Inspire 2018: Microsoft putting people at the heart of technology experiences

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft 365 Microsoft Inspire Microsoft Teams

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on how Microsoft 365 is being used for cultural transformation, business productivity and  industry-specific workflows

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella began the third day of Microsoft's flagship partner event, Inspire 2018, by focusing on the importance of putting people at the centre of their technology experiences.

“The relationship people have with other people, the activities and tasks that you do. That’s what’s got to drive the devices in our life, not the other way around,” he told the thousands of attendees at the event in Las Vegas.

“Whether it is in gaming, whether it’s in Microsoft 365, whether it’s with Dynamics 365 – it’s about building these people-centered, multi-sense, multi-device experiences.”

Nadella demonstrated his own use of Microsoft 365, running through features such as Outlook, Teams, Power BI and Yammer, and how he assigns the different applications to different uses and to communicate with different groups.

“I use Outlook as my open loop. This is my ability to communicate with any one of you or anyone inside the company. Microsoft Teams, that’s my inner loop, that’s how I stay in touch with the groups as well as the projects that I’m closely working on and closely working with. And then Yammer, that’s my outer loop, that is the ability to really make sure that I’m in touch with what the 100,000 people are really buzzing about.

“That’s the open loop, inner loop, outer loop.  That’s how I think about the taxonomy of my communication.”


Addressing the thousands of attendees, Nadella said: “The opportunity for everyone here is to take Microsoft 365 and apply it for cultural transformation in large enterprises, for productivity in small businesses, to be able to really do industry-specific workflows in healthcare, in manufacturing, in financial services.

As an example, the chief executive said the NHS is using Microsoft Teams to coordinate and bring staff and patient data together. It has built and is deploying healthcare-specific templates around Teams to help drive down cost of bed management and electronic medical records – both essential to ensure that the best patient outcomes are delivered.

Looking to the future

Nadella also addressed how technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are increasingly finding practical applications across every industry – and how AI will form a key component of Microsoft’s products moving forward.

“As we look forward, the opportunity for us to serve our customers in this new era of the Intelligent Cloud and the Intelligent Edge is far greater,” Nadella said. “[AI] is going to have perception capability, language capability and autonomy that’s going to be built into the applications going forward."

However, he also warned that the industry must take its responsibilities seriously – whether that’s handling customers’ data or developing technologies like AI.

“We have to do our very best work when it comes to privacy, because as technology and digital technology becomes pervasive in our lives, we have to approach everything with the fundamental assumption that privacy is a human right,” he said.

On AI, he added: “We have to have a set of principles that guide the development of AI. These are things where we need to not only build the tools, the technologies, but it’s also a set of design principles, a set of ethical principles that we as builders of technology need to have.”

Elsewhere he talked about the advance of ubiquitous computing: “Essentially wherever there is data, compute will migrate to data. We are taking Azure to Azure Stack, to Azure IoT Edge, to Azure Sphere. This is that one ubiquitous distributed computing fabric.  One programming model that is event-driven, serverless, so you can write an application that truly works across all of this.”

Ultimately, said Nadella, “At a time like this, where digital technology is part of every fabric of life and economy and society, to be able to connect with our own personal passions and philosophies, because that's what really enables us.

“Take the most pressing challenges of the world – climate change, energy, education.  And within any community that you care deeply about, any country you care deeply about, you have the ability to use this platform to make a difference.”

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