The concept of 'digital transformation' was prominent during keynotes at Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta. Brad Anderson, Microsoft corporate vice-president of enterprise client and mobility, provided his definition of what 'digital Transformation' means for Microsoft as well as for its enterprise customers.
Tommy Carron will be reporting on all things Microsoft and enterprise IT at Microsoft Ignite Atlanta 2016. Read his previous post here.
"Every organisation is becoming a digital organisation and the importance of IT is increasing. It should no longer be looked as a cost centre but as a business enabler," he said. "Every organisation can be transformed regardless of size or industry as digital technology allows them to be more efficient, more effective and do more."
He cited the example of movement tracking devices being attached to cattle last year and sending data to the cloud. Analysis allowed them to increase their yield by twofold. This is all being driven by technology and IT is transforming organisations.
A big change at Microsoft is that their customer experience teams are part of their engineering team. They work with their largest customers to get solutions deployed as quickly as they can. Anderson will be returning to Australia in April 2017 to meet with customers and said he can't wait to be back. Though unconfirmed but he’s unlikely to make it to Ignite Australia 2017 in February.
Challenges organisations face is they want to build new cloud apps on modern architecture. At the same time, they don’t want to be constrained to using a single cloud provider. Microsoft provide the choice of running cloud apps within Azure, another service provider or on premises using Azure Stack. Building a modern cloud app on Windows Server 2016 gives you the confidence to run this where you need to and ability to move it based on business needs. Anderson gave the example of when government regulations change and you need to relocate an app. Interestingly Microsoft is the only global cloud provider licensed to operate in China.
According to Anderson, users today want a work environment that understands who they are. That delivers to them what they need without friction, the ability to move fast and feel connected. The role of IT is to provide that but they also want to put guardrails in place to guide them to handle their organisation’s data correctly. The example he gave was when working with confidential data it can only be stored to certain approved locations.
Perimeter based security is now insufficient — the wall and castle model of defence no longer works. Identity is new perimeter control pane but also where significant attacks are targeting. 30% of users who receive malicious e-mail will open it and 12% will then launch the attachment within the first four minutes. With the move to the cloud there's new capabilities such as intelligence that can be applied to help organisations.
Secure Productive Enterprise aims to provide a feature rich and free environment for users to work within but also make sure it’s secure. It provides an experience appreciated by both IT and users alike. The components are Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility Suite. Anderson noted that some of their largest EMS customers are within Australia and that it allows you to set policy based on the user, the device and apps they’re using. It will grant access based on assessed risk.
His advice for combating phishing attacks is that you need to assume that you will be breached. Work with organisations that have the tools to look for patterns, detect them and then respond quickly. Microsoft’s Intelligence Security Graph is collecting telemetry signals from 200 services globally, both enterprise and consumer including Xbox Live & Bing. They handle 300 billion authentications and scan 200 billion e-mails every month looking for malware and malicious links. This information is fed into the graph to process hundreds of gigabytes per second using machine learning.
To clarify he explained there are two different types of graphs. The Microsoft graph and the intelligent operational security graph. The first is an administrative control pane that understands relationships between people and organisations as used by Office 365 and new EMS console. Whereas the later processes the sea of incoming data, telemetry and signal.
We then briefly discussed the future development of Operations Management Suite and how it will automatically detect the data structure and extract fields for custom logs. This will enable OMS to ingest data from any source, and be able to index and report on it through Log Search and Analytics. The underlying goal of OMS is to provide a modern management control pane for everything they do regardless of platform. The Azure portal will eventually absorb the, currently separate, OMS and EMS portals.
Anderson had another appointment so I quickly finished up with two questions. What motivates him each day? He was't quite sure but admitted to not drinking coffee so it must be the fact he loves what he does. He’s having more fun in his role today than at any time in the past 25 years. In case you were wondering, if he were a Spartan in combat his choice of weapon is the broadsword — but it would need to be a digital energy sword like a Star Wars Lightsaber.