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Microsoft Ignite 2017 - Executive Summary


Microsoft Ignite, the company`s flagship conference dedicated to the entire business software and cloud spectrum, kicked off in Orlando, Florida last week. For us, the Ignite is not only a marathon week of networking, deep discussions and client visits, but also tons of news about Microsoft`s push to accelerate Digital Transformation for business and enterprise IT. We expected to hear some page-turning announcements – and we weren’t disappointed! Read our executive summary to learn about the top 3 announcements we found most thrilling for the future of communications & collaboration.

MICROSOFT TEAMS & SKYPE FOR BUSINESS


Skype for Business will be migrated into Microsoft Teams

There was much speculation about it, and finally it is happening: Skype for Business Online is being replaced by Microsoft Teams! Sounds shattering? Not at all! With this move, Microsoft continues to pave the way from Unified Communications to Intelligent Communications (IC) by making Microsoft Teams THE “hub for teamwork” within Office 365 and the core communications client for Office 365 customers.

By the way, did you know 125,000 organizations globally have been using Microsoft Teams since March 2017? Also, the Skype for Business usage has doubled in the last 12 months and more than 3 billion minutes are processed on the global SKYPE network.

After the integration is successfully in place, Microsoft Teams will be the new Front-End Application with Modern UI capabilities for the end user and collaboration and productivity tools all in one fat client, including OneNote, OneDrive, Excel, Word, Persistant Chat / Chat History, Telephony, Meetings, Conferencing, Planner, and Sharepoint Sites.

As said, in Microsoft Teams users can utilize any of the above mentioned tools within the client itself. No need to send, transfer, or share files externally. The previous concept of “Carbon Copy” will go away as all conversations are stored within that Team conversation and can be reviewed to summarize activities any time. Users can easily link Sharepoint sites or integrate Bots within Microsoft Teams to create automatic meeting minutes in One Note – just to mention a few examples.

The first new calling and conferencing features added to Teams will be inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers (including hold, call transfer, voicemail, and audio conferencing). Participants can then easily join a Teams meeting from any device.

However, what sounds like a force for enterprises to take their Skype for Business infrastructure to Microsoft Teams immediately, is actually a little less time critical. Microsoft is going to release a detailed roadmap in early October 2017 with more firm delivery dates.

Microsoft Teams is based on Next Generation Core technology (NGC)

  • Same core that runs the Skype consumer platform
  • Interoperability signaling and media stack ensures even better performance and quality (better network quality with the advent of a new media stack)
  • The Microsoft Teams client is based upon HTML5 and REST-AP
  • Microsoft Teams has the same architecture across all devices! (Web RTC, Desktop, and Mobile client
  • The Microsoft Teams client is always available on all end devices with the same functionality and features, no feature comparison anymore
  • Development time for new functions and features will decrease dramatically
  • Within the Office 365 tenant, Microsoft will introduce an administrative portal bringing in a new UI for dial-plans, call analytics, and more


Microsoft remains committed to Skype for Business Server for hybrid and on-premise customer needs

Microsoft will be releasing a new on-premises Skype for Business server in the second half of 2018, that will provide enhancements to PBX and advanced calling capabilities. Other updates include:

  • Standard edition of Skype for Business will be discontinued (only the Enterprise version will be supported)
  • Microsoft expects Enterprise Voice to remain on-premise, workload for at least the next years
  • Existing investments with regards to handsets, headsets, and conferencing will be supported within Microsoft Teams
  • Interoperability between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams is always guaranteed


New product names around Skype for Business and Teams as Microsoft moves forward

  • CloudPBX is now called: Phone System
  • PSTNCalling is now called: CallingPlans
  • PSTN Conferencing is now called: Audio Conferencin
  • PSTN Consumption Billing is now: Communication Credits


MICROSOFT 365 F1 (FIRST LINE WORKERS & STAFF HUB)

We are living in a time of disruption. Digital transformation is the biggest change any one of us has seen in our lifetime. By 2018, two-thirds of the global 2000 CEOs will have digital transformation at the heart of their corporate strategy. But what does that mean for business and employees? First, we will see more and more companies invest in technology to optimize operations, transform products, engage customers, and empower employees.

The biggest impact, however, will be seen in the workforce - digital Transformation has an impact on all levels of the organization, from the boardroom to the first-line worker. And the first-line worker is particularly important in this context. Executives must be proactive in investing and developing their first-line workers, approaching them with the same rigor and discipline with which they tackle an operational transformation. This may include changing the first-line roles, processes, technologies, and tools used today that run counter to the digital transformation they are trying to achieve. The challenge is to find new ways to empower employees to do their best work.

For that, Microsoft is now extending its offer to include Microsoft 356 Education and Microsoft 365 F1. The latter is a specialized version of Microsoft 365 for more than two billion employees in service and production, mostly without their own PC, which act as the first point of contact between companies and customers or are directly involved in the production of products - for example, in customer service, telephone exchange or directly in the shop.

Service Features:

  • Foster culture and community
  • Train and upskill employees
  • Digitize business processes
  • Minimize risk and cost

BING FOR BUSINESS

In our work and personal lives, we spend lot of time in the browser searching for information whilst a significant amount of search traffic is for internal business-related content. To save time, Microsoft is launching Bing for Business - a new intelligent search experience for Office 365 and Microsoft 365, which uses AI and the Microsoft Graph to deliver more relevant search results based on your organizational context. With Bing for Business, Microsoft connects the company-internal Office 356 search with its Google-alternative, Bing. Through a common interface, internal documents, contact data from colleagues, but also web content can be tracked. Companies can also store relevant bookmarks for the company, which are then available to all employees. In addition, Bing will be able to automate relevant business news about the company, competitors or the industry as a whole.

Intelligent search for the modern workplace

Bing for Business is a new search offering that helps you save time by bringing you the best of the web and work in a single experience.

  • Finding what you need at work just got easier with Bing for Business
  • People, org charts, & groups
  • Internal sites and tools
  • Documents stored in the cloud

Click here to request your individual demo today.

Posted by Dietmar Kraume, Director Technology & Presales at UC Point, & Jim Dixon, Senior Sales Development Manager Conferencing Americas at UC Point

Are you curious to find out about further news and announcements? We recommend news, sessions and keynote from Ignite. Enjoy watching and reading!

We are happy to advise you on suitable collaboration solutions for your individual requirements. As specialists for the development and implementation of UCC solutions, we live an independent communication & collaboration and know what we can recommend.