By 26 May 2020 | Categories: Corporate Events


Even as the Coronavirus pandemic is tearing at established ways of doing things and a variety of industries, it is reassuring that some things go on nonetheless. For example, Microsoft’s Build 2020 conference took place last week unabated.

The most notable difference was apparent from the outset - rather than debuting to a packed conference hall in Seattle, the event took place entirely online, with Microsoft Teams really showing its capabilities.

As this was our first Build conference, we were bemused to see the Build 2020 press portion of the event debut with corporate vice president for communications, Frank Shaw showcasing his breadmaking skills, and sharing his recipe for sourdough.

It wasn’t only a nifty way to whet the appetite for what was to come. Whether intentional or not, it served as a tantalizing reminder that in the face of chaos, making something, whether that is a new recipe for bread, or new software, is a viable response, perhaps the best response.   

Team work makes the dream work

The first thing Build 2020 made from the outset was the chance to connect with the company in a new way. Indeed Teams, which was discussed in depth earlier this year at Microsoft Ignite, really showed its value, serving as a base station/ virtual conference venue for two days worth of virtually conducted talks, keynotes and sessions geared towards developers.

It was a poignant reminder of how much has changed in the past few months – Ignite took place in a crowded conference centre, peppered with in person round tables, back when remote working was an intriguing and forward thinking proposition rather than a business necessity.   

One of the standout points made by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, was how the company was uniquely positioned for the world where remote working is the new normal. That is, for those businesses which now have to contend with the need for social distancing in a year that has been marked by a global pandemic.

Business as unusual

No doubt one of the prevailing questions for businesses is how do they adjust to a new normal, and weather tough conditions? It is a concern that Scott Guthrie, the Executive Vice President for Cloud and AI, addressed directly.

“We are living in unprecedented times where organizations in every industry and sector are working to adjust to a new normal, rethinking how business is done and meeting new, changing customer demands,” he noted.

Guthrie continued that because technology underpins everything from how businesses run to the products and services you sell, organizations must learn to excel at developing software.

As well, he added, business leaders need to empower developers to unlock productivity and innovation, in what the industry has started referring to as Developer Velocity.

Speed thrills

So what is Developer Velocity – apart from another neat catchphrase? Guthrie explained that Developer Velocity involves “focusing on critical enablers and minimizing barriers to developer productivity.”

As the name suggests, it is about increasing the speed of delivery. More importantly, he added, it is about unleashing developer ingenuity—turning developers’ ideas into software that supports the needs of ones customers, and the goals of one’s business.

“Microsoft understands the core enablers as we’ve been building software and tools to support the unique needs of developers for decades. Microsoft’s comprehensive developer toolchain and platforms are designed to help modern developers and development teams. The more you enable developers to build productively, collaborate globally and securely, and scale what they invent, the better business outcomes you’ll see in areas including financial performance, innovation, and customer satisfaction,” he asserted.

So what catalyses Developer Velocity? And what should businesses be availing themselves of in order to accelerate their performance? That is explored in Part 2.


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