More than 23 000 people attended the yearly Microsoft Ignite conference at Atlanta last week.
This is a huge turnout and the organization, logistics… were professional. Even the Wifi worked flawlessly … The only little negative was the food located at inconvenient places in the center. However, this enabled us like many attendees to quickly drop in at the CNN food court. So many – and I am sure you as well – could not resist when arriving practicing your James Earl Jones voice and attempt to say with a deep voice: “this is CNN” (OK and we said “This is GSX”). It was also fun for us coming from Switzerland to be able to feel the heat of the first Presidential Debate.
The big themes of the conference were centered on cloud delivery. Keynote presentations from the likes of Satya Nadella, Julia White … and many Microsofters presented many new features on Azure. So did customer testimonials, strategic alliances from key ISVs. This is a changing world indeed.
What was loud and clear at the show was the momentum of Office 365 and the implications for all of us.
We have spoken to nearly thousands of companies who have migrated or who will migrate. Time for deciding on the move was over and the natural concern was now on how to manage it and make the most of it.
We discussed with many on the lessons learned based on the many installations we have done this year to our Office 365 customers and the key points were the following:
- It is not because Microsoft provides availability that there is no need for monitoring. The use cases that we have met more often are around management of ADFS, Active Directory and related network latency issues and we have accordingly developed specific technologies focused on these. Again, as many said it, we now have the experience, we understand what needs to be looked after from our side and what Microsoft offers.
- Availability is less of an issue but quality of service or simply trust has to be now gained by ensuring performance from every possible location if not every possible user.
- Effective use of tools and reporting on adoption is key. The new IT wants to ensure that what is deployed is used.
- Finally, IT organizations are looking at what impacts the service from start to finish. Most of them no longer work in silos with the network team , the DB team, the server team, …
- They also starting to express concerns that cloud-based solutions offer flexibility but come in at a cost.
This is a huge change from previous years where admins were concerned on either quality of tools but also basically for their jobs. The best admins are now spending time to be closer from their users, are concerned on delivering quality performance and finally ensuring that they deliver projects with strong ROI.
In many ways, this is a parallel development to the DevOps concept. Modern admins of our days are concerned about the overall delivery from end to end of new programs and architecture. They are becoming … AdminOps …
The early experiences with around 100 of customers using our products on Office 365 resonated well with Microsoft Execs who value tools like ours which help drive usage of Office. (And by the way, in our discussions, GSX tools were seen clearly seen as complementary to SCOM and the new OMS. Can you please pass the message, thank you.)
They also resonated well with AdminOps and we were pleased to show them our new products will be available November 15, namely our new Web interface Gizmo, new audits features in Usage and the ability to provision robot users who will test overall services in every location.
So IT governance is changing because of the cloud for DevOps as well as for AdminOps and these are exciting times indeed.