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Why Microsoft is going all in on Digital Transformation

It could not come from a more respected figure at Microsoft (or indeed the world): Satya Nadella says the digital transformation age is upon us.

Digital transformation: Satya Nadella speaking at WPC 2016

That’s not all. Nadella made clear that digital transformation isn’t something that will happen to someone else’s company. It is a force which is impacting on every business today.

This was the top insight to come out of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) which, every July, sees the coming together of the company’s 15,000 strong global partner community. This presents an unmatched opportunity to take the pulse of Microsoft's vision and strategy, future direction and possibilities, check out new products and services, gain guidance and insights and ensure our client solutions and business are aligned with Microsoft’s direction.

In Toronto, CEO Satya Nadella led the Day 1 Keynote. Not only is he an exceptional speaker, but he had an exceptional message which is already resonating in New Zealand with Intergen and our clients: digital transformation is changing how we engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform products.

Digital transformation represents unprecedented potential here and now. Technology platforms are evolving rapidly and, thanks to cloud platforms and services, are more readily accessible, to the point where business processes and communication methods are being completely reinvented. New possibilities are emerging for intelligent automation leveraging machine learning and predictive analytics, drawing on widely connected data systems. Virtual reality (VR), which combines the real and digital worlds, and the concept of ‘conversations as a platform’, are revolutionising the way we work and interact with technology through more natural interfaces – using voice commands in place of traditional menus and interfaces.

Crucially, Nadella drove home the fact that those who digitise fastest will be the strongest. Those companies leading the way will dominate. The future of leadership lies in its ability to drive digital transformation successfully, while taking into consideration the multifaceted dimensions of change, including envisioning the world as it will be, rather than as it is today.

Checking out the ‘cool’

While Nadella’s address was an undoubted highlight, there is a lot more to WPC and much of it worth mentioning. These are my top picks:

VR: Building on the concept of a combined digital and physical experience: Microsoft’s HoloLens was showcased, demonstrating new possibilities in terms of engineering, design and learning and development. The concept of creating ‘digital twins’ of real-world objects is fascinating: there will be no need for design specs or manuals in the future as it will all be digital. This was demonstrated live with a jet engine: engineers can see the engine and every component in 3D, a far more powerful way to understand, and learn to maintain and repair than reading from a print manual.

Conversations as a platform: Integrating people, bots and the world. Skype and Cortana are enabling human and machine interaction. Cortana knows about you, your organisational context and the world around you. Bots provide a new interface, using human dialogue rather than technology features hiding behind the menus we use today. This is already moving very quickly into everyday solutions.

The power and value of predictive analytics: I studied Artificial Intelligence 20 years ago at University; so find it fascinating now to see how Cortana Intelligence, Power BI and Azure IoT suite are turning our data into intelligent insights. This is incredibly powerful; astoundingly, 90 per cent of the world’s data was created in the last two years. With analytics, that data becomes intelligence which allows better decision-making, automated proactive actions, improved efficiency and new business models.

Here’s the really good news: New Zealand is on the right track

What WPC also did is confirm that many of our clients are well advanced in their digital transformation journeys. Many of the concepts and ideas shared at the conference are areas in which discussions and work has commenced with our clients.

This blog entry is part of the series Less Busyness, More Business, featuring blog posts from leaders across Intergen. Each blog will focus on the digital transformation themes raised in our digital transformation guide and delve deeper into what digital transformation means for New Zealand organisations in specific technology areas.

Digital Transformation - Less Busyness, More Business

Posted by: Emma Barrett, Executive GM, Solutions & Services | 26 July 2016

Tags: Worldwide Partner Conference, Digital Transformation, Less Busyness More Business

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