I went to my first ever big Microsoft event, Microsoft Ignite the Tour which landed in Sydney on February 13-14 2020. Here is my summary and a video which Megan Strant and I recorded.

I was fortunate to have Megan Strant to compare notes with throughout the event, and we caught up afterwards to do a quick video of our collective thoughts:


Interoperability and clarity

Clear from every presentation I attended was the intention and planning around interoperability of the Microsoft 365 toolset.

Outlook works with Yammer, Yammer works with Teams, Teams works with SharePoint, SharePoint works with Office 365 Groups.

The presenters were very clear that none of these products stands alone, they are complimentary, while retaining distinct roles. For example:

  • OneDrive – Work with all your files
  • Teams – Work with your team
  • SharePoint – Work across your organisation


Even in sessions which I expected to have a predominantly technical bent, adoption was mentioned. There were a number of side-line adoption sessions, but most of the sessions I went to were product focussed.

In product sessions there was a very clear message about the importance of adoption activities and the many resources which are available from Microsoft to support them. A clear message that Microsoft understands that adoption is critical to technology successes.

Humans of IT

It is wonderful to be at a technology focussed conference and see not only a clear message about the human elements, but many specific sessions from great speakers.

The human considerations extended beyond the sessions into the conference and technology including

  • Live captioning for sessions
  • Breakout and quiet spaces
  • Presence of community organisations

I’m looking forward to seeing more from Humans of IT at future events.


In addition to having live captioning at the event, the transcription features in Microsoft Teams were demonstrated. Live transcription in meetings, in multiple languages.

The important part about this is the approach of accessibility for everyone. By including and introducing features that benefit people who have hearing impairment we benefit everyone (for example people who may be in a noisy cafe).

Product highlights

I attended a bunch of sessions covering Office, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, OneDrive and Office 365 Groups. Here are just a few of the features which were demonstrated/announced which caught my attention.

  • OneDrive is for all of your files – not just personal. Access everything you work on from OneDrive, no matter where it is.
  • Link directly to a slide in PowerPoint. How handy. If you have a huge deck but you just want to point out one slide to someone you can.
  • Block downloads in OneDrive. I think this will appeal to security conscious organisations.
  • Conditional formatting of lists in SharePoint. Currently you have to use JSON to do this. Really love this simple features which will have a big impact. Check out my tweet for the slide about conditional formatting.
  • Yammer renaming groups to communities. Eliminating confusion about the purpose of Yammer versus other tools and all of the things called ‘Groups’.
  • Mobile video in Yammer is richer, quicker and more funky. The team did a great demonstration. See my tweet for a quick video showing the Yammer mobile video experience.
  • Outlook for web and Yammer work seamlessly together. If you are working from Outlook you can get a live experience of Yammer and interact with it directly.
  • In Office 365 Groups you can change the URL. It will automatically redirect. You can delete the old redirection if you want. A huge change that I have been looking forward to.
  • Pop out chats and pop out meetings for Microsoft Teams.
  • A button to share to Teams from Outlook (rather than copying the email address).
  • Whiteboard for Teams meetings

Session information

There was so much more at Ignite the Tour in Sydney than I could attend myself. You can access many of the sessions (particularly those from learning paths) on the Microsoft Tech Community:

I also collected tweets and media from Ignite the Tour in Sydney, and the local Year of Yammer events in Wakelet:

There is also a great summary of the London event by Phil Worrell:

Do you have questions, feedback or your own blog about the event you can share? Pop it in the comments.

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