but the two apps that I use a lot is Cortana as well as To Do. Now, To Do is something that I use to manage all my lists, both personal and work lists and share lists, again, a huge difference in how I work. “
“Now, let me move to another phone I use, this happens to be an iPhone. To me, again, it’s just another M365 end point.”
“This is Stream. So, you record any video and Stream automatically converts it into a transcript that is searchable, so that means now I can search for all the times that Azure was mentioned or Microsoft 365 was mentioned and just basically goes to that part of the video stream. All the people in the video stream have been identified. And so, I say I want to just go to the places where this person showed up, and I can just go and just go straight to the segment of the video where a particular person was speaking.
So, you can search through the transcript, you can search by people. So, it’s a very, very cool application.”
The rapid emergence and importance of no-code and low-code solutions cannot be overstated. To demonstrate how Power Apps is providing value to use cases outside the standard M365 application stack, Nadella cut to a video of Heathrow Airport, where a security officer was able to streamline their reporting workflow by creating his own application after teaching himself how to use Power Apps. As the video closed, Samit Saini, now an IT User Adoption Specialist was brought on stage to discuss the experience.
SATYA NADELLA: And then how did this particular project sort of come to you?
SAMIT: So, when it comes to processing, we get so involved with just inputting data and we get so many problems where we say, “Oh, we need this input data and so on.”
So, when we had this translation book, we can’t carry it around, we want to make this into a digital process. It was so easy just looking at PowerApps to just transform a book into a data tool.
SATYA NADELLA: So, you just went and read the blog and turned into a developer?
SAMIT: That’s it.
SATYA NADELLA: That’s awesome.
Hololens and Remote Assist
Another hot topic throughout Microsoft Inspire 2018 was empowering first-line workers. Making up 80% of the global workforce, first line workers range from truck drivers to retail clerks and field engineers. In the next demo, we saw how a field technician, faced with a technical problem at a water pumping station was able to use Hololens to visually communicate with a support engineer who could see through her eyes, and then draw notes directly in the environment in front of her to deliver a solution immediately.
“Now, these 2 billion first-line workers, right now they use their hands to do their jobs, so that means that they’re putting their devices down when it’s time to get back to work.
This all changes with mixed reality. What that means is it opens up their workflows to you and your businesses.
Today, we’re going to take a look at an example of the integration between Dynamics 365 for Field Service and Remote Assist for HoloLens — leveraging shared data and content from Microsoft 365 apps.”
The Future of the Workplace with IOT, AI, Mixed Reality . . . and Microsoft Teams
Wrapping things up was a powerful demonstration of a near-future meeting environment. As two guests joined the meeting, they were recognized with AI and computer vision. As they spoke, every word was instantly transcribed onto a Surface Hub running Teams. They discussed a smart building project, and their follow up items were intelligently identified and tracked. When it came time to discuss new hardware for the product, one of the attendees donned a Hololens and joined a VR conference using HoloBeam. The shared environment came up on the Surface Hub, and they were all able to see the proposed hardware model, as well as exploded views of the circuit board.