Microsoft Ignite is back. It's been 6 months since the last one - and if I am being honest, it feels like the last one only took place last weekend. Of course, in many ways the last one was really the first - the first in lockdown, the first where it wasn't possible for us to attend in person - but it was also the first to surpass 70,000 attendees as the remote experience opened it up to a much larger audience who otherwise wouldn't have been able to attend. But whether this one constitutes 'Ignite Part 2' or is a singular replacement for Ignite the Tour, we all find ourselves returning to the biggest IT pro event of the year at a different time: both in terms of the calendar and in terms of more optimism as we may begin to see a return to a degree of normal life as we know it this year. I, for one, am very interested to see Microsoft's take on the state of things. Last year, see heard a lot about resilience, about being digital responders and we saw narratives such as accelerating digital transformation to the cloud for business continuity and supporting remote workers as they deal with a spectrum of challenges, including emotional and mental well being. Will we see a continuation of these narratives or will we see a pivoting of this? Jared Spatero's session The Hybrid Workplace suggests we will and where Microsoft think we will all be operating post pandemic. But what is intriguing is Satya Nadella's keynote which will be held on AltspaceVR. As much as showing the power of technology and mixed reality, how does this feed into the narrative, and like AI, how in the years to come will we all be using mixed reality day to day within our hybrid workplaces to connect, and get work done. What's clear from the last year, is we no longer have to be there, and so doing, we ultimately - if we are true to ourselves, may find it is even better than the real thing.
It's been a while since I wrote anything about video. I did quite a few blogs on Teams and Stream last year and even did a few sessions on how they worked together on the circuit - but with the transition to modern Stream I'm very much waiting for the new experience; when we start seeing features like the web experience, when podcasts and portals emerge. All in good time - even though in moving the TMR's over I badly need the use of trim, and I still want to talk about video. You see, I watch a lot of it. I love the medium, and so doing a few blogs on power automate and approval scenarios with Lists and Teams, I also had an idea for a new blog involving video. The idea is that I constantly struggle with time. With responsibilities for work, family and community I often miss quality content that goes by on great channels like Microsoft Mechanics. So I thought what if I could put this into a List which updates and I can work through that. Surfacing it in the Team could be quite valuable
Learning pathways is a customizable, on-demand learning solution designed to increase usage and adoption of Microsoft 365 services in your organization. It's one of those things which has been on my radar to write about for some time. Having your learning site in easy reach of your Team - within Teams itself - and bringing your learning content where your Team is working on a day to day basis saves time and makes it easier for them to access without needing to navigate to another application. Add in the fact that you can customise content and you have a really powerful application that is great for increasing the teams' knowledge and adoption of Microsoft 365 services, provides a greater return on Teams, SharePoint and other 365 applications as well as provide a platform for the organisation to deploy it's own content. No need to necessarily splash out on that LMS
We have previously explored the implementation of DLP and Supervision policies to the Team. We will now look at applying Sensitivity Labels - currently in Public Preview. By definition, Sensitively Labels allow Teams admins to regulate access to sensitive organizational content created during collaboration within teams. In other words, it can keep Teams private (removing the ability to be set as public) and block Guests from being added. The best thing is that labels can be set at a tenant label and easily applied when creating the Team. It gives administrators so much more control over the Team in terms that users cannot simply join the Team and Owners cannot simply add guests which are not authorised to access it's content. It's another layer of protection which should be added in any Teams roll-out. It's also an answer for blocking guest access on a Team by Team basis: this works well if the creation of Teams are regulated.
In my personal experience, it is not just IT Pro's who want to keep up to date with roadmaps and have an understanding of whats coming to the platforms they manage. Enthusiasts and evangelists are often eager to see new features that they may be able to leverage or rave about to their partners and customers. Support always wants to know what's coming down the pipe in order to prepare for what they see are inevitable issues. Finance loves anything which can lead to greater ROI and save money - and CEO's often like to know they got it right.