Microsoft Ignite 2021: Satya Nadella’s 5 ‘Key Attributes’ To Drive Cloud Innovation
March 8, 2021
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by Arabella Seebaluck

Cloud technology has been a significant force in helping the world adapt to the new normal brought on to our society and economy by one of the most significant healthcare crises in modern history. The Cloud will change over the next decade and technologists need to foundationally transform how the Cloud can drive the next level of broad economic growth that everyone can participate in, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said as he elaborated his vision for cloud innovation at this year’s Microsoft Ignite, an annual conference for IT professionals.

“The true test of technology has always been whether it can help organisations improve their time to value, increase agility and reduce costs. But as the world recovers, it will require much more from technology, and the Cloud in particular, to help address our most pressing challenges and ensure that nobody is left behind,” he said.

Nadella outlined five key attributes that will drive the next generation of innovation in the cloud.

Ubiquitous and decentralised computing

From the materials to semiconductors to the systems, from the cloud to its edge, computing architecture is going through a radical change which will result in continued exponential growth in compute capacity. Standing at peak centralisation currently, we will require more sovereignty and decentralised control. Cloud and edge computing will evolve to meet all of these real world needs. According to Nadella, this calls for more ubiquitous and more decentralised compute power for every organisation, small or large, across industries and geographies.

Sovereign data and ambient intelligence

Data will become more private and more sovereign as the volume, variety and velocity of data are expected to go through explosive growth in the cloud, and in particularly, at the edge, which will drive that decentralised architecture of compute. This will result in data governance and providence taking new importance.

“Large-scale, multi-modal models will become first-class platforms onto themselves, creating that ambient intelligence all around us. We will develop new methods of federated machine learning to drive the next generation of personalised, and yet, privacy preserving services. Business logic will move from being code that is written to being code that is learned from data, creating a complete new generation of business process and productivity systems,” he said.

According to him, a new cloud-powered artificial intelligence will help organisations to achieve increased levels of predictive and analytical power, common sense reasoning, alignment with human preferences, and augmented human capability.

Empowered creators and communities

Nadella expects world’s economies to find a new balance between consumption and creation as the next decade would require technology advances that radically democratise creation.

“We will need to expand access to skills, tools and platforms, as well as connections and collaboration across communities so that everyone can create, whether it’s building a virtual world, students working on an assignment with short-form videos, knowledge workers creating formulas and spreadsheets, pro developers writing code or domain experts using local tools to build applications,” Nadella said.

This democratisation of creation will drive new innovation in end-user computing while the new computing experiences will be further amplified by communities that learn from each other, build on each other and further amplify and accelerate creation.

Expanded economic opportunity

The Microsoft head said the changing scenarios would necessitate creation of continuous feedback loops between the work, skills, learning and credentials required both for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“We need to define productivity much more broadly inclusive of collaboration, learning and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today. All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where and how people work,” he added.

Trust by design

“We need to have ethical principles govern the design, development and deployment of AI. Our technology needs to be secured by design and promote zero trust architectural principles. We need to build technology with the design intent to protect the fundamental rights of all people, including privacy and strengthening these institutions we all depend on for our livelihoods and wellbeing. And we need tech advancements that protect our most finite resource, our planet,” Nadella said.

He urged organisations to harness these five attributes to build their own digital tech intensity so they can create proprietary technology required to generate durable competitive advantage.

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