Microsoft Ignite 2021: upgrading partner tools and capabilities

We’re kicking off Microsoft Ignite, our annual conference for technology leaders and practitioners to engage with expert insight, training sessions, and cutting-edge tools. Among the many announcements and updates to the Microsoft ecosystem being shared as part of Microsoft Ignite, there are several innovations that have specific benefits for partners supporting hybrid work and security, as well as continued investment in the Microsoft Industry Clouds.

Announcing Microsoft Defender for Business

An enterprise-grade endpoint security solution specially built for small- and medium-sized business, Microsoft Defender for Business will help organizations with up to 300 employees protect themselves against cyberattacks, including malware and ransomware, across a range of platforms and devices. It brings together the power of next generation protection and endpoint detection and response with an ease of use that’s designed for small business customers and partners. Partners will also get the benefit of Microsoft 365 Lighthouse integration to help secure multiple customers at scale. Microsoft Defender for Business will be available for partners and customers to preview soon. At general availability, it will be available to purchase as a standalone solution and will also be included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium. See more details on this and other security announcements here.

Updates to Azure Virtual Desktop

Many partners have found Azure Virtual Desktop to be a powerful solution for customers. We’re leveling up this tool with new features, including support for Azure Stack HCI. Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI allows customers to leverage a modern cloud service for desktop and application virtualization while maintaining support for certain apps and data on-premises. This structure empowers them to maximize integration of Azure services as well as modern virtual desktop infrastructure with Windows 10 and Windows 11 desktops and apps. We’re also adding Windows 10 multi-session and Windows 11 multi-session capabilities for IT implementors, and a new autoscale feature. These updates to Azure Virtual Desktop are now in preview.

Advancements in industry clouds

The Microsoft Industry Cloud family offers highly specialized capabilities for partners to differentiate themselves within their industry. We’re continuing our investments with new availability and additions just announced:

  • Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing: This is the newest industry cloud offering, connecting experiences across customer operations, workforce, design and engineering processes, customer engagements, and the end-to-end value chain. Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing is now available in preview for customers.
  • Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare: Managing health data just got easier with several updates to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare now available. New capabilities offer enhanced patient engagement, improved insights, and increased health team collaboration.
  • Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services: Now generally available, Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services enhances privacy, security, and regulatory compliance for retail banks. This cloud integrates capabilities in Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to create value for both customers and employees.
  • Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability: Organizations may now preview the new Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability (previously in private preview) and its cutting-edge abilities to track carbon emissions. Enhanced insights help users understand data to identify the actions needed to make more sustainable choices.
  • Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit: Addressing unique scenarios like fundraising and volunteer management, Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit is now generally available for organizations to implement. These solutions are designed to leverage applications that many nonprofits already use, including Microsoft 365, Azure and Dynamics 365.

Enhancing Microsoft Teams

As global workforces deepen their relationship through Microsoft Teams, we are constantly working to increase the platform’s capabilities and usability. Between now and early 2022, we will be rolling out many new features that partners can leverage in their business solutions. These include 3D experiences with Mesh for Microsoft Teams, secure collaboration across organizations, new collaborative apps, and more agile meetings and Rooms to support hybrid work.

Introducing Microsoft Viva Suites and Viva Learning

Continuing our innovation in employee engagement, we are launching the new Microsoft Viva suite –one plan that includes all four modules: Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning. The suite comes with premium subscriptions, new features and partnerships, and a connected IT admin experience. In addition, we are offering enterprise customers the Microsoft Viva with Glint add-on joint plan. This add-on helps capture valuable employee feedback and translate insights to actions. 

Microsoft Viva Learning is also available to help organizations promote a culture of growth and development. Users can simplify learning across the organization by connecting Learning Management Systems, third-party content, and proprietary resources into a center of learning in Microsoft Teams.

Visit the Official Microsoft Blog for more information on the announcements made at Microsoft Ignite, and the full Book of News.

These upgrades, alongside every other investment in the partner network, continue to help shape the market opportunity for solution providers. The potential for innovation is endless as we partner to empower customers across industries, regions, and solution areas.