In this 5-part series, Synoptek’s leadership provides insight from the 2019 Microsoft Inspire Conference and how emerging technology influences the future of business.
Most of us can recall the catchy phrase from David Bowie’s 1971 hit song Changes: “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and face the strange, Ch-ch-changes, Don’t want to be a richer man, Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and face the strange, Ch-ch-changes, There’s gonna have to be a different man, Time may change me, But I can’t trace time.”
The meaning of the lyrics is interesting because some say it tells the story of a matured man looking back at the mistakes he’s made in life. As it pertains to modern business, the lyrics are interesting because companies that are afraid to move away from old, inefficient technology and face short-term disruption are left struggling to keep up with the changes.
Recently a cohort of us Synoptekians attended Microsoft’s Inspire 2019 event. After a conversation a few days later with our VP of Professional Services, Miguel Sanchez, we decided to share a little about what struck us most.
Microsoft Inspire 2019: What It’s All About
For starters, Microsoft’s Inspire conference brought more than 40,000 IT Industry professionals to Las Vegas this year. The three-day summit was packed with energy and enthusiasm. It’s no wonder — technology continues to improve business outcomes, processes, productivity and revenue like never before.
Take the cloud for instance, one of the most prominent topics at the conference. With features like real-time reporting, mobile optimization, centralized data and increased security, cloud solutions give organizations a leg up when it comes to agility, accuracy and speed.
Yet, we learned an estimated 60 percent of Microsoft’s server-installed base is still on Windows Server and SQL Server 2008. The thing is, if you’re not already in the cloud or in the process of migrating to the cloud, you’re falling behind.
The Growing Demand for IT Strategy
Throughout the five days of announcements around technology updates, security enhancements and advanced specializations, a sobering message remained clear — businesses must make IT strategy aligned with the business strategy, their number-one priority.
Leaders are often overwhelmed with technology’s unprecedented pace, but it demands they take action. Many are straddled with legacy systems, old technology investments and just trying to keep up. In this mindset, new technology becomes a random decision, deeming itself insufficient, negatively impacting processes and the bottom line.
Winning organizations no longer think of IT as a cost center (buying, building and managing onsite technology) but as an enabler — a partner — sitting at the table, involved in business decisions and strategy planning, from the get-go.
Innovative platforms have emerged as the primary centerpieces in an overall strategy simply because they support 70% of business. For example, ecosystems, which put a customer’s end-to-end journey at the center of an experience and shape their overall relationship with a company, stress the need for service providers to work together. The future of ecosystems will require the platforms they operate in to be open, dynamic and therefore integrated. In that way, they can be functional in real time.
Microsoft Is Lessening the Impact
For those afraid to take this first leap, Microsoft is lessening the impact. Their new ISV Studio provides a consolidated view into how ISV apps are performing across their customer tenants and enabling access to insights about key adoption metrics such as the number of tenants and install successes/failures, empowering ISVs to identify and act on bottlenecks slowing down adoption.
Microsoft is also moving beyond transactional partnerships to a world where partners are encouraged and incented to innovate on top of Microsoft products, adding value for customers and creating new solutions and revenue opportunities. For example, Microsoft Windows for Virtual Desktop (WVD) offers many benefits to adopting cloud-based virtualization and scaling a workplace environment — from cost reduction and flexibility to performance and compatibility.
So, How Does an Organization Start?
For some, it makes sense to select a completely integrated platform, yet they often feel ill equipped, under pressure and concerned about risk. IT leaders need to know it’s not about picking the latest and greatest application — it’s about taking that 30,000-foot view, looking at their strategic requirements and first asking what platform meets the needs of their business.
Which business applications will best enable our employees and operations? Where will they live? What sort of infrastructure do we need to win? How do we modernize our work to be more productive? These were the themes being hit at Inspire. The question remains, if IT strategy is an after-thought, an organization risks everything else becoming accidental, inconsistent and ineffective.
Concurrently, in a world full of data breaches, security weaves in and out of all things. When businesses think linearly — starting with a strategy, then a platform and how the technology within will operate in that platform — from the Cloud and Business Applications to Productivity, Data and AI — they set up a stronger infrastructure and in turn, stronger security. Microsoft is already investing over $1 billion in security every year and have pledged to increase their focus in this area even further. The Microsoft Security Competency was unveiled at Inspire, with an emphasis also on cloud security. By leveraging AI and other tools, the ability for the cloud to secure an environment is unparalleled. Microsoft is increasingly utilizing real-time AI to protect highly sensitive data, analyzing signals from billions of sources. Ironically, for those many CIOs who are overwhelmed and unsure of how to integrate new technology into their overall strategies, whose fear of risk keeps them from sun setting legacy processes and applications that no longer evolve, their weak infrastructure puts them at a greater risk for not only staying relevant and competitive but for security breaches.
The writing is on the wall — Microsoft’s emerging platforms offer a comprehensive suite of solutions, now and in the years to come. If companies want to take full advantage of these offerings and lead ahead, they have two choices: Create a 5 to10-year strategy — one that leverages IT — or continue to rely on disparate and archaic technologies with outdated applications and systems and become obsolete.
At Synoptek, we believe no business should be left behind because they can’t keep up with the pace of technology. Shift from reactionary — a backlog of projects, outdated systems, inefficient spending to growing and evolving — leveraging technology to improve your operations and your budget.
Put simply, we’ll be there with you as you turn and face the strange. Contact us to create a plan, remove the pressure and apply technology so your business performs to its fullest potential.
Stay tuned as Synoptek’s leadership shares their key takeaways from Microsoft’s Inspire 2019 Conference.
Part 2: How Data and AI are bridging the gap between human and machine
|Martin Liberal |
Martin is the Practice Development Manager for Professional Services at Synoptek. He helps businesses get healthier and grow by improving their technology and aligning it with their strategy and goals. (And when it comes to customer service, he settles for nothing short of a home run.)
“Ninety percent of all stored data has been created in the last two years. Our brains simply don’t have the capacity to absorb it all. The machine will be there to augment not replace us, bringing more meaning to our day-to-day work.”
Part 3: Microsoft is making a major investment in developing and expanding cloud infrastructures
Ken is a Practice Lead at Synoptek. He works with C-level business leaders to build technology into their overall strategy, ensuring IT aligns with business goals, delivers on time and within budget.
“From Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) to Office 365 to Modern Workplace, Microsoft is enabling better collaboration between Teams, SharePoint and applications that integrate with both.”
Part 4: Every company needs to become a technology company to participate in today’s digital economy
Joey is Director of Service Management at Synoptek and leads the development and management of the managed services portfolio.
“Many organizations are fearful of the risk and disruption from integrating new technology, so they continue with inefficient systems. The risk of not evolving far outweighs this mandatory shift in perspective — to the point that it will crush businesses.”
Part 5: Power Platform and Dynamics 365 are Changing how organizations run, innovate, and grow
|AK Nandwana |
AK is Practice Development Manager for Professional Services at Synoptek and leads the Dynamics ERP practice team. He’s best known as a creative thinker and engaging communicator who finds new ways of helping its customers deploy Biz Apps, solve day-to-day business problems and save money in this fast-paced, competitive IT industry.
“Once an organization has the infrastructure, and Business Applications for harnessing data, they also need a layer atop that data that enables them to get insights easily. With Power BI, PowerApps and Flow, Microsoft has built a completely new app platform that reduces cost and changes how applications are built and deployed.”