Do More with Less: Microsoft Inspire 2022 Recap

Have you heard “new normal” enough yet? Well, the focus of Microsoft Inspire this year was all around the new normal and empowering hybrid work. Inspire is Microsoft’s annual Partner conference, but there are a few big announcements that we think you should know. 

Cloud for Sovereignty 

Microsoft’s first announcement in the keynote was Cloud for Sovereignty, a cloud designed specifically for the government sector. Public sector users can harness the full power of the cloud while meeting their compliance, security, and policy requirements.  Microsoft cloud for sovereignty graph shaped like a pyramid. Bottom tier: data residency, 60+ azure regions provide local data residency, the resiliency and security of a hyper scale cloud. Second tier: sovereign controls, orchestration and management of security policies for data access at rest, in-transit, and in-use. Third tier: governance & transparency, programs and compliance commitments with local laws and operating principles. Top tier: expertise, Microsoft's and local partner technical expertise to build codified architectures, training, and local support.

Viva! (again) 

Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform that utilizes a variety of tools to increase productivity, well-being, and collaboration at work. Viva allows you to send praise to a coworker, create a virtual commute, mental health checks, and even a native Headspace integration for free meditations. At Inspire, Microsoft announced the Viva Engage app, which allows employees to create Stories (think Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat stories or Twitter Fleets). People can post short videos or photos to their Storyline to help foster connection across the organization. Personally, I’ll be using Stories to let everyone know that there are donuts in the break room :). 

 The interface of Viva Engage with storylines and stories. It looks similar to Facebook, with rectangles in a line across the top giving a preview of what your coworkers posted, plus a circle overlay with their profile picture or initials. The feed integrates long-form posts that are internal.

Teams Updates 

Another event, another feature in Teams! Inspire 2022 brought us Excel Live – a way to collaboratively work on workbooks directly within the Teams meeting window. Now, if your team is editing an Excel workbook during a meeting and you see a typo, you can fix it on the meeting pane rather than needing to open the workbook in a separate window. Similarly, Microsoft announced Collaborative Annotation, which gives meeting participants the ability to draw, type, or react to shared meeting content via Microsoft Whiteboard. 

This shows six attendees on a meeting, all on the righthand side of the screen, collaborating on an Excel workbook with financial data. There is also a pie chart and bar graph visualizing the data. There is a circle around the cell with the number 25 in it, indicating that the attendees are editing the cell together.Azure Space Partner Community 

Perhaps not the most relevant announcement, but certainly my favorite, is the Azure Space Partner Community. This ecosystem spans space operators, manufacturers, systems integrators, data providers, ISVs, startups, and more. Partners can participate in Azure Space training to learn about the latest Azure Space technologies, collaborate with Microsoft engineers, and work together to innovate in space. 

 A list of the space partners with their logo on a black background. Airbus, Amergint, Ball,, esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iDirect, Intelsat, Kratos, KSAT, Loft Orbital, Nokia, omnispace, Orbital Insight, SES, Skywatch, SpaceX, ThalesAlenia Space, US Electrodynamics In, Viasat, Explore

Even if you’ve heard it before, it’s important to note that hybrid work is here to stay. As Microsoft focuses on doing more with less, they are enabling the workforce of the future. Each of these announcements adds on to or improves a product or feature you’re already familiar with, so you’re not stuck downloading or logging in to too many applications. This is the strength of the Microsoft ecosystem; they dynamically add features as needed rather than creating a stagnant app and moving on to the next big thing.  

If you want to utilize one of these new features in your workplace, contact us to schedule a discovery call and see what Microsoft offerings work best for your specific situation. We look forward to speaking with you!