Earlier today I was a part of the Day 1 keynote at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference. This is one of the biggest events of the year for Microsoft, and we covered some HUGE topics today. You can read a recap of the day’s events here.

In particular during my section of the keynote, we covered three core things:

  1. Microsoft’s layered protection strategy for mobile devices and corporate data.
  2. The practical value and functionality of Office 365 + Enterprise Mobility Suite.
  3. How and why to work like a network.

These things give our partners and customers the technology they need to succeed in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Enterprises all over the world are betting on Microsoft – and Microsoft is betting on the enterprise!

Here’s a quick video recap (and more summary after the jump).

Layered Protection

This is a topic that I don’t think can be overemphasized – and it’s something I want every Microsoft partner and customer to take advantage of as soon as possible. By applying specialized and focused layers of protection at every critical phase of data’s path between the corporate network and a mobile device, you can (as noted in previous posts) safeguard what you’ve built and what you manage no matter where the user, the device, or the data travels.

Security is a make or break feature of any mobility strategy, and your mobile management strategy needs an enterprise-grade standard of protection that accounts for the needs of your device, the app, and the file.

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With the Enterprise Mobility Suite you are able to deploy a multi-layered protection solution:

  • Layer 1: Protecting at the device (MDM in Intune)
  • Layer 2: Protecting at the app (MAM in Intune)
  • Layer 3: Protecting at the file (Azure RMS)
  • Layer 4: Protecting the identity and corporate access (AAD Premium)

The EMS allows IT teams to make access controls a native part of files, and it ensures that your mobile devices work flawlessly with apps like Office and Acrobat.

This layered, comprehensive approach is unique to Microsoft – in part because we’ve made long-term usability a central facet of our enterprise mobility solution, and also because we have the enterprise experience, expertise, and insight that is lacking in other mobility products. We offer a better device management solution, and we offer the only file management and identity management solution.

Office 365 + Enterprise Mobility Suite

The widespread adoption of Hybrid Cloud infrastructure means that now many types of organizations can operate at a speed, a scale, and a level of efficiency never before possible. In fact, if you walked the convention floor at TechEd you saw dozens of businesses and apps that only exist and operate in a Hybrid environment.

Fully Hybrid apps are the kinds of things the IT industry was dreaming about just a couple of years ago. Now, apps that can draw upon machine learning and monitor/adapt based on work behavior are dramatically expanding the level and quality of the services that IT can provide.

I’ve written a lot about how, in today’s enterprise environment, there simply is not an internet-connected behavior that can’t be accelerated or improved by the cloud. These types of Hybrid apps are showing app creators and end-users the awesome things possible with Hybrid speed, scale, and efficiency.

EMS and O365 offer enterprises the opportunity to embrace the value, scale, and flexibility of a Hybrid approach to running a business.  It provides end-users with a holistic mobility + productivity solution that is more complete and offers better user experiences. On a practical level, O365 and EMS offer more functionality at a lower cost. This means that IT Pros are now in a position to enable more access to corporate data and more connections. This places the IT teams of any organization in a position of strength: They are able to use data to empower their companies with more complete understandings of their customers, their market, and their own operation.

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When considered with the scope and dimension it deserves, Enterprise Mobility extends well beyond and MDM and BYOD – and it reaches to the extent of proactively (and securely) governing new apps and services (e.g. SaaS) within an organization. The EMS was assembled precisely to address all of these needs by providing (as referenced above) identity and access management (via AAD Premium), MDM and MAM (via Intune), and data protection (via Azure RMS).

Work like a Network

One of the dreams that end users share is the ability to have their work data surfaced to them in a manner that is easy to act upon and personalized. In our personal lives we all use apps that constantly deliver a view of the things that are important to us outside of work, e.g. our hobbies, family events, news from around the world, etc. We use these apps to stay constantly in touch with the things that are most important to us. In most corporations, however, the reality is that information and knowledge flow in a very hierarchal manner – and more often than not this knowledge gets stranded within the hierarchy and/or stranded in unconnected systems with broken communication channels.

When these this happens innovation and decision making slow down dramatically. When I see research indicating that the average information worker spends 20% of his/her time (i.e. 1 day out of 5 each week!) searching for information, I can’t believe what a terrible waste of time this is for an organization that already has this information stranded somewhere within the organization.

We need to have the enterprise tools that support a workplace culture which enables us to work like a network – where information flows quickly and without the constraints that exist today. As we work like a network, the information and knowledge that we require in our work lives will surface to us in a personalized and actionable manner – just like it does in our personal digital lives.

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There is a lot to be excited about what Microsoft has brought to the table here at WPC, as well as what lies ahead in the very near future. Our comprehensive cloud services – which span infrastructure, productivity, data mobility and managed services – provide the technology you need to really set your organization apart.

Enjoy the rest of WPC 2014!