Key Takeaways from Satya Nadella’s Keynote at Microsoft Ignite 2018, Orlando

Microsoft Ignite 2018 – Digital Transformation is a very intense form of transformation of the businesses activities, processes, competencies. Keeping the present and future shifts in mind, organisations should accept it in the way it leverages the opportunities of the digital transformation.

Tech Intensity = (Tech adoption)^ Tech Capability

All of us in digital business have to do both:

  1. Adopt technology
  2. Build technology

There are two nuances, which we need to consider.

  1. If u spend a lot of time, energy and money building a capability which you feel is unique to you, except that it is available as a commodity from someone else, then that could be a big mistake. So you want to make sure you focus on the things that truly make you unique.
  2. If u are dependent on a provider who is providing you a commodity on one end, only to compete with you on another end, then you could be making another strategic mistake. So picking your partners well is where the strategic definition of being smart work comes through.

Microsoft mission – Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Building Solution areas to help you with digital transformation outcomes.

A few ways in which customers have been using technology for digital transformation:

Royal Dutch Shell

Uses Azure, Azure IoT, Azure AI & Bonsai

They strategically using AI across their entire operation. Drilling for oil is a high precision, high stakes operation. Royal Dutch Shell has already built AI capability of their own, They are using various data sources to guide the drill and adopted the latest technology. They partnered with Bonsai, a company that Microsoft has recently acquired, to take machine teaching and reinforcement learning and scale the drilling operations throughout. They partnered with C3-IOT, a partner of Azure for preventive maintenance. They have connected all the equipment, and streamed the data, to convert that into preventive maintenance/predictive power. They also are taking computer vision tech to all stations they run, currently in APAC. Safety is critical. Commodity cameras deployed everywhere and being able to have computer vision algorithms running on Azure, deployed at the edge to observe what is happening. In case of any dangerous activity, immediately alert to the local operator.

CBRE in real estate business. – servicing in a market with changing demographics, and open office environment.

CBRE 360 is a software product built on Azure Digital Twin Service.

Taking commodity input, and building a value-add. It takes people, space, things & creates a simulation of the interaction between people and things.

Reasoning – gives the tenants, facility manager all the control they need to manage the temperature, control the flows and help people schedule meetings. The software goes way beyond facility management.


Uses Azure AI, Azure Blockchain Workbench

Buhler is a Switzerland based food processing company. Works in the critical area of food safety in the world. 500 million people globally are susceptible to toxins in food. 65% of the world’s grain passes through their machines.

Using Azure AI and computer vision fitted in their machines to find toxins in a truckload of corn and to ensure it doesn’t pass through to grocery shelf near you. This is a literal example of finding a needle in a haystack.

Buhler has partnered with Whitworth Brothers, the largest fillers in the UK, and are bringing industry blockchain for complete traceability. This brings true food safety, by transforming business with AI and transforming the industry with blockchain.


Uses Azure, Azure AI, Cortana

The prime concern for BMW was on how can they ensure they remain in control of brand experience throughout. Brand association inside a BMW car has to remain that of BMW. They are building an intelligent agent which is going to be branded BMW and they are using all of Azure AI, from the bot framework to the cognitive services, a voice for the dialog management, but the agent itself is BMW’s own agent. That is strategy at work. They are going to allow access to Skype, Cortana, Alexa, etc. but all under the terms of their brand experience. That’s how every consumer brand needs to be thinking going forward. if they need to remain relevant.

H&M Group

Uses Azure AI, Dynamics 365

Based out of Sweden, and is the 2nd largest fashion retailer.

H&M has been transforming operations online and offline. In the New York flagship store, they have a mirror which is AI driven, using speech and vision to help consumers passing through the store get familiar with all fashion.

They are launching new brands, one of which is an off-priced brand. The brand needs to move with agility and speed. The brand has been built from scratch on the cloud on Dynamics 365 to be able to do that. The speed with which they are moving, the way they are transforming their retail operations are all accruing to their margins and profitability.

The most important consideration in terms of digital transformation outcome:

How can you continually improve engagement with customers?

Data that is available in every company around customer is super rich. There is behavioral data that comes from web and mobile, there is IoT data. Many customers are building products and services that are collecting data, transactional information in ERP and CRM systems, So there is clearly a big data opportunity. Except there is this “small data” challenge. All of this data is trapped in silos, many of them in internal systems, but also in external ones such as in social, advertising and marketplaces, where the data is opaque. The real challenge is to bring all this data together so that companies are in control.

Open Data Initiative

This is a new initiative of 3 companies – Microsoft, SAP, and Adobe – coming together for the Open Data initiative. It will unlock the true potential of the customer data that is available.

Bill McDermott


We are in a customer-driven growth revolution. every customer is going through a digital transformation because their consumer is social, mobile, they are operating in all channels, and are on the fly. We have to be geo-spatially in tune with them, We have to connect the end-to-end customer experience from the demand chain, all the way through to the supply chain in real time. CEOs in the boardrooms need a single view of the consumer, without which they are unlikely to win in this economy. So businesses need to have their data and have open access to it.

Shantanu Narayen

CEO, Adobe

Every single enterprise has to meet the mandate of its customers, which requires all interactions to be digital, personalized and relevant.

The enterprise needs unlocking all data previously held in silos.

Bringing the ability for people to take all this data, all the content, and AI and deliver compelling, personalized, relevant experience across all channels is when they are meeting the customer needs.

Open Data Initiative Principles

  1. Customer ownership and control
  2. AI-driven business outcomes
  3. Open and extensible

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