The big themes from Microsoft Ignite, March 2021: Part 2, The Hybrid Workplace

In part 1 of this recap we looked into the keynote from Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Alex Kipman. Part 2 of my Microsoft Ignite blog series will have a look at another keynote session all about how workplaces have been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and how Microsoft are supporting organisations to work in the new normal.

The Hybrid workplace

Session Link

This fun 15 minute keynote from Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Jared Spataro, was packed with news around flexible approaches to work. Microsoft believe that there will be no going back to a pre-pandemic reality of an office permanently full of employees. Physical meetings are important but they won’t be the same as before.

over 
O 
of managers expect more 
flexible work from home 
policies post-pandemic 
more than 
70% 
Of employees expect 
to adopt these flexible 
work from home policies 
microsoft.com/worklab
Jared presents statistics from the WorkLab research

The Microsoft WorkLab is a site dedicated to understanding the trends of working during the pandemic & the need to change the employee experience. There’s lot to explore on that site, and info on how Microsoft will bring that to life in organisations with its Employee Experience Platform (EXP) Microsoft Viva. Microsoft have seen a large rise in video meetings, longer workdays, a break-up of the traditional 9-5 work pattern and an increase in chat. With over 115 million daily active users, Microsoft Teams has been the centre of a lot of that activity. Here are the new features and improvements Teams will be getting soon:

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The big themes from Microsoft Ignite, March 2021: Part 1, Microsoft Mesh

It seems like only yesterday I was blogging and live tweeting about the annual Microsoft Ignite conference, when it was actually September last year! The global pandemic has meant for some changes to how Microsoft showcase all their big announcements and instead of the usual Ignite: The Tour sessions we get in the following Spring (in the northern hemisphere) we were treated to another global 3-day virtual event. In this post, I will take you through the big announcements and updates as well as take a bit of a deeper look at the overall themes from Microsoft and what they tell us.

Solution areas 
Business 
applications 
Data & Al 
Security
Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business describes Microsoft’s core solution areas

If you want to take a look for yourself, the good news is that all of the content is available on-demand from myignite.microsoft.com. There are well over 200 sessions, from the keynotes or general “what’s new” sessions, to deep-dives and proper technical training available. A little tip for finding the sessions you want: Once you’ve signed in to MyIgnite go to the session scheduler, use the filters to find the area you are interested in, then sort A-Z (by default they are sorted chronologically which makes it confusing to pick out the duplicate sessions!).

You may also want to check out the Book of News. This is a fairly concise online report that shows calls out all the newsworthy announcements. Each announcement has a small description, then links off to a more in-depth Tech Community blog or Microsoft Docs page. It took me about 90 mins to read through it all, including a bit of jumping out to find out more on the topics I was really interested in.

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Quick Tip: Make the most of the Microsoft Teams app bar

Microsoft Teams is fast becoming the hub for people’s productivity at work. I wanted to highlight a small feature that can make a big difference to the usability of Teams and help people find what they need, fast.

Microsoft Teams uses an “App Bar” on the left hand side of the UI to let you switch between the different apps available. You are probably familiar with the Activity, Chat, Teams, Calls and Calendar apps as they are pinned by default to the app bar but did you know you can move these around, unpin them or pin new ones?

screenshot of Microsoft Teams on the apps page
The app bar on the left with the default pinned apps, and there is even an app for more apps!
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