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Key Announcements from the Microsoft Build 2021 Event

The Six Five team discusses key announcements that came out of the Microsoft Build 2021 Event.

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Patrick Moorhead: Why don’t we jump in with Microsoft Build? Wow, what a week. Build is targeted to developers, which by the way, Microsoft now calls, “Creators.” Threw me a little bit, because when I think of creators, I think video, audio, and things like that. But for Microsoft speak, it is now creators.

You would expect with Microsoft having, I’m going to have to say it, the broadest developer tools and platforms out there, they obviously have a lot to talk about. Two things I wanted to go in. First off, let’s talk Power. We saw the Power Platform with a lot of very big announcements. I want to focus in on one, which is, first of all, Power is the low-code, no-code platform for Microsoft. If you want to go a lot of code, you go Visual Studio.

What they did is they have added a real language capability to type in what you want to program, and based on OpenAI’s GPT-3, it automatically splits out code below. It’s pretty crazy. The cool part is not only that it works, but it’s not proprietary. It’s based on OpenAI. If you get into it, and you get hooked on it, and you want to move off of Microsoft someday, you can do that. You’re not just learning it for Microsoft. You’re learning this for multiple GPT-3 environments.

The other thing that I thought was really interesting is Power added what’s called a process advisor. This is a process mining capability. What it does is it identifies repetitive activities that take the most time across any organization. And then, it actually recommends what to automate and showing the organization where a bottleneck exists. This is super cool, but I think it just shows Power Platform using AI in ways that you might not have understood or maybe not appreciated.

And then, I think on the Azure side. For me, the big thing that stuck out was Azure adding a lot more AI end-to-end tools out there. That was one. Essentially showing customers, showing developers how to make SAS apps leveraging Microsoft Azure. Whether it’s using the Azure communication services or other types of AI services, it allows you to build your own SAS apps using their Pass services.

There were a ton of announcements, Daniel, but I want to leave you. There’s so much oxygen left in this room. I do want to add one more. Windows On ARM developer kit. Essentially, letting a 64-bit ARM device in addition to a traditional or internal AMD system is an expensive proposition if you ran into issues there.

Microsoft teamed up with Qualcomm and created this dev kit. It looks like an Apple TV, which is cool. A little mini PC for people to build those applications. Whether it’s low-code, whether it’s no code, whether it’s a lot of code, Microsoft really showed developers the way here. Impressive stuff.

Daniel Newman: Absolutely. Satya Nadella kicked it off with a prerecorded keynote. I always appreciate the utilization of technology in the world of remote content. Although, I am excited to get back to live. It was always good to see him on the stage, talking to us, telling us things for the first time. Pat, you did cover a lot of ground. I think the oxygen joke is like a theme on the show.

You and I just have this propensity to going down the well, and then not coming back out until there’s no water left. But in all serious, I really thought a couple of things caught my attention. You mentioned a few of them. The Dataverse and Synapse Link integration. Really bringing low-code to vast data for integration, warehousing, real-time analytics, and basically making the, you mentioned the term, Pat, about creators as well.

I think what we’re really saying is there was a time when you used to be a broadcast production specialist and you knew how to wield a camera. Now, creators are everybody with a phone. And I think they’re following that same path with developers. There was a time when everyone was pro-code, you had to be pro-code and you had to know how to code something. Now, anybody that basically has a PC can be a programmer. You are now a creator of applications.

The other part that I saw Microsoft really lean into was the Teams and the developer ecosystem for Teams. There’s one more. There’s a broader Azure story, I’m going to write an op-ed about it. I’m not going to tease that here. I’ll write the op-ed, and then you’ll have to go read it. They added a few great features on Teams. Shared staged integration, extensibility of the Together Mode, and some improvements for developers and developer collaboration.

The shared stage basically allows developers to create collaborative experiences, such as whiteboards, project boards, and put them within the meeting. I think that’s important, considering where we’re going with hybrid work. We all heard about Together Mode. Look, we’re sick of this type of video set-up. No offense.

I’m sure you all love looking at Pat and I, but imagine if you could put Pat somewhere cooler? Not just a cool background, but you really start to create that immersive experience. We’re really bridging AR and collaboration now, giving developers more flexibility to create common environments. What about creating a backdrop that makes you look like you’re in the other half of the same room as the physical workers that you are going to be collaborating with in a hybrid work environment?

And then, finally some updates to the tool kit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code to basically allow developers to use less code, which by the way, is thematic at Teams. Or sorry, across Microsoft, across Build. Nadella mentioned a hundred updates for developers at the event. A hundred may not seem like a lot, but the theme as I see it is less code, low-code, and no code. So that you can spend your pro-code resources doing those most important and most complex things.

Patrick Moorhead: Well said, Daniel. You add that to the Power, GitHub, and Azure, and I have to agree … As an analyst, you need to be very careful on your definitive phrases. But I do believe that Microsoft has the most comprehensive developer tools and cloud out there for developers right now.

With that said, good job, Microsoft. It was a really good event, I learned a ton.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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