Today at the keynote session, which kicked off the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta, “the largest IT conference”, as described by Microsoft General Manager, Julia White, Microsoft tried to win back the hearts and minds of IT professionals. Microsoft’s aggressive move to the cloud, had put the IT folks at odds with Redmond as the system administrators and farm architects were seeing their jobs threatened as data centers were replaced by Azure and Office 365.

The opening refrain of the morning keynote was directed right at IT professionals stating that the acronym no longer stands for ‘information technology’ in Microsoft’s eyes; instead it stands for “innovation and transformation.”

It’s clear that Microsoft wants organizations to view their IT department as the pilots driving the adoption of new technology and furthermore, that Microsoft is the plane your IT pilots should be flying.

This was the most technical keynote Microsoft had delivered in years, in sharp contrast with Bill Clinton’s keynote two years  ago, and came bundled with a clear message to the enterprise IT staff: we are taking care of you. Besides this prevailing message, three things really stood out from the talk.

1. Better Manageability of the Cloud

Microsoft’s Executive Vice President, Scott Guthrie made hybrid cloud a big point of his talk, reassuring current and prospective customers alike that Microsoft makes it as easy as possible to manage your cloud infrastructure whether it be on-premise, in the cloud or both.

2. Increased Emphasis Security

With all the highly publicized email hacks (like Yahoo’s recent disclosure, or Hillary Clinton’s insecure email server) it’s no surprise that Microsoft would want to show off their security chops. In our view, as a company operating both in Europe and North America, this was a good move. Data sovereignty in services like Office 365 has become a top of mind issue and key decision factor for public sector companies, especially those outside the US.

3. Cross-Platform Development

The Xamarin + Visual Studio integration announced earlier this year at Microsoft’s Build conference made a big presence on stage Microsoft flexed its cross-platform development muscle and made a great case for using their platform to get applications working easily on any device, running any OS.

Clearly Microsoft is delivering on its commitment to the Cloud with Azure and Office 365 being the pillars of this strategy, while imploring IT professionals to be the vehicle for digital transformation within their organizations.

Here at we’re all about humanizing technology to make sure the tools you use every day are working for you and not the other way around. That’s why we embed our tools inside of email, where workers are most comfortable. It seems that Microsoft may be taking a page out of our playbook with some of the solutions shown on stage today.

After all that technical jargon, if you’re interested in a company who pledges to humanize technology, then stop by the booth, #545, throughout the show to get in your email zone.

Stay tuned for another post on the afternoon keynote. 

Yaacov Cohen
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer