One of the great advantages of cloud technology is that it is continually being updated. But this is also a drawback. While on one hand, you get constant improvements to the tools and features you use, you must also endlessly monitor what’s coming down the line for your company’s IT.

If your business uses Microsoft, the annual Microsoft Ignite conference is a great place to get a feel of what’s coming in Azure, Teams, Office and all the other Microsoft tools. The most recent Ignite conference took place earlier in November. Here are seven insights we gained from following the digital event.

7 insights from Microsoft Ignite 2021

Microsoft used Ignite to launch a number of new products, announce updates to popular tools and present its vision for the future of business technology. Here are seven things we learned from the event:


  1. Artificial intelligence is becoming embedded in Azure

For years we have been hearing the hype about artificial intelligence, but some of the announcements at Ignite 2021 show what this really means for enterprises.

If your business uses the cloud, AI will soon be supporting semantic search, compliance analysis, security threat detection and text analytics. Ultimately this is about artificial intelligence becoming something that is genuinely useful for businesses.

  1. Microsoft sees Teams as the heart of business

Microsoft announced several improvements to Microsoft Teams at Ignite which will make the platform more productive. Here are just some of the ways they plan to make its companies’ hub for all things work-related:

–  You’ll soon be able to connect Teams to Dynamics 365 and do things like edit customer records from within Teams.

– There are also several improvements to the Microsoft Teams conferencing experience. You’ll be able to support Q&A’s during events, or provide virtual green rooms to speakers.

– Microsoft is also allowing companies to connect more easily with external partners through Teams. If, for instance, an employee is working on a project with someone at another company, they’ll soon be able to chat with them through the app.


  1. Azure costs will become more manageable

An important issue for many customers using Azure (as well as most other cloud environments) is the challenge of managing costs. At Ignite 2021 Microsoft revealed a number of new Azure management features which will give you alerts over how much you are spending to stay on top of cloud costs.


Related: How to boss your Microsoft 365 licenses


  1. The Power Platform is getting more connected

The Power Platform has sometimes felt a little disconnected from the rest of the Microsoft universe, but as announcements at Ignite 2021 showed, Microsoft is hoping to bring it closer to the core:

– It will soon be possible to connect the Power Platform with more Microsoft apps, features and data. For instance, you will now be able to embed Teams chat in a Power App.

– Microsoft also announced that there would be a new pay-as-you-go licencing model in Power Apps, which replaces the existing subscription approach. More here.


  1. Further security improvements

Cybersecurity has always been a big part of Microsoft’s approach to the cloud, and they announced several updates to security at Ignite. These include:

– There’ll be an extension of their cloud security tools to multi-cloud environments. What this means is that for firms using AWS and other clouds, it should be possible to manage all their security in one place using Microsoft tools.

– A reduction in the plan price for the Microsoft Defender for Endpoints was also announced, giving firms more affordable tools to protect smartphones, laptops, home WiFi routers and so on.

– Updates to Microsoft’s IoT defender service were also announced, which will be useful for any business working with the Internet of Things.

Our multi-cloud security and privacy expertise

  1. Introducing the notion of a ‘metaverse’

It seems like everyone is talking about the metaverse these days – indeed Facebook rebranded as Meta a few days before Ignite kicked off. Microsoft used Ignite to give a little more detail on what its plans are in this area.

For Microsoft, the metaverse is perhaps a little more prosaic (and realistic!) than Mark Zuckerberg’s notions and seems to be trying to address the problem of hybrid working. Essentially, Microsoft’s metaverse appears to be about providing customizable digital workplaces and avatars for individual employees where they can do work anywhere.


  1. They’re still trying to tackle collaboration

Smooth collaboration with multiple digital tools has always been a problem, especially as people use more and more apps at work. So, Microsoft used Ignite to announce a new app called Loop. It is a way to get various Microsoft technologies to sync up to allow people to work more seamlessly right across the Microsoft stack – regardless of which technologies they are using. It’s not available yet but we’re watching with interest.

Planning for Microsoft updates

As Ignite 2021 shows, Microsoft is continually updating Azure, Teams, and its other popular technologies. But staying on top of this constant change can be a real struggle – and that’s where FITTS can help.

Our teams can alert you to changes in your cloud environments, help you adopt new tools that could benefit your business, implement vital new security features, and manage your entire tech stack.

For complete support managing your business technology, contact us today.