Microsoft Ignite 2021: a catalyst for digital transformation


The past year and a half have presented tremendous challenges for organizations around the globe and across all industries. As a result, digital transformation has never been more urgent. The innovation on display at the autumn session of Microsoft Ignite 2021, which took place November 2nd through November 4th, represents Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to helping organizations big and small face these challenges.

Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella described the current sea change during the Ignite keynote address, saying “Fundamentally, we are moving from a mobile and cloud era to an era of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence.”

We at the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group are looking forward to continuing our journey in lockstep with Microsoft, utilizing these exciting innovations to help our clients achieve more in 2022 and beyond. Here’s a recap of some key announcements from Ignite 2021:

Hybrid work

Whether team members are working from their homes or in the office, Microsoft provides the resources they need to stay productive, along with tools that strengthen connections between employees, managers and the company as a whole.

For example, Microsoft Loop, an exciting new co-authoring and collaboration tool serves as a flexible canvas for creativity that enables team members to unite to do their best work. Loop will soon be available both as a standalone app and as an embedded feature within Teams, Outlook, OneNote and more. Users can even import elements such as customer sales opportunities from Dynamics 365 to accelerate efficiency.

For an even more personal and connected experience, Microsoft Mesh is a new mixed-reality platform that allows geographically distributed teams to collaborate in an immersive, shared experience. Within this “metaverse,” colleagues can brainstorm and interact with animated avatars, virtual whiteboards and more. This solution may be especially useful for international teams, as Azure Cognitive Services provide real-time translations and transcriptions for a variety of languages.

Microsoft Viva, an employee experience platform announced earlier this year, will now have more powerful AI capabilities and enhanced features that can provide pertinent just-in-time information. The experience will be like getting an answer from a coworker rather than digging through countless documents. The data that Viva surfaces include contacts, customer histories and more. Actionable insights help managers keep employees engaged and connected.

If your organization is looking to implement new tools to enable hybrid work and collaboration, the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group can help. Visit our Intelligent Workplace page to learn more.

Intelligent experiences

The speed at which Microsoft keeps up with the evolving demands of business and society were fully apparent at Ignite. Microsoft announced a new Customer Experience Platform, which augments customer data with AI to help organizations fill in blanks about their individual customers’ habits, preferences and behaviors. With greater insight, organizations can better serve their customers and orchestrate more relevant customer journeys to optimize the entire funnel.

With edge computing more important than ever, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces will provide new perspectives on how people interact in physical spaces and generate analytics, run simulations and automate routine tasks. This technology has a range of implications, not just for retail or industrial facilities – as highlighted in a discussion between Microsoft and Nvidia at Ignite – but for the workplace and other settings as well, helping turn them into smart spaces.

The Cognizant Microsoft Business group has launched an Intelligent Experiences & Operations solution to help businesses approach digital transformation with an experient-first approach. From recruitment and employee retention to customer acquisition and loyalty, partner engagement, smart spaces, business process re-engineering and more — we’re here to help you create exceptional, meaningful and highly engaging interactions that put people first. Click here to learn more.

A new era of business

Digital capabilities are a prerequisite for business today. Being competitive means having a powerful cloud and edge infrastructure, as well as tools that enable teams to build compelling solutions that solve unique industry challenges. Microsoft’s upcoming Industry Clouds will now help organizations in the financial services, manufacturing and nonprofit sectors succeed with tailor-made solutions, in addition to the retail and healthcare Industry Clouds that were announced earlier this year.

Azure Arc, a single-pane cloud management and app development tool, was recently overhauled with a focus on hybrid and multi-cloud resource management and machine learning inference support. Integrations with Azure Stack HCI, VMware vSphere and more will help organizations take their applications from on-premises systems to the cloud in a more accessible fashion than ever.

Explore the Intelligent Enterprise and Intelligent Cloud solutions from the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group to prepare your organization for the new era of business.

Identity and security

With efficient collaboration being a key to success, organizations need identification and security solutions that can cover the entire trust fabric. Microsoft is building the identity system of the future to help make the right access decisions in real time. Azure AD now automatically identifies external business associates in seconds and approves them to collaborate within Teams; the barriers to collaboration are gone, but the secure connections and governance remain.

Small- and medium-sized businesses shouldn’t have to settle for less powerful security. Microsoft Defender for Business is a new endpoint security solution that protects against threats like malware and ransomware across an array of devices. It combines preventive actions, breach detection and automated investigations and response to create a comprehensive level of protection with the benefits of reduced cost and complexity.

The Business Continuity, Resilience & Security offering from the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group is designed to build resilience into enterprise applications, infrastructure, processes and teams with the latest platform native Microsoft Cloud technologies. Get in touch to help your organization expect the unexpected and plan for the possible.

Sustaining the spark

Microsoft Ignite 2021 was an inspiring event. It was exciting to get a glimpse of the future thanks to Microsoft and its partners who led presentations spanning four key themes: empowering people and organizations for a new world of hybrid work, building the next generation of applications that run anywhere, reimagining the new era of business and protecting everything with end-to-end security.

The Cognizant Microsoft Business Group was proud to be a part of Ignite 2021 as both sponsors and presenters. Our experts hosted two sessions: “ Re-imagine the future of business transformation with an experience-led approach,” and “ Green transformation: driving measurable sustainability every step of the way.” If you didn’t have a chance to tune in, be sure to watch on-demand at the links above, and click here to visit our Ignite partner page.

Your premier partner in the Microsoft Cloud

Reimagine processes and transform experiences by embracing the full power of the Microsoft Cloud with the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group. As your trusted partner, we help you realize your investments in a primary platform sooner and with greater effect. Get in touch today to advance your cloud modernization journey with focus, simplicity and scale.

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