Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened the Ignite conference in Chicago this morning with a promise of what's to come -- both in the announcements that will be made over the course of the five day event and in the direction that Microsoft will be taking for the enterprise.
A hint of this direction can be seen in the announcement of the release of Windows Update for Business.
Windows Update for Business
One of the biggest changes, Nadella said, is about the way we think about Windows. Windows will be Windows as a service and the new Update for Businesses feature is one of the core elements of that.
With Update, those that move to Windows 10 will receive all of the new patches, features updates and operating system fixes that Microsoft issues for as long as their support contract remains in place.
However, enterprises will have a choice when it comes to the updates. Businesses can sign up for both the features updates and security patches, or sign up for security patches on an as needed basis.
Nadella made the announcement to the 23,000 Microsoft faithful who had gathered for this morning’s opening session of Ignite.
Nadella was joined on stage over the course of the morning by other Microsoft heavy hitters like Julia White, the Office general manager and Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of the Enterprise Client & Mobility team.
Microsoft Is Hip Again
But the message they were collectively trying to relay was clear: Microsoft is cool, it’s hip, it has some pretty hot technologies under its belt like HoloLens and it’s for mobile, dynamic enterprises.
The new Microsoft, Nadella said, is not just about technology. It’s about our partners, it’s about how we create flexibility and how we are transforming work, Nadela said.
We are the only company that cares not just about enterprises but also about the individuals that work in those enterprises, he said.
What he was really building up to was not about individual products -- there will be plenty of them on display over the next few days -- but about the Mobile First, Cloud First strategy.
Nothing new with that. Except this time Nadella stressed the role of mobility of all products on all devices. Microsoft is about enabling workers to work. Work, he said, is what you do, not where you do it.
Everything Microsoft is doing at the moment is being done with this in mind and it is the users that are driving this. We want users to have a friction-free experience with their devices, and with that we want to ensure that the devices and everything contained on the mobile is secure, said Nadella.
But Nadella wasn’t the only one who offered news this morning. White gave the audience a taste of what's to come with Office 365 and Office 2016.
She announced that Office 2016 Public Preview is being released today, and that with it, Office moves from “me-centric” to “we-centric” work.
All Office content will -- by default -- be saved to and shared from OneDrive. Content is created and edited with real time co-authoring coming to Word 2016 desktop, and email attachments are a thing of the past with Outlook’s new attachments that are shared from the cloud.
She also announced that Sway, which has been in consumer preview since October and which enables users to combine text and media for easy website creation, will roll out to Office 365 business and education subscribers later this month.
Microsoft also offered a new view in Delve, which provides an interactive dashboard for teams and individuals to identify key trends among enterprise teams and connections.
This is just the start and only an indication of what will be happening over the week. Other highlights we will be following include Skype for Business Server 2015, Exchange 2016 and, later today, SharePoint 2016 in-depth for the first time.