ATLANTA — Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie told 23,000 IT professionals this morning Microsoft can make them the heroes of the enterprise.

During the opening keynote in Philips Arena at Microsoft Ignite here, Guthrie — wearing his signature red shirt — said IT pros are the heart of the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant's vision "to empower every person and organization on earth to do more."

IT pros, he stressed, are in the best position to turn technology into an engine for enterprise growth, transformation and opportunity.

Guthrie runs the Cloud & Enterprise division at Microsoft, where he is responsible for Microsoft's cloud, server, database, business apps, security, management and development tools businesses. He was introduced by Julia White, general manager of the Microsoft Office Division.

Before Guthrie's keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen on stage to briefly discuss a new strategic partnership — the next phase in their joint Cloud First, Mobile First partnership journey.

New Azure Monitoring Abilities

Guthrie also shared the stage with several Microsoft executives to demonstrate the company's latest updates and product enhancements.

They include new Azure monitoring abilities, combined with Operations Management Suite updates, to "cut through the complexity of managing the technology that powers the intelligent enterprise."

Azure is Microsoft's cloud platform. By using an enhanced single dashboard, IT pros can more efficiently and securely optimize, monitor and manage applications, logs, security alerts and more.

The tools work synergistically with Microsoft's new integrated services for its Operations Management Suite. Those services and features are bundled into a single, integrated offering, which Microsoft said makes it easier to "purchase and deploy solutions that map to customers’ key management needs."

Microsoft Customer Perspectives

To buttress its claims of enterprise successes, Microsoft is using Ignite as an opportunity to introduce clients and partners.

Accenture CIO Andrew Wilson explained how the global consultancy is using a full breadth of Microsoft commercial cloud offerings to become a leader in IT transformation.

And Tyco CTO Daryll Fogal explained how the company “lifted and shifted” a legacy security monitoring application into Windows Server Containers to modernize its IT architecture and push updates to customers faster, with less downtime.

The Fun with Live Product Demos

There was clearly a lot of enthusiasm on stage about Microsoft's latest and greatest products and services — despite some signs of discontent among analysts in attendance, who expressed disappointment about a perceived lack of focus on certain areas, including mobility.

Unlike a slice and dice gadget in a late night infomercial, it isn't easy to demo a server. As Microsoft executives conceded, a company can only show flashing lights to demonstrate the speed of its server so many times before it elicits more yawns than awe.

And like animals and children, technology — no matter how good — is not always dependable (including the wifi in the keynote hall). That made for some uncomfortable moments during a demonstration of Cortana, its personal assistant and AI agent. Cortana proved less smart than stubborn, refusing to recognize the demonstrator. 

Looking at it more optimistically, perhaps Cortana was simply demonstrating what one presenter after another stressed during the morning keynote: Security is the foundation of Microsoft innovation. 

It seems Cortana just didn't feel secure enough to spill her secrets in front of more 23,000 people.