Recap of the Business Innovation Group of North Orange County Meetup Kickoff Meeting on January 14, 2021. “Turning the Page on 2020 | Equip Your Organization for 2021” Shared Microsoft Cloud Solution Updates from Microsoft Inspire 2020 and Microsoft Ignite 2020 and provided five key strategic focuses for 2021 for businesses.
Business Innovation Group of North Orange County Kickoff
After months of thought and preparation we had the exciting opportunity to kickoff our first virtual meetup for the Business Innovation Group of North Orange County on January 14, 2021!
A few members of the business community we had met at a past Microsoft SharePoint Saturday event in Los Angeles and a few of the Ambient Team got together to explore the opportunity to equip and enable technology curious business professionals to ultimately serve our community. It was a humble beginning, but we aim to build and grow together as a community to learn, collaborate, sharer and serve!
Microsoft Product Updates
Part of the agenda for this kickoff event was for me to get a chance to share a bit of what I had learned from the recent Microsoft Inspire 2020 and Microsoft Ignite 2020 Virtual Conferences to provide some insights and guidance as we continue to work through the Covid-19 landscape with our clients and partners.
As a focus near and dear to me, Microsoft 365 Teamwork – in particular around Microsoft Teams – was the first key announcements to share. The introduction of Microsoft Lists in Microsoft Teams brings the power and flexibility of SharePoint Lists to Microsoft Teams enabling team members to quickly and easily create task lists, trackers and more complex data solutions.
No longer do you need complex databases or Excel spreadsheets to organize your work. Extend capabilities with workflows, forms and automation using Power Platform to create powerful tools for every day business.
Need more power? Morer Power Platform updates here! Microsoft Dataverse for Teams was recently announced as another integrated extension in Microsoft Teams after years of being referred to as Common Data Service.
Dataverse for Teams provides a low-code database platform for businesses to create custom applications using the other tools available via Power Platform – Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and the also announced Power Virtual Agent for Teams. Microsoft has made great strides to bring the the capabilities of Power Platform to Microsoft Teams to enable remote work and maintain business continuity through Covid-19.
Microsoft Teams was a focus and investment for Microsoft even before Covid-19 happened. If anything the Coronavirus accelerated the growth and improvements to Microsoft Teams and continues today.
Business Applications, along with Teamwork and Azure Cloud, have been the core areas where Microsoft has aligned partners and customers to further digital transformation. Power Platform and Dynamics 365 are the core platforms that enable businesses to achieve resiliency.
Dynamics 365 provides a suite of of intelligent business applications that helps you run your entire business and deliver greater results through predictive, AI-driven insights. For SMBs, Dynamics 365 Business Central provides a complete business management solution in a single, licensed product to help you achieve business continuity and scalability as you sustain and grow.
Five Key Focus Areas for 2021
The second part of my presentation focused on what I believed to be five key areas where businesses should focus on in 2021 in their overall digital transformation journey.
In addition to the before mentioned areas of focus – building business resiliency and continuity though transformed Teamwork with Microsoft Teams and process automation and efficiencies achieved though Power Platform and Dynamics 365 – two new focus areas were shared which I believed would be critical for businesses to achieve more and do good.
Knowledge Management, particularly in our now distributed workforce, is paramount to an organization’s ability to harvest and leverage the vast amounts of data and information across the business. Project Cortex, first announced in 2019, leverages the power of AI to organize, share and secure structured and unstructured data “across teams and systems.”
Project Cortex can enable me, while creating a Power Point presentation, “just-in-time” references and links to data from others team members across the organization without the need to re-research and find. How efficient could this be for your business? The “Power of Microsoft” at your fingertips!
Lastly, the emotional and mental wellness of our team members – especially throughout this global pandemic, is a critical area of need and focus for all businesses. Virtual meeting fatigue, overwork, stresses of the home and disconnectedness from team members and people, in general, creates a huge human resources issue with little to no existing tools to measure human capital mental wellness, let alone productivity and engagement.
Tools do exist and more tools are forthcoming to help businesses understand how team members are doing. tyGraph is a business intelligence platform that provides rich data-driven insights in to Microsoft 365. tyGraph has developed complex algorithms to take the Microsoft Graph data and present engagement scores, or Measured Active Engagement (MAE), to enable communications and HR managers to really understand how their organization is doing and take action to improve.
There is much to be encouraged with for businesses that were able to weather the storm of Covid-19 as Microsoft and partners like Ambient are looking to help them thrive and succeed. Businesses must first decide to invest in their cloud journey and find a technology partner that can help you develop a cloud strategy and journey with you. Equip Your Organization for 2021! If you are looking for help and guidance with your cloud strategy and journey, please feel free to reach out! Let me know how we can help you!
Joseph Kwon is a Microsoft cloud solutions architect and founder & managing partner of Ambient Studios – a IT professional services firm based in Brea, CA. Joe is passionate about technology and is an evangelist for Microsoft Cloud Solutions with a strong desire to help businesses large and small with transforming their businesses through technology solutions. Joe believes that the digital transformation journey requires thought partnership and commitment and looks to be that extension for businesses. Joe’s mantra is to serve others humbly & faithfully so that they may be able to do more and do good.