Highlights from Alan Eardley – Ignite 2018


25 Sep Highlights from Alan Eardley – Ignite 2018

Microsoft’s flagship technical event Ignite, kicked off yesterday in Orlando Florida. Our Head of Solutions Design, Al Eardley is attending along with a number of our other subject matter experts. Al and the team have kindly summarised some of the new and exciting announcements around new product enhancements.

Dynamics 365

  • The joined up nature of Dynamics continues to evolve as the components make use of even more integration. The ability for Microsoft to demonstrate the Dynamics 365 suite of tools with only one client who are using it from Sales, through manufacture and into support, with additional usage for recruitment starts to truly demonstrate the versatility and potential of the platform, especially when considering the possibilities for consolidation of platforms that enable greater visibility through reporting and quicker and easier integration.
  • AI continues to be a tool that Microsoft are introducing in a measured manner. The application of AI in the sales process through the Dynamics platform promises many ways that members of the sales team will be able to track their leads and nurture them to realistic opportunities, including the use of machine learning to predict the success and to offer suggestions to help increase the likelihood of converting the opportunity into a sale. This application of AI extends to support the line management role in predicting the likelihood of members of the sales team reaching their targets and suggesting potential help to offer the team.
  • Talent management is a new offering that is a great start to a very complex process. It still needs work but there will be a major update in October that will go some way to making the product viable.

Power Platform

  • Since their inception the suite of Power tools have been somewhat immature in their adherence to recognised development best practices. There has been no way to easily manage the development and deployment of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow across different environments. This is about to change as Microsoft release tools to validate the quality of the builds of solutions on these platforms.
  • The immense power of PowerQuery is being spread across different tools, including such divers products as Flow and Data Lake gen 2. this will mean that Flow will have the capability to carry out sophisticated data manipulation which has not been available up till now. Data Lake having this capability means that data scientists have an additional tool at their disposal, but more importantly, the manipulation of big data is being made available to many people who have previously only worked with PowerQuery in PowerBI.

Power BI

  • The scale of the data models within PowerBI is being scaled up to allow much larger models. In combination with more tables within a model, aggregations are being introduced that will support in memory tables allowing super fast access to aggregations of vast amounts of data
  • Reporting Services has delivered multi-page reports for many years. PowerBI will have this capability, reducing the need for organisations bought into PowerBI to have a need to resort to Reporting Services for those particular multi-page formatted reports
  • The ability to utilise cognitive services and AI within PowerBI is being built out so that it will be a very easy and intuitive process. This will simplify the process of gaining insights into data. The ability for PowerBI to discover and use machine learning models will also be simplified.

All in all, the sessions that I have been to have excited and inspired me to find out more detail related to the announcements.

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About the author
Alan Eardley

Alan Eardley, ProSci, MCP, CSM, PRINCE2, P-TSP, has nearly 20 years of experience working with web-based, data-driven solutions and brings a wide understanding of the way that solutions can provide benefits to an organisation. Alan has extensive experience of delivering Office 365 and SharePoint solutions, and he has been involved in different types of solutions ranging from public facing branded sites, through to technically challenging Line of Business portal solutions. Alan has a widespread knowledge of database development, configuration, high availability, disaster recovery and business intelligence. In combination with a broad understanding of infrastructure including networking, virtualisation, clustering, load balancing and licencing, Alan can provide a clear view of how Microsoft technologies can be best used to provide tangible business benefits.

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