Microsoft says all businesses will be collaborative and steeped in data and AI


How will the world of work evolve in the near future? “Every business process will be collaborative, powered by data and AI, and bridge the digital and physical worlds,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his Ignite conference opening address. business this week.

Nadella and other Microsoft executives speaking at the event gave many examples. One implication from this point of view is that collaboration cannot just happen in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint or Outlook; it must flow between them and the operational applications. The data and intelligence derived from interactions between people – what Microsoft calls the Microsoft Graph – should enable the organization to refine and perfect business processes and make employees more productive.

“This digital fabric enables flexibility and strengthens connections between people, people to teams, employees to managers,” said Jared Spataro, vice president of Microsoft 365. “It strengthens weak bonds and connects people to the mission and culture. It seamlessly weaves data automation and AI, all into the workflow. It includes all types of workers: information workers, frontline workers and flexible workers, and all functions from HR and sales to marketing and customer support. And it extends beyond organizational boundaries to include customers and partners.

Leverage Microsoft components

These aren’t new promises of what collaboration technology should be capable of, but Microsoft seems to be getting closer to putting the software together to make it possible, at least for organizations willing to buy most or all. Microsoft components.

For example, to unlock some of the “fabric” that Spataro describes, you would complement your implementations of Teams, SharePoint, and other Microsoft 365 components with Microsoft Viva, the employee experience platform featured prominently at the event. event.

Aimed at corporate human resources and training departments, as well as IT managers, Viva aims to make it easier for employees to access the information and training they need to do their jobs and business leaders to detect work patterns that reflect employee productivity or suggest the need to coach employees on how to do their jobs better.

Team interactions are a primary source for the Viva Insights analytics module, although it can also pull data from Zoom, Slack, Workday, and SAP SuccessFactors. Meanwhile, Viva Topics uses AI to digest information and documents from all workplace systems while identifying sources of expertise within the organization, so employees can more easily find answers. their questions or know who to contact.

Using Microsoft Graph Data Connect Integration, the same source data is available for companies and ISVs that think they can do better or have a more specific use case. The connector can also be used to transfer data from other applications to environments such as Teams.

Help communication take off

In a demo session on Wednesday focused on how Teams can be used in combination with Microsoft Power Platform’s low-code developer tools, Power Apps CEO Ryan Cunningham used the example of a airline trying to improve its on-time departure performance – what he said Microsoft has, in fact, worked with a number of airlines.

In one scenario, Teams served as the back-end for a mobile app built with the Power Platform tools to allow ground and gate personnel to communicate with flight coordinators through chat and interaction with automated chatbots. . These discussions were restricted within security groups, so ground staff could not access manager-only channels. In addition to responding to queries, chatbots can also send a message to an employee who needs to take action on an issue. “Having a chatbot contacting and proactively sending a message to a user has been one of our most requested features,” Cunningham said.

Meanwhile, at the enterprise level, a desktop application created with the same tool can integrate collaboration features into data dashboards and workflow screens, allowing employees to see who else. they can contact them if they need help solving a problem – and interact with them directly within that framework. the context.

Such applications were not necessarily impossible to create before; they just tended to take months of planning, Cunningham said. “It’s just not something the world has time for anymore. “


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