Microsoft Envision: A conversation on digital transformation

Yesterday marked the first day of what we hope will be a long tradition. Our new flagship event for business leaders — the Microsoft Envision conference — kicked off in New Orleans with a keynote from Satya Nadella and a guest appearance from astronaut Captain Scott Kelly. The topic of digital transformation was the red thread that connected the keynote, the drill-down sessions and conversations on-and-off the expo floor.

With Microsoft Envision, we’re creating a truly global summit for issues critical to CxOs and other business leaders. More than 6,000 leaders from 70 countries representing every walk of industry are here in New Orleans. We’ve moved some of our deeply technical content to Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Build so attendees here can focus on challenges, trends and disruptors that are making and breaking companies today. This conference is designed to give everyone a chance to step back and learn about smart strategies to tackle emerging issues, power new efficiencies and build new business models and revenue streams.

We’ve convened one of the more impressive slates of speakers I can remember. There are sessions with top leaders like Paypal CEO Dan Schulman, NFL CIO Michelle McKenna-Doyle and Special Olympics Chairman Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D.—all of whom are sharing their perspective and career lessons on transforming for success. I even got the chance to sit down with Captain Kelly, who shared his experiences with Microsoft HoloLens in Redmond, Washington, and on the International Space Station. He talked about the future opportunity for HoloLens to create better connection with astronauts in space and on the ground resources.

Digital Transformation

Yesterday Satya discussed the benefits of digital transformation in business. He shared stories about amazing companies doing incredible things with technology. He discussed how Virgin Atlantic is deepening its relationship with customers by using analytics to get a 360-degree view of a customer and turn those insights into predictive power to deliver personalization at scale.  He also talked about how Ecolabs, a $14 billion global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, is using a combination of sensors and data to predict the flow of business and automate decisions.

Illustrating the scale of disruption we’re seeing today, Satya announced that Microsoft and R3 (a consortium of 40+ banks around the world) have formed a partnership to help accelerate the implementation of distributed ledger, blockchain technology—a big step in modernizing the way financial institutions conduct transactions. He also shared that Toyota is partnering with Microsoft to bring cloud intelligence into the driving experience.

In planning this new conference, we wanted it to be a place that would foster the free exchange of ideas, build a strong community and bring together leaders in business to learn from each other. So far I have been impressed by the conversations and stories I’ve heard of customers, speakers and analysts at different stages of their digital transformation.

The expo floor has also been impressive, with hundreds of booths from Microsoft and its partners, more than 100 Microsoft Theater Trend sessions, and 300-plus customer and partner meetings.

I’m looking forward to an exciting day two. As Satya said in his keynote, we want attendees to envision what a difference they can make for their customers, and how technology can be used to change the world. We feel like we have a responsibility to bring together different industries and leaders, because technology is transforming every industry.

Follow more stories on today’s digital transformation on our new business blog.

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