3 Lessons Associations Can Learn from Microsoft Ignite 2019

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft Ignite 2019. (Photo courtesy of Microsoft)

By Dave Perron, Sr. Sales Engineer 

Technology never stops evolving, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with the latest news and trends in the tech space while keeping up with your day job. With that said, there are a few conferences each year that association executives need to keep their eyes on. Microsoft Ignite is among them. 

Microsoft Ignite 2019 featured more than 200 hands-on experiences and 1,000 sessions, but association executives can focus on the keynote, in which Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted the benefits of operating on the Microsoft Trusted Cloud. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, having introduced CRM platform-based association management software (AMS) to the market in the early 2000s, the Protech team eagerly awaits Nadella’s address each year. 

Nadella’s 2019 vision keynote did not disappoint. There were so many major theme and product advancements to highlight that I won’t get to all of them in this blog post, but three elements of Nadella’s keynote will have major benefits for associations. 

Microsoft Ignite 2019: Top Takeaways 

1 – Microsoft is Empowering All Organizations 

Go to ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo and you’ll find that many association executives already operate on, or very close to, the cutting edge, especially when it comes to business processes and tech. But Nadella, Microsoft and its partners want to take association business processes to the next level. 

“We want every organization to be a digital software company,” Nadella said at Microsoft Ignite 2019. 

Together with Microsoft, we’re putting the power back in the hands of users, giving nonprofits full autonomy over their core business systems. Here’s an example: Microsoft is empowering users through their massive library of connectors, an array of apps that can be easily added onto Microsoft Dynamics 365 without the need for costly integrations. 

Nadella also introduced Microsoft Power Automate, a game-changing resource for associations. Here’s how it was described by Business Insider: 

“At its Ignite conference on Monday, Microsoft that it is adding robotic process automation to its Power Automate tool (previously called Microsoft Flow) which helps move data from one system to another.” 

What does that mean for associations? Let’s say you’re looking to add onto your AMS, but that software isn’t featured as one of Microsoft’s many connectors. Rather than going through the months-long integration process and engaging with developers, Power Automate saves associations time and money with “low code, no code” connectors. No developers required. 

2 – The Azure Trusted Cloud is More Secure Than Ever 

Another key point Nadella hit on during the November conference is Microsoft’s continued focus on security. And in an age when major security breaches hit headlines every few months, and data protection rules like the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) continue to crop up, it’s never been more important to find a cloud platform you can trust to protect member data. 

Finding a cloud platform you can trust isn’t easy. According to Nadella, cybercrime cost organizations $1 trillion in 2018, but Microsoft is actively working to combat those issues so they don’t happen to your association. 

With an AMS on the Azure Trusted Cloud, your organization’s data is protected by 3,500 cybersecurity experts and a $1 billion investment in security, research and development. There’s a reason they call it the Azure Trusted Cloud, after all. 

3 – Innovative New Features are Now Available from Microsoft 

Associations who take advantage of Microsoft’s expansive product suite now have access to two more incredibly powerful solutions: Power Apps and Power BI. 

We’ve talked at length about Power BI on the Protech blog — it’s an innovative reporting tool that gives your association the ability to visualize the path you’re on, and take action accordingly. But what is Power Apps? 

Power Apps is a simple and intuitive app building solution that empowers your team to launch new association apps, all without the need for a developer. With little experience, these apps can be created in hours rather than weeks, saving your organization tons in development costs.  

Final Thoughts 

As a Microsoft partner, there’s a lot to get excited about during Ignite. These solutions — be it the Azure Trusted Cloud, Power BI, Power Apps or Power Automate — can be revolutionary for associations and nonprofits embracing the digital transformation, and we’re proud to make them even more accessible for your organization. 

To learn more from Microsoft Ignite, click here. Or, click here to find out how Power BI can benefit your organization. Finally, download this free white paper to find out how the True Cloud AMS built on the Azure Trusted Cloud makes system upgrades simple and effortless.