Highlights from Alan Eardley – Ignite 2018

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27 Sep Highlights from Alan Eardley – Ignite 2018

Another sunny day in Orlando, and this morning kicks off with deploying Windows 10. This is an area that is key to the Modern Desktop that Microsoft are rolling out as without Windows 10 everything from the security to the telemetry is less joined up. And one of the biggest benefits for clients upgrading is the ability to use the OneDrive Sync Client to effortlessly sync files from both OneDrive and SharePoint.

Windows 10

Microsoft have worked hard to build a stable update ecosystem that currently delivers monthly quality updates and bi-annual feature updates. The effectiveness of this model has been demonstrated through reduced support calls. The flow of updates has been tremendous and that is evident by reviewing the features delivered to Windows 10.

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These updates are all recommended and they are all cumulative, but the size of the files is reduced and the update time is also significantly reduced which is a massive benefit to end users.

Deployment using SCCM

If you are using the latest version of SCCM then there are improvements that will allow deployment of Windows 10 without the need for the Windows Deployment Services infrastructure, and the ability to use the Azure Cloud Management Gateway.

Phased Deployments

Phased deployments are designed to allow groups of users to be defined as being the recipients for releases and if the success of those deployments meets defined success levels, the release can be opened up to the next group of users. The thinking is that rather than manually greenlighting a deployment, it would be automated, unless it is unsuccessful, at which point it would automatically be halted.

AutoPilot

AutoPilot is being extended to allow the upgrade of Windows 7 machines to the latest version of Windows 10. Once 1809 is released, it will be possible for users to open a new machine and register with the AutoPilot app to allow their new machine to be upgraded to include all features defined in the AutoPilot profile for the user or machine.

Common Data Service (CDS)

The CDS is the basis of development for Dynamics and Project. As such there are schemas for the products that deliver entities consisting of fields and rules. The defintion of these entities is then used to build models that are then converted into natively responsive PowerApps.

The interface used to build the CDS is currently a blend of a modern dedicated interface and Dynamics looking interfaces which creates a disjointed experience.

The generated “Model” PowerApp is built based on the underlying model and as such the interface has less flexibility than the “Canvas” PowerApps. The result will be that the Model PowerApps may be significantly less attractive and less usable. Key considerations in choosing which mode are the usability and purpose of the PowerApp: if you want a PowerApp that will be used by 10,000 employees off the bat without training, a Canvas PowerApp is for you; if you want to represent complex business logic then a Model PowerApp is for you.

Shifts (Formerly known as StaffHub)

StaffHub is deprecated, and the replacement is Shifts which is built into Microsoft Teams. This is a great move as the underlying platform has not been changed, but the manager interface is now in Microsoft Teams. The frontline worker interface is still mobile only and still offers most of the same functionality. An improvement is the ability of frontline workers to communicate using the conversations in Microsoft Teams and make use of the files and other capabilities of Microsoft Teams, including connectors and tabs.

Adaptive Cards

This is one of the most inspiring sessions I have been to. Adaptive Cards are presentations of data that can be presented in multiple different channels with the same content and using the UX style of the channel.

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The idea is that you use a common design language that allows cards to present information in intuitive, interactive ways across multiple channels and that users are able to interact with the information by following links or by providing inputs that are then sent to services to process them so the cards can be used in bots, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Windows 10 Notifications, Windows 10 Timeline or Cortana.

This opens the way to routing information to multiple channels while retaining a rich and engaging interface.

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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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