Sub Key Note TechDays 2016 Netherlands

This is the script of the Sub Keynote that I held at TechDays 16 in the Netherlands on October 4 in Amsterdam. This is the part of my presentation that was precede by a presentation of my colleague Jesse van Leth. The story is about the direction of Microsoft and it’s technology.

Where are we headed?

The last years we have introduced Office 365 for Productivity and Azure for building cloud based solutions. Both are very successful and the percentage that Cloud & Office contributes to Microsoft overall sales is increasing rapidly. 
With the introduction of cloud the last year some effects can be seen:

Devices are used anywhere

People can work and consume information everywhere on any device. Having Office or another app on any device and being able to log on and get access and share information with anyone made has made productivity much better

Less Pluming

The Availability of cloud, made deployments of applications much easier. Most of the infrastructure is already available and no complex on premise processes are required to get your app online. For instance, Azure Webapps can be deployed instantly and for O365, Add ins can be made available in Office Clients and SharePoint Online. Even integration with the corporate Azure AD is made very easy. This allows to create your own applications where people can log in with their secure corporate identity.

Apps Available Anywhere

Availability of cloud makes it easier to publish applications anywhere in world. Software products are not only sold anymore in one country, but become instantly available to the whole world, sometimes to the surprise of the creators. The hyper scale of Azure makes it possible to scale up and out very rapidly and deploy the same app on multiple locations in the world easily.

Rise of APIs

Application have more and more integration requirements and hence the rise of the APIs. Most applications have an API, to allow others to integrate with it as they need fit. Cloud providers and Azure made it possible to create secure APIs and even allow organizations to make a business model based on the APIs instead of an full blown applications.

Data is new currency

Massive amounts of data becomes widely available and data becomes the new currency. With use of the cloud, data from productivity, applications and the real world (using sensors) become widely available. This allows new types of solutions that combine data and services into creative new ways, creating new products and services .

The last years lots of applications have been created and they massively moved to the cloud. With these applications we can see an interesting pattern.

Move to Cloud

First step is that lot of organizations are moving their solution to the cloud or create new solutions natively in the cloud.

Measure and Store everything

The second step is to store everything. With all the advantages that the move delivers, application owners also start to store application data in massive amounts. Due to the almost infinite data storage and application services it also becomes easier to store tele metrics on the usage of application. With the availability of low-cost sensors it also become easier to store real world data into cloud. This leads to the current situation that we are measuring and storing everything.

Improve with Data

Third step is to use the data. All that data is just sitting in the cloud. With the availability of advanced Data Analytic services in the cloud, it is possible to make sense of all the data and used it to improve solutions and optimize processes. This is getting easier because the data analytics tools become easier to use and operate.

Learn from the Data

Fourth step is to learn from the data. As Data Analytics becomes more advance, it evolves with the use of Machine Learning to intelligent solutions. These have the ability to make predictions based on history, create models for forecasting and perform rule extraction where rules and behavior can be extracted out of the vast data lakes.

Evolve to AI

Final step is to use AI. The Intelligent applications evolves into Artificial Intelligence where the system behaves autonomous and proactive. They can perform all kind of intelligent actions for systems and users. 
 This is true for cloud applications where data is gathered to be input to data analytics and AI, but also for Office 365 where Mail, Calendar, Documents and IM actions are used to deliver Delve and Cortana Services. Good example is reminder extraction by Cortana from Mail. Cortana understands your email and can extract tasks, promises and check-ins for flights or hotels for you.

Digital transformation

With the move to the cloud and the importance of data an interesting other trend can be seen. Most innovations that we see in, for instance technology, business, health and science, becomes possible because of the abundance of compute power, the ability to measure and store any kind of data and the ability to analyse the massive amounts of data into useful information and actions. Some Examples are
 1. Smart Farming, Smart Cities, Smart Buildings, Smart houses, Smart Cars (and maybe even smart people)
 2. Process optimization, where optimization options are discovered by intelligent software
 3. Personalized Medicine, where medicines are created special for one body
 4. Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality, where new worlds are created
 5. Self Driving Cars, that are able to detect and compute large amounts of data real-time.
This makes that organizations, that use the new possibilities, will probably innovate faster, reduce their cost more than others and deliver new products and services faster. Of course most companies have seen the same trend, which has the interesting effect that many companies see themselves as a software company:
- Banks are not a Banks, but IT companies that has their app and site as major product to deliver financial services;
- Sport wear producers are not just clothing producers, but are IT companies that allow you to personalize your sport wear to best serve your body or taste;
- Shops are not places where you browse around, but IT companies that sell goods via websites, apps or bots and use IT to get it at your doorstep in a few hours.
This is great this for us all in this room (editor: developers). It is our profession to create all these solutions and it will make our job way more interesting. In these Techdays we hope to show you the tools to make it happen!

There are quite a number of new technologies that are very interesting to mention as these can be used to deliver the modern applications.

For productivity


We are seeing more and more ways by which we can actually use all that data that is stored in Office 365. More solutions by us (Cortana, Outlook Groups, Delve) but also partners that integrate with O365 and do something useful with it.

Azure AD Identity
Using the same identity everywhere allows integration of applications and data. With the same identity you can connect data and give the user a better experience. For instance in a work planning application access to a worker O365 agenda improves the planning and communication.

Bot Framework & LUIS.AI
The bot framework and cognitive services allows the creation of a natural language interfaces that currently use chat applications like skype and messenger. The interface will become more advantaged like Skype Video Bots. The ability to do actions or get information via natural language gives a new dimension to user machine interaction.

Data Insights
 We are moving to an period where business owners can easily build dashboards to streamline business processes and gather insights using PowerBI. The barrier to combine information from different sources, to create dashboards and create alerts on certain events is getting lower by user friendly tools like PowerBI.
For Intelligent cloud also a set of new interesting products is available

Intelligent Cloud

Serverless compute with Azure Functions
Serverless compute removes the need to worry about infrastructure. You have code with an input and output and the execution and scaling is done for you. This also allows for a new cost model where you pay per execution, just like minutes or MBs on your phone.

Massive scalable architectures with Micro services and Containers
Containers and micro services allow fast deployment of new or improved features, with and high availability with hyper scalability. With the rise of new operating systems like Nano server and core .net the scalability will become even more granular.

Machine Learning
Machine Learning and Azure ML Studio enables the learning of algorithms from historical data. These algorithms can be used in applications to predict the future or optimize a task or process.

Rise of Artificial Intelligence
The next step is AI. AI Software does not only perform business tasks, but becomes autonomous to create its own tasks and is able to make its own decisions based on experience. Microsoft is heavily investing to create an AI platform that can be used by anyone to create the next generation intelligent solutions. Example is our FGPA chip that is introduced in our datacenters and is optimized for AI and deep learning.

How we collaborate

In the process to empower everyone, to take this digital transformation in their own hands, we also recognized that we needed to listen and collaborate to make sure that we address the actual needs of those business owners and developers, rather than what we THINK are their needs. 
Microsoft want to become the enablers for you to create your solutions with the tools that you want, the operating systems you want, the platforms that you want. 
We investigate in platforms, tools and products to help you create solution for your customers, where you can focus on the added value and we focus on the pluming and how to make products and innovations easily available.
We have understood that the world is too complex to do everything our self so Microsoft has fully embraced the power of open source. 
We have changed the organization structure of Microsoft, where Sales is focusing more on assistance and architecture to help you to use our Cloud and design, develop and manage solutions on it.

Example of Microsoft Openness

We have quite some examples where Microsoft is clearly changing their culture to become more open:
The way that Windows 10 is created using the insider program is an example on the effort to get options from the market and more important to use the knowledge of the market to improve our products
We embraced Linux on Azure as a first class citizen. You can create VMs running Linux, manage them and use solutions based on Linux. We also go further where you can request PAAS services like app services based onLinux.

Microsoft is largest contributor in GitHub

Microsoft also is much more participating into the community by actively sharing and co-create code. In GitHub we are now the major contributor and lots of our software and samples can be found there:
- The specs of the Graph API are being developed in the open on GitHub and you are encouraged to think with us about what works best. Because in the end, the API is there for developers and they what works best for themselves.
-Solutions like Office UI Fabric or the entire Bot Framework SDK are open, and for you to provide input and feedback on.

Our extensibility options are focused on making it as easy as possible for any developer, regardless of their favorite stack to integrate with our solutions
And as a part of that, we try to provide as much sample code and documentation in as many different development stacks as possible. E.g. NodeJS instructions are prevalent in almost any documentation for any of our productivity solutions.
And last but not least, we actively participate in communities and forum where our users are. WE actively participate in for instance StackOverflow to get your questions answered.

Hope this was interessing,

See you another time and Happy Coding