This week Microsoft Ignite took place. The annual event reveals the latest features, updates, and technology coming to Business Apps, Cloud Services, Security and more.

The focus for this year’s Microsoft Ignite event was how Microsoft Cloud can help you do more with less. During economic uncertainty, Microsoft aims to help customers maximise value through their existing IT investments by releasing new updates and features.

Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, kickstarted the event with his opening keynote speech. He said, “We’re going through a period of historical, economical, societal, and technological change. But for all the uncertainty we continue to see in the world, one thing is clear. Organisations in every industry are turning to digital capabilities to help them do more with less.”

The 3-day event gave an insight into new capabilities coming to the apps and technology we rely on every day. It explored the latest innovations from product experts and partners and provided an insight into business environments of the future and technology trends as we go into 2023.

This article breaks down the updates announced Microsoft Ignite we think you will be most interested in.  

Business Applications

Microsoft Teams users to receive access to Business Central data at no extra cost

From November 2022, Business Central will be embedded into Microsoft Teams and users will have access to Business Central data from within the collaboration app, regardless of whether they have a Dynamics 365 license. This means your people can collaborate on critical initiatives and projects with the right data directly where they connect. Admins will be able to set access rules and controls on certain business records. With this integration, SMBs can now ensure all team members are empowered with Context IQ, which organises the right data and insights contextually, wherever and however they work.

Teams Chat embedded within Dynamics 365

This feature is part of Dynamics 365 Customer Service and is expected to be generally available in October 2022. With embedded Microsoft Teams chat, users can connect and collaborate with anyone in their organisation directly within Dynamics 365. This enables users to link chats to Dynamics 365 records, including sales opportunities and service cases, providing convenient access for all participants.

Unlimited conversation intelligence for Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Microsoft Viva Sales

At no additional cost for both Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Viva Sales users, conversation intelligence is now available, providing sellers with the power of insights while helping them be more productive.

Microsoft Ignite also highlighted several updates for sales conversation intelligence coming to preview early next year. Updates include real-time guidance for sellers, recommended resources, and email intelligence.

Learn more about these updates and new products.

Microsoft 365

New Microsoft 365 app replaces Microsoft’s Office app

An evolution of the Office app, the Microsoft 365 app for web, Windows and mobile, is the new hub for your favourite productivity tools across Microsoft 365. Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Loop and more all in one place. The Microsoft 365 app is a secure, integrated experience built on the Microsoft Graph that brings together all your files, contacts, meetings, and more with recommendations and suggestions personalised for you.

“The new Microsoft 365 app is one part of our larger strategy and focus as a company on Microsoft 365 and is reflective of the innovation we’ve strived to deliver as work and life continue to evolve,” explains Jared Spataro, CVP of modern work at Microsoft.

The app isn’t just limited to Office apps, it includes all Microsoft apps, and there’s even a section for third-party apps and company apps. It features a feed for seeing what meetings are coming up and tailored recommendations from Microsoft’s Graph network.

The Microsoft 365 app will begin rolling out starting November 2022. Learn more about this update.

Outlook has been updated with new tools for hybrid work

The new working hours and location feature will empower you to organise your week and let colleagues know what hours you’ll be available, and where you’ll be working, so you can plan meetings better. It’s also flexible and simple to change your schedule on the day from your Microsoft Teams app or Outlook desktop.

Meeting recap is a new feature in Outlook and is available now. It allows you to easily find information about a meeting and access the recording directly from the calendar event.

Outlook and Teams are also adding the ability to schedule a message to be sent at a later time and date. This is to accommodate businesses that work across multiple time zones and to respect people’s off-hours and holidays. Message reactions are also coming to Outlook, so you can acknowledge and react to business emails the same way you can react to messages on Teams.

New features for creating and viewing videos

Improved screen and webcam recording in Stream, with new options including background blur, inking, text and effects are now generally available. Additionally, recordings for Teams meetings are now accessible in the Stream app. Stream will also feature new meeting recording playback capabilities including personalised timeline markers and auto-generated chapters.

Discover more about Stream and its new updates.

Introducing Microsoft Syntex

Microsoft Syntex is a new set of content apps and services that organise large quantities of unstructured content and data so it can be easily searched and analysed using the power of AI. Syntex has the power to automate content-based workflows and it integrates Microsoft Search capabilities to make it simple for users to find and utilise content.

Users can navigate using the advanced viewer to add secure annotations and redactions to files and data, as well as integrate Syntex eSignature into business processes and build new content singly or at scale. Syntex features are beginning to rollout now and will continue to roll out through early 2023.

Microsoft Teams

As the world’s most popular collaboration platform, Teams had centre stage for a while at Microsoft Ignite with lots of new features, tools, and updates to share with users. We will be doing another article looking into the specific new features as more information is released about them, but for now, here’s an overview of what was announced.

  • Mesh avatars in Teams in private preview.
  • Introduction of Microsoft Teams Premium.
  • New Teams meetings features increase engagement and interactivity.
  • Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile is now generally available.
  • New Teams chat and collaboration features make communication more interactive.
  • Improved channel experience is coming soon to Microsoft Teams.
  • Teams meetings available natively on certified Cisco meeting devices.
  • Introduction of a new app, Microsoft Places.
  • Microsoft Teams ecosystem grows with collaborative apps for customers and partners.
  • Updates to Teams platform for developers.

Microsoft Viva – new productivity and wellbeing experiences coming soon

Viva Insights – New features in Microsoft Viva Insights help employees, managers and leaders improve personal, team and organisational productivity and well-being. From meeting effectiveness surveys to quiet time settings, and the new focus mode experience, Microsoft has further developed this tool to help users facilitate a healthy and focused workday.

Viva Learning – Several new features were announced at Ignite for Viva Learning, and the majority are now in private preview. An example is Learning Paths and Learning Collections:

  • Learning Paths – Designed to help managers create sequenced groups of training and other learning resources and make them easy to find and share within Viva Learning.
  • Learning Collections – Allows users to create personal collections of learning content aligned with their interests or learning goals.

Viva Engage – This tool provides businesses with ways to create social connections between employees and within communities of interest inside the business. Now, anyone in your business can use the new feature ‘stories’ and ‘storyline’ to create posts that include links, files, photos and videos, as a way of sharing updates and perspectives with others.

Power Platform

At Microsoft Ignite, product leaders announced some exciting innovations for the Power Platform. Below is an overview of the new updates, features, and technology designed to help you get more speed, productivity, and time to focus on what matters while reducing your costs.

  • Power Automate introduces new ways to automate using natural language and AI.
  • Power Automate innovations for user engagement and robotic process automation (RPA).
  • Optimise workflows and document processing with AI Builder and Power Automate.
  • Power Platform Managed Environments features automated low-code governance and security capabilities at scale.
  • Microsoft Power Pages updates provide enhanced design studio and new templates.
  • Power BI updates enable self-service data analytics and adds connectivity to Onedrive and SharePoint.
  • Power Apps updates enable collaboration, fusion development, Micro-apps and more.
  • Microsoft Dataverse enables developers to connect to external data sources.

Security

Microsoft is committed to building a safer world together and helping you maximise the security you already have with your Microsoft investments. At Microsoft Ignite, five new innovations across the comprehensive Microsoft security portfolio were announced to help you confront the cyber threats you face. Customers with existing Microsoft 365 E5 licenses already have access to many of these resources—it’s simply a matter of turning them on.

Speak to your provider for support in maximising your security investments.

Microsoft Defender for Cloud adds new protections for comprehensive security

New features and capabilities for Microsoft Defender for Cloud will enable businesses to strengthen their cloud security, extend threat protection across workloads and integrate DevOps security across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. New capabilities include:

  • Microsoft Defender for DevOps
  • Microsoft Defender Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
  • Microsoft cloud security benchmark
  • Expanded workload protection capabilities

Find out more about Microsoft Defender for Cloud updates.

Save on Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for a limited time

Defender for Endpoint has been modernised with new features and updates to help you protect your places, people, and devices. Microsoft has also announced a limited-time sale of 50% off Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 and Plan 2 licenses, allowing businesses to do more and spend less by enhancing their security with a leading endpoint protection platform.

Learn more about this offer by speaking to a member of the 848 team. We’re a Microsoft Solutions Partner and our Microsoft-certified experts can help you unlock low prices.

Microsoft 365 Defender now disrupts ransomware at machine speed

Time is critical in ransomware attacks, and now, with new capabilities, Microsoft 365 Defender can automatically disrupt ransomware attacks and contain affected assets, such as endpoints or user identities immediately. Microsoft 365 Defender collects and correlates signals across endpoints and cloud apps into unified incidents and uses the breadth of signal to identify and remediate attacks early.  

Edge

Introducing Microsoft Edge workspaces

Now in preview, Microsoft Edge Workspaces is a shared set of browser tabs that will allow your teams to view the same websites and latest working files in one place. No more hunting down buried or lost links and fishing through a thousand emails or chats. Using Edge Workspaces is simple—open important project links as browser tabs and then share the Edge Workspace so everyone is working off the same set of websites and files. If you need to update anything, it’s as simple as closing and opening tabs.

Microsoft Edge adds security features

Focusing on its key aim of protecting users against phishing and malware on Windows, Microsoft Edge introduces two new security features that will help reduce the surface area for cyberattacks. Now generally available, these new features include:

Website typo protection: Hackers pounce on the easily made, small errors people make when writing out a website URL. Website typo protection prevents users from accidentally leading to online fraud sites after misspelling the website address by suggesting the website that the user intended.

Enhanced security mode: Turning on this security mode automatically apples more conservative settings on unfamiliar websites, therefore reducing the risk of an attack. This opt-in feature mitigates memory-related vulnerabilities by disabling just-in-time JavaScript compilation that could be used to attack devices.

Learn more about these updates and new features.

Industry Cloud

New capabilities for Microsoft Cloud for sustainability

Microsoft Sustainability Manager is a tool that empowers businesses to easily record, report and reduce their environmental impact. At Ignite, Microsoft announced new features and capabilities for Sustainability Manager including, an extended data model with increased Scope 3 emissions calculation methodologies for priority categories. This will help businesses that track and monitor emission data, it will provide them with clear and transparent reporting.

The Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 was also announced as generally available. This tool allows you to calculate emissions associated with your usage of Microsoft Teams, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive for Business, Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online. The dashboard also enables you to assess emissions savings by migrating workloads to the cloud.

Find out more about this update.

Windows

Windows 365 continues to grow and expand it’s capabilities answering problems to new audiences with new updates to the service.

Organisational messages will connect IT and employees

IT often contact employees via email, Teams, and other communication channels. This can lead to important information being lost or missed. Microsoft has developed a new way to get information to employees. Organisational messages will provide a new communication channel for IT to connect with employees directly through Windows surfaces, including in the Get Started app, above the taskbar, and in the Notifications centre.  

The Windows 365 app is now in public preview

In the Microsoft Store on Windows, you will find the all new Windows 365 app. Supported by all Windows 11 devices, the app delivers high-performing and reliable experiences optimised for your Microsoft 365 apps.

Citrix HDX Plus for Windows 365 is also in public preview

This tool will help IT teams deliver support for a wider range of endpoint devices, advanced security and policy controls and a better experience in low-bandwidth environments. You can turn on the Citrix HDX Plus on in the Tenant admin section of the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin centre. Here you can allow licensed employees to access their Windows 365 Cloud PCs in the Citrix environment they use today.

Learn more about this update.

Speak to us about Microsoft Ignite

If you’re interested in learning more about the news announcements at Microsoft Ignite, or would like more information about Microsoft’s new product and service offerings, then one of our Certified Microsoft experts can help. Contact us on [email protected] to learn more.