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Introducing Ignition Framework: A Step-by-Step Approach To Creating and Growing New Businesses

Ignition Framework Frame1


Over 100 Slides Free and Downloadable as a PDF

“But what are we going to ignite? And why do I need a framework for it?”

This site’s purpose is to help ignite business growth, whether you’re a startup or an established business. Ignition Framework is designed to specifically help with this process.

Flash In The Pan

Too often startups or internal innovation programs end up resembling a flash in the pan rather than an effective and focused beam of energy. Startup founders get excited about their idea, tell their friends and even raise venture capital only to ultimately get crushed by one of the many risks inherent in creating a new business.

The same goes for internal innovation programs at established companies. A team with passion and energy is formed, in some cases even a swanky new building is built to support the new innovation team, only for the concept to languish in layers of bureaucracy and analysis paralysis. Eventually company managers, concerned over the lack of a clear ROI to the initiative, redirect resources elsewhere and shelve the project.

This is what I call a flash in the pan business initiative – it starts out with a bang, sparks of excitement and energy fly, only for the team to ultimately be disbanded.

While the flash in the pan problem can be a result of poor market conditions or a lack of proper resources, too often the reason for failure is a lack of a structured and disciplined framework designed to drive the team to concrete business results as quickly as possible.

Ingredients Required for Sustained Business Growth

Like a fire, every startup (whether standalone or part of a bigger company) needs three things in order to survive and thrive:

Conditions are like the perfect blend of air and fuel when starting a fire. For new businesses, conditions that matter are the market environment, technology runway and the business model(s) to be deployed. When the market is ripe, the technology is ready and you have a business model to take your idea to the market, then you have ideal conditions for a new business.

But just like with starting a fire, ideal conditions won’t ignite until you have a spark or catalyst.

Catalysts are like the spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture. For new businesses, the catalyst is the team and the capital needed in order to take advantage of the market conditions. When the right team is paired with the right amount of capital (not too little or too much) surrounded by the right market conditions, a new business can ignite.

Containers are like a well-designed fire ring or the chamber of a cannon. Having the right market conditions, team and capital is only as useful as the focus and direction of the team. Even in the best conditions, teams can lose focus on what they need to accomplish and ultimately fail. With a proper container, or framework, team effort is focused and directed in the most useful and effective ways to achieve immediate business results.

The Focused Beam of Energy

With the Ignition Framework, team energy is focused and directed in a disciplined manner to make the most of every ounce of passion and capital invested into the initiative. It provides the focus and direction for the team similar to how the beam of energy in the video below is focused. 

This is a  video of a transparent potato gun  from Smarter Every Day’s YouTube channel.

Notice the difference in this video between the flash in the pan. The flash in the pan had a lot of undirected and ultimately wasted energy whereas this video shows very clearly a spark (catalyst) inside a chamber with the right air/fuel mixture for ignition (conditions) and the energy is focused toward and directed (chamber) straight toward the potato. Ultimately the potato is shot and the goal is achieved.

Like the chamber and barrel in the video, the proper framework can organize, direct and focus your team’s effort to take full advantage of your passion, the market environment and give the startup or new venture a strong chance at success.

So what is the Ignition Framework?

Ignition Framework Overview

The Ignition Framework is a template for creating new business growth and tracking it’s progress. Below is an overview of the framework and the way in which business models can be measured against hitting the four key milestones of business model progression.

Ignition Framework w References Overview

The framework is designed to walk you through the process of creating a new business from a vague idea to a business that has achieved success and scale.

Like a fire ring or chamber of a cannon, the framework provides clear guidance and organization for any new business initiative. The four key stages of business success are outlined as follows:

Problem / Opportunity Fit

Every Innovation Journey starts with an idea for solving a problem. This is where you clarify what your idea is, what problem you are trying to solve and for whom you are solving it.

To accomplish this stage, typically a successful founder will do the following:

This stage is usually done by an individual with passion around an idea at the expense of time and a little money during the research phase.

Problem / Solution Fit

This is the discovery phase where you come up with rapid prototypes in an effort to quickly find, test and validate your solution with your target customer.

To accomplish this stage, typically a small core team of founders or first few employees will do the following:

This stage usually requires more people than just the original founder. Typically it’s a combination of a business person, a technical/engineering person and someone who can design things to show customers as part of the solution experiments.

Product / Market Fit

This is the build stage where you take your validated solution to market with a brand, messaging and channel that generates consistent and sustainable sales volume.

This is the most famous stage because achieving it essentially means you’ve overcome all the major hurdles associated with creating and selling a new solution in a market. Another reason it’s talked about the most is because achieving this stage means your idea has graduated from essentially a research project to a viable business that with additional resources could achieve more success. Once this stage is achieved, investment dollars are easy to come by!

To accomplish this stage, a cross-functional team including marketing, sales and customer support will do the following:

An important distinction from this phase versus the prior phase is the need for a minimum saleable solution. In the prior phase you validated the solution via MVP’s (anything you can show to customers that creates validated learning) and in this phase you used those learnings to create a solution you can sell.

Business Model Fit

This is the scale stage where you rapidly extend your solution to more customers and define, model and optimize  your business processes to handle the growth.

This is a stage often talked about simply as scaling. Only a few businesses achieve this status but for those that do, the scaling process can be extremely challenging. High customer demand coupled with the need to hire many people quickly are signs that you are going through the scaling process.

Typically companies that scale successfully have done the following:

Typically scaling requires an enormous amount of resources. This is where investors also pile in because they can see the growth and want to be a part of it. While investment returns, on a risk adjusted basis, are typically the highest when investing in companies that have just achieved product / market fit, investment returns for helping businesses scale can also be very lucrative.

Where To Learn More

The Ignition Framework is a part of the overall Innovator’s Masterclass that I offer for free here . In that training I offer more than 100 free slides on how the process works and more details on specific examples. Be sure to check it out!

Over the next several months I will be analyzing startups and internal incubation initiatives using this framework and will post my assessments. As you use this framework you’ll find that it helps organize and focus your discovery efforts in ways that maximize your chances of achieving real business results!

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Powered by Microsoft Translator, the Book of News now has translations available to assist in reading content in languages other than English. Microsoft Translator relies on data and technology to provide its translation. Because translations are generated by Azure AI-powered machine translation they may not always be perfect or exact and should be used as an approximation of the original English language content.

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October 12 - 14, 2022, introduction, foreword by frank x. shaw.

Welcome everyone to Microsoft Ignite, and once again we have a book’s worth of news about Azure, AI, Business Applications, Industry Cloud, Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Security and Windows ready for your reading pleasure!

Our objective with the Book of News is to provide you with a guide to all the announcements we are making, with all the details you need. Our standing objective remains as it has always been – to make it as easy as possible for you to navigate all the latest information and provide key details on the topics you are most interested in.

At this year’s Microsoft Ignite, we will welcome more than 200,000 people virtually and 7,500 people from satellite locations globally. Attendees will gain the world-class training skills necessary to get the full value from Microsoft technologies, while also getting a sneak peek at new products and services that will be coming in the future.

There is no question the past few years have been a period of dramatic change for the global community, with disruptions to our society, the economy, political landscape and the way we work. The backdrop for our news at Microsoft Ignite is how the Microsoft Cloud can help our customers do more with less, which represents our renewed focus to help customers maximize their existing IT investments and optimize costs in uncertain economic times.

As organizations move forward from the disruption of the past few years and adapt to new challenges, they are turning to their technology providers to help them succeed. They need trusted solutions that empower their employees to make an impact, help them get the most out of their technology investments and are backed by the data and insights needed to drive meaningful business outcomes.

We have a great lineup of news and some exciting moments planned for this year’s Microsoft Ignite. I hope that you can join us.

As always, send us your feedback! We want to know how we can do better. Are you getting the information and context you need? What can we do to make the experience even better next time?

What is the Book of News?

The Microsoft Ignite Book of News is your guide to key news items that we are announcing at Microsoft Ignite. The interactive Table of Contents gives you the option to select the items you are interested in, and the translation capabilities make the Book of News more accessible globally. (Just click the translate button below the Table of Contents to enable translations.)

We also pulled together a folder of imagery related to a few of the news items. Please  take a look at the imagery here .

We hope the Book of News provides all the information, executive insight and context you need. If you have any questions or feedback regarding content in the Book of News, please email  [email protected] .

If you’re interested in speaking with an industry analyst about news announcements at Microsoft Ignite or Microsoft’s broader strategy and product offerings, please contact [email protected] .

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1. AI 1.1. AI

​​​​​​​1.1.1. numerous updates to azure cognitive services announced.

Azure OpenAI Service , available with limited access in preview, will offer access to Dall·E 2, a model that allows users to generate custom images using text or images.

The addition of the Dall·E 2 model will expand the breadth of use cases Azure OpenAI Service customers can employ. Select customers can generate content, images and code to help users be more productive executing business-critical tasks.

Azure Cognitive Service for Language enhances summarization and expands language support across language skills with more natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG) capabilities, so customers can efficiently implement business apps for document and conversation digitalization scenarios.

Enhanced summarization capabilities, including abstractive document and generic conversation summarization, are now available in preview with limited access. Expanded language coverage for various features, enhanced contact center AI capabilities and access to Language Studio is now generally available.

Computer Vision is adding two services, now in preview, Image Analysis 4.0 and Spatial Analysis on the Edge. Image Analysis 4.0 is an updated model, designed to extract a wide variety of visual features from images to improve digital asset management and customer accessibility. Spatial Analysis on the Edge will improve safety and security by ingesting streaming video from cameras, extracting insights and generating events to be used by other systems.

Azure Cognitive Service for Speech is adding new features to its speech-to-text and text-to-speech services. These services will help transform the way companies deliver media experiences, accessibility and customer service.

They include new languages and emotions added to Neural Text to Speech to improve and scale the reach of voice assistants and more; synthetic voice training with Custom Neural Voice, including multi-style tones like cheerful or sad; Embedded Speech, enabling companies to use Azure speech services on their devices; customization features like lexicons to improve accuracy of speech recognition; and improved audio processing of all Azure prebuilt voices.

Learn more about this update or download visual assets . 

​​​​​​​1.1.2. Azure Form Recognizer capabilities in preview

Azure Form Recognizer offers new capabilities, now in preview, including a prebuilt AI model that automatically extracts content unique to contracts, such as parties and payment terms, and expanded language support to 275 languages worldwide.

Learn more about this update.

1.1.3. Azure Machine Learning features new capabilities now in preview

Azure Machine Learning continues to provide value for machine learning pros and IT admins, with new features that help streamline and simplify the development experience. Updates include:

Azure Machine Learning registries , in preview, will help machine learning pros promote, share and discover machine learning artifacts such as models, pipelines and environments across multiple workspaces in an organization. This will enable customers to track model and data lineage across different workspaces in different Azure subscriptions, making cross-team operations easier.

Azure Container for PyTorch  and  Azure Data Science Virtual Machines for PyTorch , now in preview, are curated environments and custom images that will bundle innovative technologies used by Microsoft to set up, develop, accelerate and support optimized training for PyTorch models.

Responsible AI dashboard  in Azure Machine Learning will be generally available soon, making it possible for customers to easily implement Responsible AI by debugging machine learning models and making informed data-driven decisions. The  Responsible AI scorecard  introduces an on-demand UI experience for generating PDF scorecards, making it possible for no-code/low-code customers to create reports for their models.

Additional updates include:

​​​​​​​1.1.4. Microsoft Project Bonsai adds AI features to platform

Microsoft Project Bonsai is a low-code industrial AI development platform, in preview, where engineers will be able to create AI-powered automation without the need for an extensive background in data science. Companies are using Project Bonsai to help improve product quality and efficiency.

Several updates and enhancements to Project Bonsai, all in preview, include:

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2. Azure 2.1. Azure Data

​​​​​​​2.1.1. microsoft intelligent data platform adds integrated partner ecosystem.

The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform, which unifies databases, analytics and governance, has added the Partner Ecosystem, a selection of complementary and integrated partner solutions to help customers accelerate their data integrations and value creation. The Partner Ecosystem, now generally available, meets customers where they are with select cloud-based partner solutions that complement native Azure platform capabilities with better together solutions, all within the integrated Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform. This first wave of partner solutions spans each layer of the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform including:

Learn more  about this  update or download visual assets . 

2.1.2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Azure Cosmos DB adding distributed PostgreSQL support

Azure Cosmos DB now brings fast, flexible and scalable service to open-source relational data with the introduction of distributed PostgreSQL support. Built upon the Hyperscale (Citus) engine, the new Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL brings everything developers love about PostgreSQL and the powerful Citus extension to Microsoft’s fast and scalable database for cloud-native app development. Developers can now build apps with both relational and non-relational (NoSQL) data using the same familiar database service.

Azure Cosmos DB includes improvements to the developer experience for open-source technologies. MongoDB developers can now store larger documents with 16 MB document support in Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB. These updates are generally available.

Learn more  about this update.

​​​​​​​2.1.3. Encryption at rest with customer-managed keys on Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server now in preview

Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server, a fully managed and intelligent PostgreSQL database service, now supports encryption for data at rest with customer-managed keys. This feature, now in preview, will offer customers an additional layer of control by enabling central management of encryption keys, addressing specific security and compliance requirements and putting organizations in full control of a key’s usage permissions and life cycle. Customer-managed keys are stored in Azure Key Vault, a centralized key-management service that provides additional security, high availability and disaster recovery capabilities.

​​​​​​2.1.4. Autoscale IO feature for Azure Database for MySQL now in preview

Azure Database for MySQL, a fully managed and scalable MySQL database service, can now scale input/output (IO) on-demand without having to pre-provision a certain amount of IO per second. Customers will enjoy worry-free IO management in Azure Database for MySQL Flexible Server because the server will scale input/output operations per second (IOPS) up or down automatically depending on workload needs.

With the Autoscale IO preview, Azure Database for MySQL customers pay only for the IO they consume and no longer need to provision and pay for resources they are not fully using, saving both time and money. In addition, mission-critical Tier 1 apps can achieve consistent performance by making additional IO available to the workload at any time. Autoscale IO eliminates the administration required to provide the best performance at the least cost for Azure Database for MySQL customers. This feature is now in preview.

​​​​​​2.1.5. Azure Data Studio now supports Oracle Database assessments for migration to Azure-managed databases

The Database Migration Assessment for Oracle, an Azure Data Studio extension powered by Azure Database Migration Service, now offers a migration assessment for moving from Oracle Database to Azure Database for PostgreSQL. The assessment includes database migration recommendations and an evaluation of database code complexity. Through the same tooling, customers can get target sizing recommendations for Oracle Database migration to Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure SQL, including Azure SQL Database Hyperscale, which is ideal for large workloads up to 100 TB. These updates are in preview.

With these changes, migration planning is simplified for Oracle customers looking to modernize their data estate to Azure managed databases. Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure SQL Database offer excellent value for Oracle customers looking to reduce administration overhead and optimize database license costs while maintaining performance. The new assessment scenarios help customers speed up migrations while reducing risk, making it easier than ever to move Oracle Database to Azure.

​​​​​​​2.1.6. New Azure Synapse Analytics features coming soon in preview

Azure Synapse Analytics is adding two new features to deliver a simple no-code experience to integrate Microsoft 365 data with Azure Synapse Analytics.

A new  pipeline template  for Microsoft 365 data, coming soon in preview, will simplify the configuration experience by enabling a one-click experience to set up Mapping Data Flows. This new feature will eliminate the extra steps needed to connect Microsoft 365 source data for analytics, making it easier for customers to configure an always synchronized and compliant integration.

Mapping Data Flows, coming soon in preview, builds on top of the Copy Activity functionality by improving the way Microsoft 365 data is brought in for analysis. Mapping Data Flows will clean, normalize and flatten the data (Parquet format) in multiple data sinks such as Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS), Azure Cosmos DB and Synapse SQL DW (dedicated SQL pool). Flattened data is much cheaper and faster to process with big data processing. Additional data sync support gives customers flexibility and greater efficiency in constructing data pipelines that optimize workflows.

2.1.7. New machine learning updates in Azure Synapse

Azure Synapse introduces two new updates related to machine learning:

​​​​​​2.1.8. Azure Data Explorer adds new sources for near real-time analytics

Azure Data Explorer is a fully managed, high-performance, big data analytics platform that makes it easy to analyze high volumes of data in near real-time. The Azure Data Explorer toolbox gives customers a complete solution for data ingestion, queries, visualizations and management.

Data ingestion is the process by which data is added to a table and is made available for querying in Azure Data Explorer.

Azure Data Explorer is adding ingestion support from the following data sources:

These additions make it easier to bring data into Azure Data Explorer to provide near real-time analytics and give customers a complete solution for data ingestion, query, visualization and management.

2.1.9. SAP Change Data Connector for Azure Data Factory now generally available

The SAP Change Data Connector (CDC) for Azure Data Factory is now generally available. This feature, which previewed in June 2022, allows customers to easily bring SAP data into Azure for analytics, AI and other apps.

Using Azure Data Factory, an industry-leading data integration service, customers can ingest data from diverse data sources (e.g., multicloud, SaaS and on-premises) and transform data at scale. Azure Data Factory works seamlessly to combine data and prepare it at cloud scale. Customers use Azure Data Factory to ingest data from different SAP data sources (SAP Hana and SAP Cloud for Customers, among others) and combine them with data from their operational stores (e.g., Azure Cosmos DB and the Azure SQL family). This enables customers to gain deep insights from both SAP and non-SAP data.

​Using Azure Data Factory Mapping Data Flows, customers can extract changes from different SAP systems using the new SAP CDC, transform the data at scale and deliver the data into a data lake or data warehouse for analytics.

Learn more  about this  update .

​​​​​​​2.1.10. Microsoft Purview Data Governance helps business users do more

Microsoft Purview Data Governance, the unified governance platform for hybrid data estates, has several new features including:

2.2. Azure Hybrid, Multicloud & Edge

​​​​​​2.2.1. new, cloud-like capabilities available for azure arc-enabled sql server.

Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server has several new features, now generally available, which allow customers to take advantage of a cloud-like experience, including:

​​​​​​2.2.2. New deployment options for Azure Kubernetes Service enabled by Azure Arc

Hybrid Azure offerings provide consistent experiences for customers across on-premises, one or more clouds and the edge. With new Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) hybrid deployment options, in preview, customers can now effectively extend cloud to edge as they centrally deploy and manage AKS enabled by Azure Arc on Windows devices, Windows IoT, Windows Server 2019/2022 and Azure Stack HCI. Through this consistent managed Kubernetes experience, organizations can run containerized apps regardless of their location in a datacenter, the Azure cloud and/or a physical location or device.

Additional benefits of the new deployment options include:

2.2.3. New feature release for Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI offers subscription-based management for customers who need hybrid infrastructure in their own datacenters. Enabled by Azure Arc, Azure Stack HCI is introducing a new release with many new features to increase security, versatility and performance. They include:

Learn more  about these updates.

2.3. Azure Infrastructure

2.3.1. azure automanage now available for azure arc-enabled servers and azure virtual machines.

Azure Automanage saves time by automating configuration and management of servers throughout a customer’s entire life cycle at scale, whether they are in Azure or in hybrid environments enabled by Azure Arc.

With the general availability for Azure virtual machines (VMs) and Arc-enabled servers, Microsoft adds new capabilities to further automate configuration and management of any server, including:

Azure Automanage provides unique capabilities for Windows Server VMs in Azure that simplify management and improve workload uptime to further increase efficiency and cost savings. One of these capabilities is Hotpatch, which allows patching without the need to reboot every installation, reducing downtime of Windows Server Azure edition VMs in Azure.

Learn more about this update by  contacting the Microsoft Media and Analyst Events Team .

​​​​​​​2.3.2. New Virtual Machine Scale Set and Spot Virtual Machines capabilities

A new feature for Virtual Machine Scale Sets will enable Azure customers to mix Standard and Spot Virtual Machines (VMs) in the same virtual machine scale set. Now in preview, this new capability is available with flexible orchestration mode and can help Azure customers achieve significant cost savings* given the deep discount rates that Spot VMs usually provide.

Virtual Machines Scale Sets’ flexible orchestration mode provides Azure customers with the ability to deploy highly available large-scale cloud infrastructure quickly, reliably and easily.

Customers can also set up policies that define the percentage allocation of Standard VMs versus Spot VMs. The number of Standard VMs that need to be running at any given time, in addition to the percentage of Spot VMs, can also be defined.

*Actual discounts may vary based on region, VM type and Azure compute capacity available when the workload is deployed.

2.3.3. Azure Premium SSD and Azure Elastic SAN updates

Next-gen Azure Premium SSD Disk Storage is now generally available

Premium SSD v2 gives Azure customers the opportunity to improve the price-performance of their storage systems and optimize costs. The new Azure Disk Storage offering is ideal for apps that require high levels of performance without the need to increase storage capacity.

This advanced block storage solution is designed for performance-critical workloads that consistently need sub-millisecond latency combined with high input/output operations per second (IOPS) and throughput. Premium SSD v2 provides the most flexible and scalable general-purpose block storage in the cloud, enabling customers to meet the ever-growing demands of production workloads like SQL Server, Oracle, MariaDB, SAP, Cassandra, MongoDB, big data, analytics, gaming, virtual machines (VMs) or stateful containers.

With Premium SSD v2 Azure customers can now provision up to 64 tebibytes (TiBs) of storage capacity, 80,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 1,200 megabits per second throughput on a single disk. In addition, customers can separately provision disk storage capacity, IOPS and throughput based on their workload requirements, resulting in greater flexibility when managing performance and costs. In addition, customers can now also store incremental snapshots for Premium SSD v2 on Standard SSD storage.

Azure Elastic SAN now in preview

Azure Elastic SAN, now in preview, is a unique cloud-native and fully managed storage area network (SAN) service. Combining SAN-like capabilities with the benefits of being a cloud-native service, Azure Elastic SAN will offer a scalable, cost-effective, high-performance and reliable storage solution. It can connect to a variety of Azure compute services, enabling customers to seamlessly lift and shift their SAN workloads to the cloud without having to change their provisioning and management model.

These features include:

Learn more about  Azure Premium SSD  and  Azure Elastic SAN .

​​​​​​2.3.4. ​​​​​​​New Azure Monitor capabilities and features

New Azure Monitor capabilities are designed to help customers further modernize their environments and optimize costs. These updates include:

Predictive autoscale for Virtual Machine Scale Sets, now generally available.

Azure Monitor Log updates to enable cost optimization, now generally available

Azure Monitor Agent updates

Azure Monitor Agent (AMA) provides a secure, cost-effective and simplified way to collect telemetry data from a user’s resources. It replaces legacy Log Analytics agents (also called MMA and OMS agents).

Recommended alert rules, now in preview

2.3.5. Nutanix Cloud Clusters now generally available on Azure

Nutanix Cloud Clusters on Azure, now generally available, simplifies and accelerates the customer journey to the cloud. Nutanix customers can migrate or extend their workloads to Azure, without modification or retooling.

With Nutanix Cloud Clusters on Azure, customers can leverage their existing Nutanix skills and tools, add Azure services such as security, identity and analytics and gain cost efficiencies with license portability that enables them to use their existing licenses for Azure deployment.

And, to further support a hybrid model, customers can also seamlessly extend Azure data services to their on-premises Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes clusters using the Nutanix platform.

2.3.6. New features in Azure Networking

New features for Azure Networking are now generally available and include:

​​​​​​2.3.7. New Windows Server benefits and features

Microsoft is expanding Azure Hybrid   Benefit , a program that enables Software Assurance (SA) customers to reduce costs. With the new Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Stack HCI, customers can:

Windows admin center,   now generally available in the Azure portal,  allows customers to configure, troubleshoot and perform maintenance tasks with the familiar UI and functionality of the Windows admin center UI, without leaving the Azure portal.

​​​​​​​2.3.8. Azure savings plan for compute offers a new price offering

Microsoft is launching a new price offering,  Azure savings plan for compute.  This new offer, generally available later in October, will allow customers to save across select compute services globally by committing to spend a fixed hourly amount (for example, $5/hour) for one or three years.

As customers use select compute services around the world, their usage is covered by the plan at reduced prices, helping them get more value from their cloud budget. During times when their usage is above their hourly commitment, users will simply be billed at the regular pay-as-you-go prices. With savings automatically applying across compute usage globally, they’ll continue saving even as their usage needs change over time. This plan lets customers increase the value of their cloud budget, retain financial control and optimize costs amid increasing cloud spends to help them do more with less.

2.4. Azure VMware Solution

​​​​​​2.4.1. new features for azure vmware solution support availability, security.

Two new Azure VMware Solution features support higher availability and security for customers’ mission critical workloads and include:

99.99% private cloud uptime:  Stretched clusters for Azure VMware Solution, now in preview, will provide 99.99% uptime for mission-critical apps that require the highest availability. In times of Availability Zone failure, customers’ virtual machines (VMs) and apps automatically failover to an unaffected Availability Zone with no app impact, which does not require IT support.

Customer Managed Keys (CMK):  Now in preview, CMK will give customers maximum control over their encrypted vSAN data on Azure VMware Solution. With this feature, customers use Azure Key Vault to generate customer managed keys and to centralize and streamline the key management process, including:

2.5. Developer Tools & DevOps

2.5.1. azure kubernetes fleet manager simplifies cluster management and organization.

Distributed Kubernetes cluster management is complex and challenging. Azure Kubernetes Fleet Manager, a new service in preview, simplifies multi-cluster management by enabling centralized management of all clusters at scale. Customers can group any combination of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) clusters to simplify multi-cluster workflows like workload propagation and multi-cluster networking.

When managing a Kubernetes fleet, users need a Kubernetes cluster to store configurations for placement policy and networking. Azure Kubernetes Fleet Manager creates a managed hub cluster to solve this issue. Azure Kubernetes Fleet Manager also allows users to set up load balancing for north-south traffic (flowing from the user into the cluster) for multiple endpoints deployed across member clusters.

2.5.2. Independent software vendors can now create one-click Kubernetes apps

Kubernetes apps is an Azure Marketplace offer specialized for Kubernetes solutions from Microsoft’s independent software vendor (ISV) partners. ISV members of the marketplace can now create, publish and manage commercial Kubernetes offers in Azure Marketplace with billing models.

Customers can browse the catalog of solutions specialized for Kubernetes platforms under Kubernetes apps offer in Azure Marketplace and select a solution for one-click deployment to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) with automated Azure billing. This feature, in preview, will be the first offering specialized for Kubernetes with automated deployment and billing in Azure Marketplace.

​​​​​​​2.5.3. New Azure Monitor features for app modernization and innovation

Two new features have been introduced to help Azure Monitor customers modernize their cloud-native environments and support app innovations. These features, both in preview, include:

2.5.4. Microsoft Dev Box now in preview

Rigid workstations often limit developer productivity. Getting set up with these resources requires support from admin teams and stretching them across hybrid workspaces can result in security vulnerabilities. Microsoft Dev Box, a new service introduced at Microsoft Build 2022, provides developers with self-service access to high-performance, cloud-based workstations preconfigured and ready-to-code for specific projects.

Visual Studio images for Dev Box are now generally available on Azure Marketplace. These ready-to-use images ensure developers can be productive as soon as they create a Dev Box by leveraging commonly used Visual Studio functionalities as well as complimentary tools.

​​​​​​2.5.5. Azure Deployment Environments now in preview

Development and testing environments are critical for developers working on complex, modern apps that rely on a plethora of cloud services. Unfortunately, it can take days — if not weeks — to get access to these resources and, once they are deployed, organizations can struggle to ensure the resources run in a secure and compliant way.

Azure Deployment Environments, now in preview, will enable developer teams to quickly spin up app infrastructure with project-based templates that establish consistency and best practices while maximizing security, compliance and cost-efficiency.

​​​​​​​2.5.6. GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps in preview

GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps provides a native app security solution within the Azure DevOps platform. New features, currently in private preview, will enable organizations to easily identify and fix exposed secrets and vulnerable open-source dependencies across the software life cycle. Advanced Security for Azure DevOps will include a powerful and accurate CodeQL code scanner to identify any code vulnerabilities or errors in code. These new features are seamlessly integrated within the developer workflow to help developers implement security earlier in the software development life cycle to find and fix security issues before they deploy software to production.

2.5.7. Latest version of Visual Studio 2022 now generally available

The latest version of Visual Studio 2022, v17.3, now generally available, includes new productivity features, a new toolkit for building Microsoft Teams apps, performance improvements for C++ development and tooling for .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI). This technology helps users build and ship .NET client apps to Android, iOS, macOS and Windows from a single codebase.

​​​​​​2.5.8. Microsoft and Postman partner on Azure API Management

Microsoft has signed an agreement with Postman to collaborate on product integration and co-marketing initiatives. This partnership aims to speed up API development, enabling developers to bring new innovations to market faster. The initial support includes capabilities to import the APIs from Azure API management into Postman and Azure-initiated export of APIs and API endpoint into the Postman collections.

​​​​​​2.5.9. Azure Communication Services launching call automation

Azure Communication Services is introducing call automation, a new set of APIs, in preview next month, which will help developers build server-based, intelligent calling workflows. This new feature will help developers steer and control Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or VoIP calls within their apps.

From daily appointment bookings and order updates to complex customer outreach for marketing and customer service, call automation with Azure Communication Services simplifies the delivery of personalized customer interactions.

​​​​​​2.5.10. Service Bus explorer capabilities now generally available

Service Bus explorer capabilities are now generally available in the Azure portal. Customers can now use the portal to facilitate data operations, including sending messages to a queue or topic in a Service Bus namespace, as well as receiving or peeking messages from a queue or a subscription.

2.5.11. Azure App Service updates

New Azure App Service features allow users to modernize their workloads and innovate faster. These updates include:

2.5.12. Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework now in preview

Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework, a new Azure service that offers execution of the Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF) open-source software development kit (SDK) as a managed service, is now in preview. This will eliminate the need for developers to stand up, maintain and manage their own infrastructure to support CCF-based services.

CCF is an open-source framework for building highly available, stateful services that require decentralized trust with centralized compute for ease of use and performance.

The Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework allows developers to build, deploy and manage multi-party apps on a secured and governed network. For ease of use, integrity and performance, these networks utilize centralized confidential computing capabilities within hardware-based trusted execution environments (TEEs).

​​​​​​​2.5.13. Microsoft creating program to connect job seekers with employment opportunities

In recognizing that there is a substantial talent gap in the global market that is hindering many businesses from achieving their growth goals, Microsoft plans to help fill the void.

Microsoft is creating a new employability program that will seek to connect job seekers (graduating students, career changers and job changers) with employment opportunities within the Microsoft partner and customer ecosystem. Job seekers will have the opportunity to round out their skills through self-paced training on Microsoft Learn or acquire skills at schools with the Microsoft Learn for Educators program, through workforce development partners or instructor-led training courses delivered by Microsoft Learning Partners.

Job seekers will have the opportunity to stand out to employers by displaying their learning proficiency on LinkedIn and will be accepted into a private LinkedIn group where employers will be able to engage with potential hires.

Two men standing working on their computers

3. Business Applications 3.1. Business Applications

3.1.1. cbre partners with microsoft to leverage industrial metaverse technology to improve client outcomes.

Microsoft’s Industrial Metaverse technology helps unify the digital and physical through AI, mixed reality and machine learning. Commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE Group, Inc. teamed up with Microsoft to deliver an enhanced facility management platform that enables retailers and other clients with large, distributed operations to improve connectivity between assets and technicians, optimize operations and realize cost efficiencies.

Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, CBRE’s platform demonstrates how it will deliver unique, actionable insights to facility operations by utilizing a mix of physical and digital.

​​​​​​​3.1.2. Microsoft Teams customers to receive access to Business Central data at no extra cost

Starting in November, Microsoft Teams users will have access to Business Central data from within the collaboration app, regardless of whether they have a Dynamics 365 license. Admins will be able to set permission and access rules to restrict access to business records. Business Central users can invite people from across the organization to connect and collaborate in the flow of work, no matter where they work.

With Business Central embedded in Teams, people can collaborate on critical initiatives and projects directly where they connect. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can now ensure that all team members are empowered with Context IQ, which provides access to the right information and insights contextually, wherever and however they work.

​​​​​​​3.1.3. Auto-summarize conversations in Teams-based collaboration in Dynamics 365 Customer Service

Users can automate an AI-generated conversation summary in Dynamics 365 Customer Service when an agent has a customer conversation and wants to collaborate with other teammates using embedded Microsoft Teams. If the agent is not an original member of the chat, they can get up to speed quickly by opting into the customer’s chat history to get visibility and context to conversations. This is especially helpful in scenarios where a customer service agent has a case transferred to them.

This accelerates issue resolution, with an auto-generated, structured conversation summary that shares context, including the summary of the customer issue and the result of the attempted resolution. The feature is in preview as part of Dynamics 365 Customer Service and expected to be generally available in October 2022.

​​​​​​​3.1.4. ​​​​​​​Teams chat embedded within Dynamics 365

With embedded Microsoft Teams chat, users can collaborate with stakeholders directly from within Dynamics 365. This allows users to use Dynamics 365 data as an organizing layer for Teams collaboration activity and to link chats to Dynamics 365 records, including sales opportunities and service cases, for convenient access for all participants. The feature, now in preview as part of Dynamics 365 Customer Service, is expected to be generally available in October 2022.

Agents who use Dynamics 365 Customer Service can easily collaborate with anyone within their organization, such as agents from other departments, supervisors, customer service peers or support experts, over Teams to resolve customer issues without leaving the case or conversation. Chats over Teams will be linked directly to Customer Service records, enabling a contextual experience.

​​​​​​​3.1.5. Unlimited conversation intelligence for Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Microsoft Viva Sales

Conversation intelligence is now available at no additional cost for both Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and the newly released Microsoft Viva Sales. Conversation intelligence gives sellers the power of insights while helping them be more productive.

In addition, several updates for sales conversation intelligence are coming to preview early next year and include:

​​​​​​3.1.6. Microsoft Dynamics 365 announcing new supply chain management expert certification

The new  Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Expert  certification is now available. This certification is ideal for functional consultants with advanced skills, senior or principal functional consultants for Microsoft partners and expert IT professionals, developers or information workers. The certification aligns closely with real-world roles in the field today and gives functional consultants who manage the supply chain an upward certification path.

To earn this certification, candidates must pass  Exam MB-335: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Expert . Prerequisites for the certification also include passing  Exam MB-330: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant.

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4. Edge 4.1. Edge

4.1.1. introducing microsoft edge workspaces.

Microsoft continues to invest in distinct experiences that make the workday easier by announcing Microsoft Edge Workspaces. Now in preview, Microsoft Edge Workspaces is a shared set of browser tabs that will allow groups to view the same websites and latest working files in one place. For example, let’s say a new team member is being brought on to an existing project. Instead of overwhelming them with links and files over email, the team can share one link to their Microsoft Edge Workspaces, which has all their relevant files and links open as browser tabs. As the team works together, tabs are updated in real-time, so everyone stays on the same page.

IT professionals and their organizations can  join the preview .

4.1.2. Microsoft Edge adds security features

Two new security features for Microsoft Edge build on its protection against phishing and malware on Windows. These features help reduce the surface area for cyberattacks, ensuring a safer browser experience. These new features, now generally available, include:

4.1.3. Accessibility features for Microsoft Edge improve inclusivity

New built-in accessibility features for Microsoft Edge help make the web more accessible for everyone. As more than 1 billion people identify as having some form of disability, these features help users browse the web in an intuitive, inclusive way.

Accessibility features, now generally available, include:

Page colors , now in preview, can be changed in Microsoft Edge as desired to improve readability and color contrast.

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5. Industry Cloud 5.1. Industry Cloud

​​​​​​​5.1.1. new capabilities for microsoft cloud for sustainability.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is growing, with the introduction of new capabilities to Microsoft Sustainability Manager, which empowers organizations to easily record, report and reduce their environmental impact. New features, now generally available, include an  extended data model  with increased Scope 3 emissions calculation methodologies for priority categories as companies track emissions data to provide clear and transparent reporting.

The  Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365  is also now generally available. This dashboard allows customers to calculate emissions associated with an organization’s usage of Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. It also allows organizations to calculate emissions savings by moving workloads to the cloud. To improve reliability for environmental claims and credits, Microsoft is introducing the  Environmental Credit Service , a managed service to create a trusted system of record.

5.1.2. New capabilities for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare

Employee shortages have a ripple effect that can result in physicians limiting time with patients and making it difficult for patients to get both routine preventive care and emergency care. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare helps address these issues by simplifying complex workflow management and automating tasks, thereby improving clinician experiences and ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

New capabilities in Cloud for Healthcare that will enable consumer-centric operating models that ease the burden on providers and help facilitate proactive healthcare are now in preview and include:

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6. Microsoft 365 6.1. Microsoft Teams

6.1.1. mesh avatars in microsoft teams in private preview.

Mesh avatars are now available for Microsoft Teams meetings in private preview. Mesh avatars will offer flexibility and choice in how users show up in a Teams meeting with a customized, animated version of themselves without turning on their camera.

Using the Avatars app in the Microsoft Teams App Store, users will be able to design up to three unique avatars using the hundreds of customization options – from physical attributes to accessories and more.

Once the personalized avatar is created, it can be used in a Teams meeting by selecting the option from the “Effects and Avatars” menu prior to joining the meeting. During a meeting, users will be able to choose from a wide range of gestures to react to topics.

Mesh avatars are available in the standard Teams meeting experience for private preview customers. Organizations interested in trying out avatars can sign up for updates on the  Teams website  if they are not already part of the  Teams Technical Access Program .

​​​​​​​6.1.2. Introducing Microsoft Teams Premium

The new Microsoft Teams Premium add-on will be available in preview in December. Built on the familiar, all-in-one Teams collaboration experience, Teams Premium will make every meeting – from 1:1s and virtual appointments to town halls and webinars – more personalized, intelligent and secure.

Teams Premium will bring the Teams meeting innovation into one offering and will make meetings more personalized with:

Teams Premium will be more intelligent with:

Teams Premium will be more secure with:

Teams Premium will extend the familiar experience of Teams to help users engage more deeply with customers by offering:

Teams Premium features will begin to roll out in December 2022 as a part of Teams Premium preview, with general availability of Teams Premium in February 2023. Availability of new AI capabilities, such as intelligent meetings, will begin rolling out in the first half of 2023.

Learn more about this update or download visual assets .

​​​​​​6.1.3. New Teams meetings features increase engagement, interactivity

Several new features for Microsoft Teams meetings increase the engagement and interactivity levels for users and include:

Learn more about this update, see the  Teams Premium entry  to learn about  additional meeting innovation s, or download visual assets . 

6.1.4. Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile now generally available

​ Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile , previously known as Operator Connect Mobile, is an enterprise-grade mobile calling experience offered in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative telecom operators. It is now generally available.

With Teams Phone Mobile, Microsoft Teams is integrated with a user’s mobile device native dialer, meaning users can use their mobile phone the way they are accustomed to while the organization can enable business calling features and policies on these mobile devices. Calls seamlessly move across networks and devices without any interruptions and can be converted from mobile networks to internet-based video calls in Teams, enabling rich communication and collaboration.

No matter where a user chooses to work, their calls, voicemail and transcriptions go with them, while still adhering to their enterprise’s compliance and privacy requirements. Teams Phone Mobile is now available with Rogers in Canada, the first operator in the world to support Teams Phone Mobile, and Telia in Sweden. Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, BT and Swisscom will launch soon, with more operators joining the program.

​​​​​​​6.1.5. New Microsoft Teams chat and collaboration features

New chat and collaboration features coming to Microsoft Teams include:

​​​​​​​6.1.6. Improved channel experience coming soon to Microsoft Teams

Microsoft is improving the design of the Teams channels experience to feel both familiar and modern. The channels experience will be more intuitive and engaging, enabling users to easily focus on topics and conversations that matter most, while staying in the flow of their work.

With the  compose box  at the top of the page, conversations will be easier to find, engage and catch up on.  Pinned posts  will make it easy for everyone to know what is important in the channel. Like Teams chat, users will be able to  pop out the conversation , engage directly and keep an eye on it, while focusing on other areas in the channel. Finally, a streamlined  info pane  will improve productivity, making it easy for a new team member to quickly ramp up and for all members to stay up to speed.

Channels will also be  customizable , with the  channel header  matching the organization’s brand, making it more personal and reflective of how teams collaborate.

Microsoft is also introducing multiple  post types ,   giving users efficient ways to engage and be more expressive with an audience, such as announcements used to highlight a milestone or a video clip to recognize a team’s accomplishment.

​​​​​​6.1.7. Microsoft Teams meetings available natively on certified Cisco meeting devices

For the first time, Microsoft Teams meetings will be available natively across certified Cisco meeting devices, enabling customers to configure Teams as the default meeting experience.

Initially, six of Cisco’s most popular meeting devices and three peripherals will be certified for Teams meetings, with more to come. The first wave of devices, expected to be certified by early 2023, will include the Cisco Board Pro 55-inch and 75-inch, the Cisco Room Bar and the Cisco Room Kit Pro, which span small-to-large meeting rooms spaces. The first peripheral – the Cisco Desk Camera 4K – is an intelligent USB webcam and will be available by the end of October. While the default user experience on these devices will be Microsoft Teams Rooms, the devices will continue to support joining WebEx meetings.

​All certified Cisco devices will be manageable in the new Teams Rooms Pro Management Portal. Cisco will also connect the devices to the Cisco Cloud Control Hub as an optional value-add through which Cisco provides its own device management experiences.

6.1.8. Microsoft introduces new app, Microsoft Places

Microsoft Places  is a new workplace app to optimize spaces for hybrid work. As business decision makers consider redesigning physical workspaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments, technology will be needed to form the bridge across two historically different worlds – in-person and remote work. Microsoft Places will use intelligence to optimize where work happens in hybrid work: connecting virtual and physical spaces to drive increased connections, engagement and productivity while providing the holistic picture of hybrid work that’s missing today.

The Microsoft Places app, coming soon in preview, will provide:

​​​​​​​6.1.9. Microsoft Teams ecosystem grows with collaborative apps from customers and partners

Top independent software vendor (ISV) partners continue to build collaborative apps for Teams. Recent additions to the Microsoft Teams App Store include:

Other ISV partners delivering innovation for their Teams apps include Workday, Workplace by Meta, Zendesk, SurveyMonkey, Thrive Global, ServiceNow, Priority Matrix and Zoho.

​​​​​​6.1.10. Updates to Teams platform for developers

Updates to Teams platform for developers include:

Teams Live Share SDK:  Teams Live Share SDK , which will allow developers to turn any app, when shared in a Teams meeting, into a real-time, multi-user collaborative experience. Now in preview, Teams Live Share SDK features will include:

Extension of Teams apps to Outlook and Office:  Using the  Teams 2.0 JS SDK , announced at Microsoft Build 2022, developers can now build production apps that extend Teams Pages and Message Extensions across Teams, Outlook and Office using a single app and deployment model. These apps can run on Win32 and web versions of Microsoft 365, with a preview of app availability on Android-powered devices.

Teams Toolkit in Visual Studio:  Microsoft  Teams Toolkit  is now a part of Visual Studio, Microsoft’s flagship Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Developers can now use Visual Studio to build rich, collaborative apps that work in Teams and can also extend Teams app experiences into Outlook and

6.2. Microsoft Viva

​​​​​​​6.2.1. updates to microsoft viva insights.

New features in Microsoft Viva Insights help employees, managers and leaders improve personal, team and organizational productivity and well-being.

The updates, now generally available, include:

6.2.2. New features coming to Microsoft Viva Learning

Several new features, now in private preview in Microsoft Viva Learning, include:

Viva Learning is also now more discoverable with the ability to view assigned learning directly from the Viva Connections dashboard and in the daily Viva email.

New features in the Viva Learning mobile app include:

​Additionally, Viva Learning now offers deeper integration with SAP SuccessFactors, including  single sign on (SSO),  which lets users access SAP SuccessFactors hosted content without needing to sign in;  in-app playback,  which allows users to consume SAP SuccessFactors hosted content directly within the Viva Learning app;  permissions inheritance , which allows Viva Learning to read user permissions from SAP SuccessFactors and apply those same access permissions within Viva Learning; and  learning path inheritance , which allows learning paths configured on SAP SuccessFactors to display within Viva Learning.

6.2.3. Viva Engage Storyline feature now generally available

Microsoft Viva Engage provides organizations ways to create social connections between leaders and employees and within communities of interest inside the company.

Now, anyone inside the company can create rich posts that include links, files, photos and videos, as a way of sharing updates and perspectives with others in the organization. These posts appear on a user’s  Storyline , which others can view in Viva Engage, Outlook and the Viva Connections feed in Microsoft Teams. Storyline is now generally available.

Stories , currently in preview, will provide an even richer way to share on the Storyline, letting users create short videos or photo collections in a familiar experience. Storyline and Stories help to strengthen personal connections between teammates and colleagues in a time when teams frequently work across various locations and time zones.

6.2.4. New first- and third-party integrations coming for Viva Goals

Microsoft recently launched Microsoft Viva Goals to help organizations align employees’ work to business outcomes. This way organizations can help ensure their people are working on the top priorities that are going to have the biggest impact. And, at the same time, employees understand how their work is making a difference.

New third-party integrations for Microsoft Viva Goals bring purpose and objectives and key results (OKRs) into the flow of work. New Slack and Google Sheets integrations are available today with additional integrations for Jira on-premises coming soon.

With the Slack integration, users can receive notifications, reminders and conduct OKR check-ins directly from Slack. The Google Sheets data integration allows users to sync key results check-ins to Google Sheets cells for real-time updates of a user’s progress. The Jira on-premises integrations for Jira Software Server and Jira Data Center will allow for all updates on linked Jira user stories, projects or tickets to be automatically tracked in the progress for OKRs in Viva Goals.

We are also releasing new integrations for first-party Microsoft tools. This includes  enhanced Microsoft Teams integration  for OKR activity notifications and personalized OKR guidance and new integrations with Azure DevOps, Azure Data Explorer, Power BI, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project.

Learn more about this update. 

6.2.5. New ways to discover Viva Topics content in Microsoft 365

Microsoft Viva Topics applies intelligence to automatically organize content across systems and identify experts within the organization to deliver just-in-time knowledge in the apps people use every day. New features in Viva Topics, now in preview, and new ways to discover knowledge in Microsoft 365 include:

6.3. Microsoft 365

​​​​​​​6.3.1. microsoft outlook for mac now supports focused profiles.

Microsoft Outlook for Mac is announcing support for focused profiles and Apple’s focus filters. The focused profile will provide a distraction-free experience by letting people configure specific settings per an account profile within Outlook to better support hybrid work. These profiles will encompass associated accounts, notifications associated with these accounts, themes and appearance.

​​​​​​6.3.2. New features coming for Microsoft Project and Microsoft Planner

New features coming to Microsoft Project, specifically Project for the web and Microsoft Planner, will enable teams to track project goals, keep tasks in one place, manage projects agilely, balance team workloads, see changes to a task, manage task relationships better and scale the number of tasks in a project plan. These new features include:

Viva Goals, Goals in Project, Assigned to Me, Task history, Advanced dependencies and Task limits will be available in the first few months of 2023. Sprints and People view will be generally available by the end of this year.

​​​​​​6.3.3. Microsoft updates Outlook with new tools for hybrid work

Outlook is adding new features to help people stay connected and organized in hybrid work settings.

The new  working hours and location  feature will allow users to organize their week to let teammates know what hours they’ll be available and where they’ll be working, so they can plan meetings better. Additionally, if a sudden change comes up during their day people have the flexibility to easily change their location for only that day from Microsoft Teams, Outlook desktop or Teams mobile without impacting the rest of their week.

Meeting recap , now available in Outlook, allows employees to easily find information about a meeting and access the recording directly from the calendar event.

To accommodate people across multiple time zones and to respect employees’ off-hours and vacations, Outlook and Teams are adding the ability to schedule a message to be sent at a later time and date . Outlook will add  message reactions  to the email platform, so employees can acknowledge and react to business emails the same way they can react to messages on Teams or on social platforms.

Editor leveraging Context IQ  allows email to surface relevant people and files in Outlook on the web. By simply using @mentions, Editor using Context IQ will surface relevant people and files based on the context typed in an email. Context IQ is a new set of capabilities from Microsoft that intelligently connects people with the information they need, where and when they need it. It works in the background to connect content across different Microsoft 365 apps.

​​​​​​​These features will be generally available by the end of the year.

6.3.4. New features make it easier to create and view video content in Microsoft 365

From meeting recordings to corporate communications and how-to videos, video content in Microsoft 365 is an increasingly popular way to keep hybrid and remote teams connected, informed and aligned. Microsoft Stream, built on SharePoint, makes videos just as easy to work with and share as documents. In addition, IT admins can control the compliance policies, retention and permissions for video and meeting recordings just like they do for other files in Microsoft 365.

Improved screen and webcam recording in Stream, with new options including background blur, inking, text and effects are now generally available. Additionally, recordings for Teams meetings are now available in the Stream mobile app. Stream will also power new meeting recording playback capabilities including:

​​​​​​6.3.5. Introducing Microsoft Syntex

Microsoft is unveiling  Microsoft Syntex , a new set of content apps and services that use AI to index and organize large quantities of unstructured content so it can be easily searched and analyzed. Syntex can also automate content-based workflows, such as contract processing and e-signature. It integrates Microsoft Search capabilities to make it easy for people to navigate and discover content. Users can use the advanced viewer   to add secure annotations and redactions to any file, as well as build new content, singly or at scale and integrate Syntex eSignature into business processes.

Other Syntex features include:

Syntex features are beginning to roll out now and will continue to roll out through early 2023.

​​​​​​6.3.6. Microsoft Editor brings new AI capabilities to Microsoft 365

Microsoft Editor is continuing to bring enhanced intelligent capabilities to Microsoft 365 experiences, including these features in preview:

​​​​​​6.3.7. Microsoft Editor using Context IQ preview begins rolling out

​With Microsoft Editor using Context IQ, users receive in-context suggestions while typing. While composing a message in Outlook on the web or writing in Word for the web, users can type the “@” key to invoke Editor leveraging Context IQ. A list of items (people, files, etc.) will surface for users depending on the context of the text in their message.

Continuing to type will search Microsoft 365 for relevant content. Selecting an item with the cursor or hitting “enter” will insert the item into the message. Results shown in this list will be sourced from the context of the current message, what is being typed, who is involved and other variables using intelligence. The preview of Editor using Context IQ is starting to roll out and will be generally available in the coming months.

​​​​​​6.3.8. Personal toolbar can intelligently populate personalized commands

Personal toolbar, now in preview, is a new feature in Word, Excel and PowerPoint that will utilize intelligence that is based on the commands used the most to provide a simple but powerful experience personalized to the user. With personal toolbar, users will save time by having their most frequently used commands available and accessible as needed, eliminating the need to search and click through tabs.

​​​​​​6.3.9. Microsoft Loop app in private preview

The Microsoft Loop app, in private preview, will help teams to think, plan and create together. Customers can use the Loop app to work on projects collaboratively. The Loop app features workspaces, pages and components that sync across Microsoft 365. Microsoft will be working with customers in private preview to incorporate their feedback as it continues developing the app.

6.3.10. Updates to Microsoft Loop components

Microsoft Loop components are pieces of content that allow users to collaborate in the flow of work – in Microsoft Teams chats and meetings, emails or documents. Microsoft is expanding Loop components to additional places across Microsoft 365 and is bringing more component types to ensure users can create and work together and will include:

New security for Loop components will include:

Both sensitivity labels and Data Loss Prevention for Loop components will be generally available in Teams chat by the end of the year.

6.3.11. Introducing the new Microsoft 365 app

Microsoft is introducing a new Microsoft 365 app for web, Windows and mobile, the home for the favorite tools and content across Microsoft 365 for commercial and consumer users.

The app, which is an evolution of the work started with the Office app, showcases the value of Microsoft 365, all in one place. It not only makes it simple to get started, but it also harnesses the intelligence generated from within the Microsoft 365 solution in a way that makes work easier.

As before with the Office app, the new Microsoft 365 app will provide innovative experiences to:

There are also several new features that will enhance the experience, including:

The Microsoft 365 app will begin rolling out starting next month.

6.3.12. Microsoft Graph Data Connect enables developers to access Microsoft 365 data in Azure Synapse Analytics

Developers and data engineers can gain comprehensive access to decades’ worth of their organization’s untapped Microsoft 365 data that comes ready for business analytics. Users will get extracts of relevant Microsoft 365 data faster than ever before with the new, one-click experience in Azure Synapse Analytics, which will include:

Microsoft is also streamlining the process to get started with these updates:

In addition, developers will be able to deploy prebuilt solution templates from key analytics scenarios, such as customer relationships, business processes and security and compliance. All scenarios are open source and extensible and include:

The following updates are built with enhanced security, governance and user privacy to protect sensitive data and reduce risk exposure ready to use out-of-the-box:

These updates are coming soon in preview.

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7. Power Platform 7.1. Power Platform

​​​​​​​7.1.1. power automate introducing new way to automate using natural language and ai.

A new way in Power Automate to accelerate automation using natural language will enable users to describe what they want to automate, and AI will build the flow in seconds without searching or guesswork. Once a user selects a suggested flow, they will set up the appropriate connectors and then finalize it within the flow designer. In the create page for Power Automate, a new option will allow users to create a cloud flow by simply describing the flow, selecting the connectors and finalizing the automation. This feature is now in preview.

​​​​​​7.1.2. Power Automate innovations for user engagement, robotic process automation deployment

Power Automate is introducing new ways for an organization to use its service and deploy robotic process automation (RPA) across their enterprise. Makers and automation Center of Excellences (CoE) will benefit from these latest innovations and include:

​​​​​​7.1.3. Optimize workflows and document processing with AI Builder

Microsoft Intelligent Document Processing, powered by AI Builder and Power Automate, enables end-to-end document processing with no coding required. Processing documents – from invoices to account statements – can be a cumbersome task, especially as a manual task. Automating this process with the power of AI Builder reduces process time, increases the accuracy of extracted data and lets users concentrate on more high-priority workflows.

Feature updates include:

​​​​​​​7.1.4. Power Platform Managed Environments features automated low-code governance and security capabilities at scale

Managed Environments for Power Platform is a collection of features that enable IT admins to manage Microsoft Power Platform environments and govern low-code solutions at scale with enhanced control, more visibility and less effort. Managed Environments for Power Platform, announced in July in preview, is now generally available.

Offerings for Managed Environments for Power Platform now available include:

​​​​​​7.1.5. Microsoft Power Pages updates provide enhanced design studio, new templates

Microsoft Power Pages is a low-code development and hosting platform ideal for building business-centric websites, both for low-code makers and professional developers. Power Pages, announced as a stand-alone product Microsoft Build 2022, is now generally available. Updates for Power Pages include:

​​​​​​7.1.6. Power BI updates enable self-service data analytics, adds connectivity to OneDrive and SharePoint

Power BI updates, now in preview, will enable organizations to scale self-service analytics by further removing friction to deployment, creation and sharing and include:

​​​​​​7.1.7. Power Apps updates enable collaboration, fusion development, micro-apps

Updates for Power Apps, now in preview, are designed to enable collaboration and include:

Co-authoring in modern app designer:  Co-authoring will build on  commenting  by enabling developers of all backgrounds to simultaneously edit apps in real time using a Microsoft PowerPoint-like experience.

Co-authoring will allow multiple makers – whether professional or citizen developers – to make changes to the app at the same time and see those changes in real-time. As a result, teams can innovate together and build stronger connections between professional developers and business domain experts, a critical ingredient to maximizing low-code development.

Integrated virtual agent in Power Apps:  As makers progress through their development journey, it’s natural to have lots of questions, which is why discovering the right support resources is critical. That is where the integrated virtual agent comes in. The virtual agent (using Power Virtual Agents) will surface relevant external resources to assist users with the app development process and promote greater knowledge building across an organization’s internal maker community. Through intelligent matching, it will also connect new makers with experienced makers, advisors and internal community members.

Cards in Power Apps:  In a hybrid world, getting work done in one app, collaborating with colleagues in another app and constantly switching back and forth between them is a toll on time and productivity. That is why Microsoft is introducing cards in Power Apps, a new way to create and send micro-apps to share, collect and connect data and make critical business decisions – all without ever leaving Microsoft Teams.

Power Apps will give low-code developers the ability to create cards in the familiar drag-and-drop Power Apps designer, complete with Power Fx integration. The new cards designer in Power Apps will target today’s rich and interactive platforms with small, focused time-saving experiences – including polls, data gathering and surveys, as well as more advanced business cases.

​​​​​​7.1.8. Microsoft Dataverse enables developers to connect to external data sources

Microsoft Dataverse has supported virtual tables for a long time. They’re extremely powerful but can be difficult to set up. With this new release, users will be able to create tables in Dataverse that surface external data by leveraging simple connections to find that external data. For example, a Dataverse table with data from an Excel workbook in OneDrive or a SQL Server in Azure.

Depending on the connection, a table will be automatically generated with the correct schema and integration. Users can do all this through a simple wizard in Power Apps, which gives them the control they need over configuring the details while creating the Dataverse table. This update is coming to preview in early 2023.

People huddled together over their computers

8. Security 8.1. Security

8.1.1. microsoft defender for cloud adds new protections for comprehensive security.

New capabilities for Microsoft Defender for Cloud will help organizations strengthen their cloud security posture, extend threat protection across workloads and integrate DevOps security across hybrid and multicloud environments. These updates are Microsoft’s latest steps to make Defender for Cloud a comprehensive cloud-native app protection platform.

New capabilities in Defender for Cloud include:

8.1.2. Save on Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for limited time

Organizations wanting to modernize their endpoint protection are looking to move away from legacy antivirus and are turning to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. Microsoft is announcing a limited-time sale of 50% off Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 and Plan 2 licenses, allowing organizations to do more and spend less by modernizing their security with a leading endpoint protection platform.

​​​​​​​8.1.3. Microsoft 365 Defender now disrupts ransomware at machine speed

Microsoft 365 Defender now automatically disrupts ransomware attacks. This is possible because Microsoft 365 Defender collects and correlates signals across endpoints, identities, emails, documents and cloud apps into unified incidents and uses the breadth of signal to identify attacks early with a high level of confidence.

Time is critical in ransomware attacks, and now Microsoft 365 Defender can automatically contain affected assets, such as endpoints or user identities. This helps stop ransomware from spreading laterally, which can substantially reduce the overall cost of an attack while improving a company’s resiliency to recover. The security operations team stays in full control of investigating, remediating and bringing assets back online once they are returned to a healthy state.

​​​​​​8.1.4. Endpoint Management updates

Microsoft will launch  the Advanced Management Suite  in March 2023 as a new, cost-effective premium endpoint management plan. With the plan to build the new premium capabilities in the cloud, Microsoft is also announcing that  Microsoft Intune is the new name for the expanding family of endpoint management products . Microsoft Configuration Manager will remain a part of that product family.

Additionally, Microsoft is announcing individual add-on solutions to Microsoft Intune and the upcoming bundled suite of solutions, including:

Microsoft Tunnel for mobile app management  (MAM) will be released in January as the second add-on and will be included in the scope of the future bundle. Tunnel for MAM will enable workers to securely access company resources without requiring device enrollment. Users can remain productive on their device of choice and retain privacy of their personal data, all while empowering IT to apply policies to protect corporate data.

Endpoint privilege management,  now   in preview, will launch at the same time as Microsoft Intune Suite. This capability will allow IT to set policies to dynamically elevate standard users with admin permissions, removing barriers to productivity while reducing the risk of attack on users with admin privileges.

Microsoft Intune Suite also will include a way to reduce risks of vulnerabilities by keeping apps up to date. Combining the power of Microsoft Defender with Microsoft Intune will help identify and remediate potential vulnerabilities with automated app patching as an add-on.

The suite also will include capabilities that reflect Microsoft’s deep investment in  intelligent automation and data insights,  as well as enhancements to the existing remote help for Windows capability. It will add  remote help for Android  as incremental value to the existing remote help add-on.

8.1.5. Microsoft Entra Identity Governance in preview

Microsoft Entra Identity Governance, now in preview, will help organizations ensure that the right people have the right access to the right resources at the right time. This release will deliver a comprehensive identity governance product for both on-premises and cloud-based user directories. Microsoft Entra Identity Governance will help organizations simplify operations, support regulatory compliance and consolidate multiple identity point solutions.

The newly released capabilities include life cycle workflows to automate repetitive tasks, connection to on-premises to enable consistent policies for all users and separation of duties in entitlements management to help safeguard against compliance issues. These complement existing Microsoft Entra Identity Governance features, including access reviews, access certification, entitlements management and privileged identity management.

Additional announcements for Microsoft Entra include:

Learn more  about this  update.

8.1.6. Microsoft Audit Search releasing faster, reliable search

An update to the Microsoft Audit Search is now generally available for both Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers. This revamp of the search tool builds on the familiar search UI that currently enables searching across critical audit log events to understand user actions and gain insight into the security of company data.

With the launch of New Search, users can run 10 concurrent audit search jobs and review the progress percentage, result number and job status all from the UI. Historical search jobs results are stored for 30 days and can be accessed after completion. Additionally, users can filter and export this data. The browser window can also be closed while the searches are being completed.

​​​​​​8.1.7. New eDiscovery features to support modern collaboration

Many customers often consider shared documents or cloud attachments as a form of communication, and therefore are required to preserve and make that content discoverable. While users benefit from quickly sharing files for visibility and collaboration, this practice has been challenging for eDiscovery and legal professionals.

To help customers efficiently meet their regulatory obligations for discovery, eDiscovery (Premium) will support the ability to  discover the version of the document  at the time that it was shared. This will help ensure that the correct document information is available to eDiscovery processes. This update is in preview.

As more and more business-critical information is shared via Microsoft Teams, reactions to messages are an important indicator of message acknowledgement and response, often communicating intent or approval to a message that may hold important case evidence.

Microsoft Purview eDiscovery (Premium) now includes  capturing reactions  to specific Teams messages and conversations within eDiscovery collections:

​​​​​​8.1.8. Simplify data governance with Microsoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management

Comprehensive security requires a proactive approach to data protection and governance. With the increase in hybrid work, Microsoft knows users want to balance modern security with modern collaboration. The newest innovations in Microsoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management are designed to help address these challenges with a focus on Microsoft Teams data governance and extensibility. These features include:

8.1.9. Insider Risk Management features new capabilities

Insider Risk Management is the Microsoft Purview solution designed to help organizations identify and manage insider risks. To help users detect, prioritize and investigate risks, Microsoft is introducing new features which are discussed in a new report that helps customers think about insider risk in a holistic manner.

Some of the new features, in preview, include:

​​​​​​8.1.10. Safeguard sensitive data with extensible data protection

Several updates, in preview for Microsoft Purview, are designed to help users safeguard sensitive material across apps, platforms and clouds using extensible data protection and include:

​​​​​​8.1.11. Microsoft Purview Information Protection helps users discover, classify, protect and manage sensitive information

Microsoft Purview Information Protection is a solution that helps users with sensitive information. New features for Purview Information Protection make it easier to discover, classify, protect and manage content across multiple environments and include:

​​​​​​8.1.12. Microsoft Sentinel helps users see and stop threats across the enterprise

A major benefit of Microsoft Sentinel is the ability to search across vast amounts of security data quickly and easily stop breaches in a fast, cost-effective manner. With new low-cost options for ingesting and archiving data, now generally available, customers can collect and search across all data in Microsoft Sentinel.

Basic Logs  is designed to ingest high-volume data from sources to correlate and investigate an incident.  Archived logs  offer low-cost, long-term storage that is searchable for up to seven years.  Log restore  enables restoration of logs for high performance, interactive investigation queries as needed.

Additionally, with the  Microsoft Sentinel Migration and Modernization Program  customers can get guidance, resources and expert help to simplify and accelerate the migration of their security information and event management (SIEM) to Microsoft Sentinel.

8.1.13. Latest update in Azure network security strengthens security and increases agility

Low-cost IP Protection option for Azure DDoS Protection

IP Protection, now in preview, is for small- and medium-sized businesses and will provide enterprise-grade protection at an affordable price point. Customers will have the flexibility to enable DDoS protection on an individual public IP to defend against DDoS attacks. IP Protection is cost-effective and provides enterprise-grade capabilities such as adaptive real-time policy tuning, detailed attack analytics and service-level agreement (SLA) guarantee.

​​​​​​8.1.14. Confidential virtual machine options across Azure

New confidential virtual machine options across Azure include:

​Confidential virtual machine node pools for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS):  Confidential virtual machine (VM) node pools for AKS using confidential VMs based on 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors with Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP) security features are now generally available. These confidential node pools on AKS enable a seamless lift and shift of Linux container workloads to Azure.

​Migrating to AKS means that organizations can now opt into a highly scalable, full AKS feature parity without the overhead of changing code or performance degradation. AKS is now equipped to have confidential and non-confidential node pools in a single cluster. As a result, apps processing sensitive data can reside in a VM-level Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) node pool with memory encryption keys generated by the chipset itself.

Confidential virtual machine option for Azure Virtual Desktop:  ​The confidential virtual machine (VM) option for Azure Virtual Desktop is now in preview. Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop users will be able to choose a confidential VM for their desktop virtualization experience. This capability ensures that workloads running on a user’s virtual desktop are encrypted in memory and can protect data in use. These desktops are powered by the latest 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ processor with SEV-SNP technology, which supports hardware-based encryption and uses encryption keys generated by a dedicated secure processor inside the AMD CPU.

Confidential virtual machine option for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines now generally available: Running SQL Server on Azure confidential virtual machines (VMs) enables SQL Server on Azure VMs customers to confidently bring their sensitive data to Azure. Azure confidential VMs  provide a strong, hardware-enforced boundary that hardens the protection of the guest OS against host operator access. For SQL Server customers, Azure confidential VMs are designed to make both the data in-use, (the data processed inside the memory of the SQL Server), as well as the data at rest stored on VM’s drives not accessible to unauthorized users from the outside of the VM.

Guest attestation for AMD confidential virtual machines: The guest attestation feature for the latest 3rd Gen AMD EPYC™ processors with SEV-SNP technology is now generally available. With guest attestation, customers can have increased confidence that their software inside an AMD-confidential virtual machine (VM) runs on a hardware-based trusted execution environment (TEE) with security features turned on.

Learn more about confidential VMs for Azure Virtual Desktop , SQL Server on confidential Azure VMs and guest attestation .

A woman sits at a desk working on a computer

9. Windows 9.1. Windows

​​​​​​9.1.1. windows 365 continues to expand.

Windows 365 keeps growing with expansion to new audiences continuing through the addition of new products and updates to the service, including:

9.1.2. Update Compliance redesigned with Azure Workbooks

Update Compliance provides detailed deployment monitoring for Windows client features and quality updates. Update Compliance is migrating the reports to Azure Workbooks to make them more modular and customizable. The new solution,  Windows Update for Business reports , aligns with the Windows Update for Business brand to make it clear the reports are for Windows updates and servicing.

​​​​​​​This change, available in November, will provide a simpler and more consistent product, while also creating a framework that allows users to tailor experiences to their unique business needs. Using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), these new reports will provide more consistent data that seamlessly integrates with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and other solutions like Microsoft Intune.

9.1.3. Test Base for Microsoft 365 releases new preview features

Test Base is a cloud-based intelligent testing solution developed with the goal of helping organizations modernize the way they validate their apps against Windows releases. Based on feedback, Microsoft is adding new features to help make app testing even easier and expand the apps against which they can be tested. These features include:

​​​​​​9.1.4. In-product organizational messages in preview

Employees often get information from IT via email, Microsoft Teams and other communication channels. Important communications do not always get read, leading Microsoft to develop another way to get information to employees.  Organizational messages  will provide a new communication channel for IT to connect with employees directly through Windows surfaces, including above the taskbar, in the Notifications center and in the Get Started app. With these targeted contextual messages, configured and managed through Microsoft Intune, IT can offer information to onboard employees or provide reminders of important training that might otherwise be lost. This feature will be in preview in November.

​​​​​​9.1.5. Universal Print announces new management features

Universal Print, Microsoft’s secure cloud printing solution, is making two new additions to help make print management easier.

Delegated admin  lets IT teams in branch offices manage the printers at just their locations. This will enable these teams to quickly register new printers with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and support employees without relying on the central IT team. Delegated admin support will be available in preview by the first week of November.

To help admins diagnose printer problems, the printer’s jobs page will be enhanced by adding information, such as the name and size of the item, time taken at each step and error code for failed jobs, with links to the corresponding help pages. This feature will be generally available by the end of October.

5 circular economy business models that offer a competitive advantage

ignite business model

Circular economy - a factory in Kuwait recycles tyres. Image:  REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee.

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