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The key takeaways from Microsoft tech summit 2018

The Microsoft tech summit was in held in Croke Park, Dublin on Friday the 23rd of November. There were over 900 technical specialists in attendance over the full day of talks and seminars. Here are some of our takeaways from the day. 

Habits of effective DevOps 

Martin Woodward, Principal Group Program Manager at Microsoft spoke about the importance of Azure DevOps and described it as ‘the union of people, process and products to enable continuous delivery of value to your end user’ showing that DevOps is now all about bring tangible value to the end customer.  Azure DevOps is the tool chain of choice for Microsoft engineering with over 96,000 internal users and is used for approximately 85,000 deployments per day. Martin discussed the key ways in which the success of your DevOps can be categorised.  These can be divided into three KPI’s which include: 

Usage:  Such as acquisition, engagement and satisfaction.  

Velocity: Including factors such as time it takes to build, self-test and deploy.  

Live Site Health: This refers to the time it takes to detect, communicate and mitigate, it also includes the impact on the customer. 

Martin also observed the importance of embracing the pain rather than avoiding it, he commented you should ‘find the part of your process that brings value to customers but slows you down or hurts the most. Make it incrementally better each sprint. Re-evaluate and improve the next most painful.’ 

Microsoft for Startups:  Enabling the next generation to achieve more 

Microsoft for Startups aim to empower the next generation of innovators to achieve more. Warwick Hill of Microsoft discussed the two core components to the success of start-ups.  These are access to technology and access to customers, both of which Microsoft can help with. He also spoke about how the next generation of startups should aim to disrupt their market.   

In order to achieve success, Microsoft Startups believe in four key attributes. You need to demonstrate leadership by being a thought leader in your industry and having an ‘outside in’ approach. As a start-up you should demonstrate agility by being flexible and not being afraid to fail – lessons can be learned through these failures.  Startups are considered agile enough to ‘learn, adapt and move on’, so failure should not spell the end of an organisation or its team.  

Communication is key and Warwick stressed the importance of knowing your pitch, keeping it simple and getting to the point quickly.  It should also be memorable for all the right reasons. The final key attribute a startup should have is a large list of valuable connections.  As a startup you need to ‘network, network, network’ and build your personal brand while seeing everyone as a partner. 

Taking kids speech technology innovations from the lab to the living room 

Patricia Scanlon of Soapbox Labs spoke about the power of AI and how it can be used for good.  In the future, Patricia believes AI will help educate the next generation through the likes of voice assistants. Currently, young children benefit most from the natural interface of voice assistant, yet they are the most underserved. The ethics of data privacy was also discussed and needs greater attention and education.  

Using data from sports to develop enterprise 

Other interesting talks from the day included ‘Building a Data Driven Organisation’ from Arthur McMahon of StatSports.  This company transitioned from a hardware-centric solution for elite athlete performance monitoring to a centralised cloud-based data centric solution.    

This is a snapshot of the content from the event which covered three tracks including I.T. Management, Data and artificial intelligence and development.  Many thanks to Microsoft for organising the event.   If you have any questions based on the talks during the day, please contact one of our consultants who will be happy to help.