Microsoft Ignite Sydney 2020


“Freshly back from attending this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference in Sydney, I thought I’d share my highlights of two packed out days.”


I’ll start with an overall observation about the event. Ignite is part of Microsoft’s global technology showcase, and Microsoft did a great job of bringing their working teams to the forefront of the conference. It certainly felt less ‘marketing’ and more ‘boots on the ground’. The presentations were given by those involved in the development of the products and technology, so they were very authentic. However, this did mean that the quality of the presentations were a bit below par at times (e.g when a security engineer delighted in presenting 8-point-font slides to an audience of 100’s in a large auditorium!)

Overall however, having attended with a varied group of leaders and engineers from our team, we all got something valuable out of the experience, and lots to take back to our customers. Thank you, Microsoft.

It is hard to synthesise the content – our own internal debrief session ran to over an hour with 40 slides ranging from Azure’s Cognitive Capabilities to the Microsoft Graph, however I’ll try!





“Microsoft 365 is all about SECURITYPRODUCTIVITY and MOBILITY”

Working anywhere, anytime on any device is the ultimate aim. To achieve this Microsoft is focusing on multi-vector, multi-point security (see point 5 below) while making security as ‘invisible’ as possible – think zero-touch, password-less authentication.. Hence the integration of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility +Security (EM + S).

Driving Productivity is the other dimension of Microsoft 365’s ambition and this is being achieved with a plethora of overlapping capabilities being offered in Office 365 apps (see point 2 below), as well as other tools like the Power Platform (see point 3 below).



“Office 365 is a treasure trove of overlapping capability and every organisation can adapt to its own needs”

I spent a few sessions thinking about why Mobile Mentor is not utilising all of the apps on offer in Office 365 given their rich features. Then a chance conversation with one of the team turned a light on for me. There are more capabilities and features than any organisation can handle – e.g. Yammer, Teams, Outlook, Stream, Planner, To Do, etc.

The trick is to pick what is suitable for your business and deploy it consistently and consciously. For us (like many others) this journey will be be based on Microsoft Teams and how we leverage it for many use cases.



“Automate, Automate, Automate”

The potential for the Power Platform to step-change how we work is enormous. If we all take a moment to think about the number of repetitive tasks we do every day, and then automate 1% of those every time, we would be so much more efficient after a year! Multiply that by every member of our team and we will have a step change in personal and corporate productivity and competitiveness.

Memorable examples for me included a ‘record’ function in Excel to simplify repetitive infrequent tasks, running ‘PowerApps’ inside Teams for things like booking a room for a meeting, etc. The tech is there, the only impediment is investing time to leverage it.



“Microsoft Edge (Chromium based) is finally giving Google Chrome a credible challenger”

We were bombarded with sessions pushing the recently re-born Chromium based Edge browser – why it’s better, faster, safer, slicker, etc. (than Chrome). And yes, there are many features that make Edge impressive and, for me, finally a credible alternative to Chrome.

The three I noted are its tight integration with Office 365, the Chromium engine (which means all the Chrome plug-ins work anyway), and the ability to switch seamlessly between the Microsoft Work and Personal accounts. I’ve even set it as my default on my iPhone to give the hype a real-life trial. So far so good!



“Cyber threats are not linear, but most organisations build linear defences”

The cyber engineer with the 8pt font slides gave us a masterclass in cyber security. Microsoft is now truly the world’s largest security company (possibly larger than the NSA!), discovering 2.3bn endpoint vulnerabilities EVERY DAY.

It blocked 11bn malicious messages in 2019, and over 60% of cyber attacks originated from the Xbox platform – do kids have too much time on their hands?! Most importantly, Microsoft is collecting and processing data from every ‘vector’ to determine cyber threats globally. For another good example of this, watch Brad Anderson’s The Endpoint Zone talk on the security ‘net’ created by Microsoft.


A great couple of days where I learnt heaps and enjoyed spending time with my team immersing myself in the potential for this technology to empower our customers’ organisations to achieve more. I’m really excited by the future I see before us at the interface of productivity, security and mobility.