The South African leg of the Microsoft Empower Cloud and Enterprise launch event took place yesterday 6 April 2016 and oh what an event it was! With Microsoft’s mobile-first and cloud first push in full swing since 2015, tech industry leaders from around South Africa gathered together to learn about what the the future holds for the cloud and the Enterprise and what key decisions need to be made now. Here are the highlights of the event.
Data And Analytics
The day clearly belonged to discussions around data, and how Microsoft through the upcoming launch of SQL Server 2016 is pushing the envelope as far as providing new tools to help organizations make more intelligent data driven decisions. To support this there was a showcase of SQL Server R Services 2016 which is one the leading data analytics tools around the world, this on the back of Microsoft’s purchase or Revolution Analytics.
The advanced analytics presentations were led by leading data guru Rafal Lukaweicki. Also presented were key improvements to watch out for in SQL Server 2016 and how it is by nature built for the cloud, as shown by ground-breaking technologies like Stretch Database. While for the past 3 years, focus has been mostly around mobile apps, and appifying everything, the workshop proved in a big way that data is the new currency.
Following behind the main focus on data, was the cloud and the latest services available in Azure to support advanced data science. What stood cloud clearly in this segment was Microsoft’s push for The Hybrid Cloud through the Microsoft Azure Stack, which empowers organizations to continue making use if their investments of on-premises servers, yet can stretch on-premise data to the cloud. Also of note, was a demo of Azure Cortana Intelligence Suite which is a powerful advanced analytics and machine learning platform that can crunch huge data in a few seconds,
The Bigger Picture
Apart from all the technical geek speak, a couple of very important important presentations were made by thought leaders like KPMG Partner Lullu Krugel, Ridwaan Bassadien and Microsoft South Africa Executive Cliff de Wit who discussed about the current state South Africa’s economy and the need for the private sector to play a more active role to create more jobs in our economy and help move South Africa to a mature services-based economy.
Cliff de Wit also made startling remarks like “Every company shall soon become a software company” and that “The achievements of yesterday were visible, but the breakthroughs of tomorrow will be invisible”. Ridwaan Bassadien finally discussed about the importance of customer stories and testimonials as critical in helping organizations to make the right decisions in adopting technology solutions.