Microsoft Ignite 2021, the tech giant’s annual conference for technology leaders was held last week. The conference is known to reveal strategy and plans for its products and solutions. This year, it was hosted as a virtual 48-hour event with over 150,000 technology leaders and practitioners learning about the exciting announcements.  

Here are just some of our key takeaways from the event. 

Power Automate Desktop is now free

Microsoft announced that Power Automate Desktop will now be available to Windows 10 users at no additional cost. The enterprise-level tool for creating automated desktop-centric workflows comes with 370 prebuilt actions to help you build flows across different applications. However, its real power comes through letting users build their own scripts to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. 

Microsoft Ignite 2021 Viva Announcements 

There were a few announcements surrounding Microsoft Viva. As Viva is split into 4 modules, we have summarised what you need to know.

  • Viva Learning – The Viva Learning module aimed at seamlessly integrating learning into the workday will enter public preview in April 2021.
  • Viva Connections – Starting in March, the Microsoft Teams desktop experience for Viva Connections, which provides a curated, company-branded experience including news, conversations and other resources for employees will begin rolling out. This will be to all customers as part of their existing Microsoft 365 license.
  • Viva Insights – Viva Insights, now in public preview, gives individuals, managers, and leaders personalised and actionable privacy-protected insights to help everyone in your workforce. Starting next month, the virtual commute experience will begin rolling out as part of the Microsoft Viva Insights app to help you mindfully wrap up your workdays.
  • Viva Topics – Now available, applies AI to empower people with knowledge in the apps they use every day. It automatically organises content and expertise across your systems and teams to create topics with built-in security, compliance and workflow.

Teams and Microsoft 365 updates

With remote working being the new norm, there were many updates around Teams and Microsoft 365. In addition to the multitude of features coming with Microsoft Viva, several additional features for Teams were showcased at Ignite. This includes:

  • Enhancements in collaborating with external people and groups
  • New Gallery Views and Presenter Views
  • Certified Teams Hardware
  • End to End Encryption for Teams Calls
  • Webinar enhancements and support for up to 1000 attendees

IT professionals will need to be aware of these updates in the coming months. For the full list of Teams updates during the Ignite Event, you can see more here.

Power Fx – a new open-source low code language

Microsoft published its first low-code programming language, Microsoft Power Fx, for logic customisation across the Power Platform. It is the same language that is at the heart of Microsoft Power Apps canvas apps today and is inspired by Microsoft Excel.  It enables the full spectrum of development from “no code” to “pro code” with no cliffs in between, enabling diverse teams to collaborate and save time and expense.  You can learn more about Power Fx here.

Dynamics 365 

Microsoft also announced new Dynamics 365 capabilities that will help businesses adapt and evolve, as we move forward into the ‘new normal’. 

One of the Dynamics 365 announcements was the integration of Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams. This integration will make it simple to meet, chat, call and collaborate right from within your Dynamics 365 workspace. The new unified collaboration features in D365 applications and Teams will support all departments across the business, no matter where employees are working. You can see more information about Dynamics updates here.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. To find out more about the conference you can head here and catch up on any updates you might have missed.  If you’d like to know more about any of the announcements mentioned in this blog, you can reach out to our team here.