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Michael Lonnon – 0:00

Welcome to the HSO dynamics matters podcast, your regular Sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides. I’m Michael Lonnon, and today I’m joined by my Dutch colleague and innovation consultant Max Dinser. In this edition, we discussed why the supply chains of many organisations are unprepared to meet the growing digital commerce needs. And we had a chat about how some of the tools that Microsoft announced recently at the Ignite conference can help improve commerce offerings. So, grab a brew, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon – 1:20

You’ve recently watched and been heavily involved, and seen a lot of the content around Microsoft Ignite event. And traditionally, that’s a live event, have you been to the physical ignites before.

Max Dinser – 1:35

No, sadly since I haven’t been in the business that long, I’ve been to physical events before, but I’ve never been to ignite the physical event myself. So, I just got to know the last two of them where I really deeply follow it and they both were digital. Microsoft tries their best to make it more of a nice virtual experience with Microsoft mash when they had this year, a think tank and aquarium kind of thing. But I’m actually missing physical events. I Imagine ignite would be better physical.

Michael Lonnon – 2:07

If you have a choice, you would definitely do it live then over digital? And how do you think they got on? How do you think the event was? Was it delivered, okay? Did you get the information out of it? Was it being of value? Were they able to articulate kind of the new things, well because it was digital, do you think?

Max Dinser – 2:29

Yes, I think when it comes to marketing, Microsoft is one of the strongest companies on the planet and how they produce the videos, how they produce the session is really well prepared. And they get to the point. So, from a learning perspective, actually I think digital is way better than a physical event. I have to admit that I’m a salesperson, so that’s why I like the physical interaction, get to know people making connections, that’s what I’m missing. They offered a communication zone where you can chat and everything. But you’re not going to chat with a random person about certain stuff if you’re not interacting with them. And that’s what I’m missing. But the learning and getting to know the new features. That’s what Microsoft does really great on a visual basis.

Michael Lonnon – 3:14

There’s a lot that goes into these events. There’s a lot of content. But they’re really kind of key highlights that you got from it that you think were worth highlighting.

Max Dinser – 3:28

Definitely, I mean, it’s over 300 sessions or something. I also had to pick and mix my schedule and talk to different people to get the information I needed to know. Since I have a business applications background, I would say the introduction of intelligent order management, IRM is the biggest thing they introduced. Industry clouds is also a cool thing and everything around the power platform. The Microsoft Teams integration is really interesting. I would definitely recommend to everyone, look for those sessions, especially the intelligent order management one because I think that’s the biggest release from this year.

Michael Lonnon – 4:06

Okay, tell me a little bit about what they cover in it. So, tell me a little bit about what it is, how it helps organisations and which sort of direction it’s taken Microsoft’s thinking in.

Max Dinser – 4:18

Intelligent order management, mainly supports retail customers, and as the name already says, it supports you in delivering your orders, and actually getting closer to the customer. And I think that’s especially an addiction nowadays that everyone has. We are used to push notifications, getting information, getting instant information, where’s my order, track and trace, stuff like that. And that’s actually a tool that helps Microsoft to fulfil this. But what makes it interesting is it’s a separate licence. It’s removed from the normal typical dynamics 365 stack, and therefore also capable of being used with an SAP system. In the backend, for CRM, different commerce solutions, what it does is mainly give you connectors from the power platform. So, it opens up the power platform even more to different kinds of companies. So not only Microsoft uses, and enables you to get instant information, where’s my order? What kind of state does it have?  You have those out of the box connectors that are in there, and they help you to push the information towards the customer as close as possible.

Michael Lonnon – 5:34

Do you think that’s a conscious decision by Microsoft to make the technology more accessible for more people using different types of technology in their own companies? You mentioned SAP there. SAP users could well use the IOM, do you think there’s a conscious kind of push?

Max Dinser – 5:57

I wouldn’t even say conscious, I would say that’s really deeply Microsoft’s strategy. So that’s 100%, what they are for, that’s what Microsoft Ignite was mainly about, make technology more accessible. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Amsterdam Office of Microsoft, but if you come in there is a big staircase and there stands division of Microsoft on every step. And it says empower more people and companies to envision technology of tomorrow. That’s what they mainly try to do, they try to do it with Azure opening up. So, you can have different kinds of tools, different kinds of service, not only Microsoft servers, but also Linux or stuff like that. They follow the Open Data initiative with SAP, Adobe. So now they try to really open up and make the clouds capabilities they have accessible for everyone. Yeah, they also push that to get that into third countries get that to smaller business that enterprises can.

Michael Lonnon – 7:00

Not just to make it accessible, depending on what technology you have, make it accessible depending on the type of company you are and the size of organisation you are as well.

Max Dinser – 7:08

Yeah, indeed. And that’s why they also introduced this year, the industry clouds, where they focus really on the industries, like even non-profits, so you see, it’s not only enterprises, health, manufacturing, retail clouds, they picked some industries where they strongly believe we need a digital transformation nowadays, and I think I see Microsoft going further like that, make it more vertical instead of horizontal.

Michael Lonnon – 7:36

What do you think’s next, then? Where do you think, this is going to take us? I guess that the new technologies and the platform developments that are going to be brought out in the future will continue to push towards that accessible kind of viewpoint? Is there anything that you see, or you saw that would indicate where they’re going to go next?

Max Dinser – 7:54

Yeah, we see a big push in artificial intelligence to make systems smarter. Also get the enablement from technology. What I also see is that teams are becoming the central playground. So, Microsoft introduced teams, of course, and you can connect all of your business applications to Power Apps in there, Power BI everything gets into teams. So, you have a central hub and can use your data mainly from there. So, Microsoft is really about connections, making it accessible, having central places where you can manage everything and opening data.

Michael Lonnon – 8:37

Making it very collaborative, it seems that they’re focus is on that as well. Now, for anybody listening to this, when you mentioned it was 300 sessions over the period of the event, where can people see the content?

Max Dinser – 8:53

Yeah, recommendations I got there. If you Google, ‘updates on Microsoft ignite book of news’, that’s actually my best recommendation, because there’s everything written in a page report, and you can actually pick per section and search in that report. What is interesting for me, and they’re all the highlights are described. On the other side, there is my ignite.com. And most of the sessions have been recorded, so you can re-watch them again. They are mainly on demand, my recommendation is to also watch the intelligence order management introduction, as well as the keynote. The keynotes, gives you a few Okay, where’s Microsoft going? It was quite impressive this year I have to admit with the virtual reality and how they introduced that they really tried to replace the physical bits.

Michael Lonnon – 9:43

Final question from me then. Who was your standout presenter? If you had one who is the presenter that stood out for you and the way they delivered and the way they gave the information.

Max Dinser – 9:55

Since I’m really much in, the field services business, actually my favourite presenter was Daniel Clark. I have to say Satya Nadella, I like his humble being and his speaking. So, I think he’s a great CEO. He pitches Microsoft great that’s how I want to see them.

Michael Lonnon – 10:18

Great. Alright, brilliant. Well, thank you very much for your time Max. That was very good talking to you.

Max Dinser – 10:23

Thanks, Michael, it was a pleasure.

Michael Lonnon – 10:28

Microsoft’s strategies on making technology more accessible, and to make it easier for more people to use and get value from it. There’s part of this, there’s a focus on bringing parts of the dynamics 365 stack away from the main platform, so you can integrate the specific parts you need in infrastructure you already own such as SAP, it’s no longer an either-or conversation. Max’s last piece of advice to Google ignite book of news is something I’d suggest you do next, because it provides a useful snapshot of what’s coming down the line for Microsoft. I’m going to leave you now with a quote from author Michael Baldwin who said, “Nothing ever lasts in the head”. So, if you do watch recordings from the Ignite event with over 300 sessions, keep your notebook handy, you’ll have some great ideas.

Take care of yourselves.

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