Last week, we attended the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in Austin, Texas with partners from 41 countries and six continents to discuss current Microsoft Exchange trends.
Not surprisingly, the impact of the cloud, mobility and BYOD, social media and collaboration, and big data were the major topics driving the discussion. The keynote, moderated by Julia White, General Manager of the Office Division of technical marketing, was really interesting.
We had the opportunity to listen to three great speakers from Microsoft: Jeff Teper, CVP, Office Servers & Services Program Management, Applications & Services; Kristian Andaker, PM Director for the Information Protection team; and Harv Bhela, Director, Program Management, Exchange.
3 mains ideas were kicked off and addressed at MEC Sessions:
#1 Transformation of the workplace
Jeff Teper kicked it off the first one with a great talk about the transformation of the workplace in increasingly mobile, cloud-based environments. Teper discussed how Microsoft is reimagining Office to bring more value to IT folks with the recent release of Office for the iPad, and new policy management and reporting features that ensure that productivity does not suffer in Exchange environments. Teper elaborated on how the cloud is affecting how organizations need to manage messaging environments which are more social and driven by the end-user, as well as the increased security concerns IT messaging administrators are faced with today. He acknowledged that productivity platforms need to be integrated with open, social communications tools like Yammer to facilitate open communication.
He also touched on the importance of supporting the BYOD trend, and how Microsoft is making significant investments in developing a trusted, secure and scalable platform to do this. Most importantly for IT administrators that worry about job security when moving to the cloud, Teper pointed out that the jobs are still there, and that the cloud only enables messaging administrators to work on more strategic projects.
#2 Information protection and Compliance
The Information Protection and Compliance is a key topic when we talk about Unified Communications with the importance of keeping the corporate data safe, which pushes business lines to use the tools available in their companies. Very often user adoption is not at easy as IT folks expect because sometimes, available tools are difficult to access with SSO barriers. The result is a lack of productivity or people who use external solutions that are not within the corporate company policy. The main Mojo was "Do not sacrifice user productivity" at all.
#3 Social proliferation and connect Communication
During this presentation we learned that 3 main trends are influencing the messaging platforms:
- Mobile: Proliferation of devices and half of the email are seen on the phone first.
- Social: How a company is working like a network as communication is becoming more open and more expressive.
- Big Data email: Machine learning has a lot of potential allowing the overall email experience to be tailored, personalized.
With the BYOD trend, market research highlights that the phone is becoming the only screen that matters for communication and email. With the proliferation of devices, it appears that smartphones will soon be more important than PCs in personal and professional workplaces.
An interesting notion has been mentioned by Harvinder Bhela: what he calls the "intelligence triage," which is how we take all power of social and machine learning to bring it right into email to provide a riche tailored experience on all screens to help business lines to stay on top of things.
In addition, Bhela touched on the importance of more open social communications, how big data and machine learning are enabling IT administrators to deliver more personalized experiences to the end users and the importance of smart collaboration.
Overall, the Microsoft speakers gave helpful insight into the company's Exchange strategy, and the cloud is where Microsoft believes it can deliver the most value to partners and customers alike. The company aims to lead the market with faster, easier and more innovative offerings, and is committed to ensure 99.9% availability of its critical messaging and collaboration platform through intelligent, proactive management.
We're excited to continue on this path with our valued partner!