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Yesterday at 9am local time, Satya Nadella took the stage to kick off the inaugural Microsoft Ignite – a huge event for the tech industry, and one of the most exciting days in recent memory for the IT industry.

Sure, that sounds like artificially high praise, but consider for a moment the volume of announcements, releases, previews, demos, and roadmaps covered in the keynotes delivered by Satya, Joe Belfiore, Gurdeep Pall, and myself.

Notably:

  • Announcing the next preview Windows Server 2016 – available now
  • Announcing the next preview of System Center 2016 – available this week
  • Announcing SQL Server 2016 – in preview this summer
  • Announcing the Microsoft Azure Stack – available in preview this summer (demo)
  • System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview for managing Windows 10
  • Announcing Outlook conditional access and MAM with Microsoft Intune will be enabled in Q2 (demo)
  • Announcing availability of the Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) (demo)
  • Public preview of Azure RMS Document Tracking (demo)
  • General Availability of Azure AD Cloud App Discovery (demo)
  • Public preview of Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) (demo)
  • Public Preview of Azure AD Privileged Identity Management

To see demos of many of these new announcements, check out my keynote recap post from yesterday.

I think we’ve come a long way in how we talk about the way people stay productive and connected. As recently as last year, these keynotes were used to talk about how people will work, but everything shared onstage yesterday was about how people can work – right now.

Instead of waxing philosophical about the “explosion of devices” or extolling the significance of disconnected nouns like productivity, extensibility, or usability – this event has dealt in very practical terms.

Rather than counting tablets or predicting device pervasiveness, the focus is on comprehensive, scenario-based management, how to take advantage of limitless management scale, and how to put data in the hands of whoever needs it wherever they are. Right now.

The conversations we’re having here in Chicago are concentrated on how to set up the industry’s only enterprise-grade identity and access management solution, or the benefits of a data protection system that secures your most sensitive assets, or how to plug all of this into your existing infrastructure.

There are very few theoretical discussions going on, and even less dreaming of what might come next; this crowd is seeing how to go back to the office next Monday (or even remotely from here) and set up MDM and MAM that they can build upon indefinitely.

That’s what we’re doing right now.

The value of this kind of discussion is spelled out pretty clearly by the market: In the 1 year since EMS launched, we have grown our install base 7x.

This growth is just a jumping off point, however. This massive (and rapidly growing) user base provides us with a vast database of telemetry and user data that allows us to continue refining these products, expanding services, and eliminating common barriers. Because every component of the EMS is cloud-based, these updates are both frequent and powerful.

That means your organization is getting more productive, more secure, and better equipped to stay that way.

The future of IT is very compelling, and there is great reason to be optimistic about the future, but that forward-looking enthusiasm is only possible because of the great work that IT Pros are going to go home and do after this event. If you agree with me that IT has a bright future – it’s because of what you can already do right now.

 

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