Modern Solutions for a Modern Workplace at Microsoft Ignite 2023

calendar iconNovember 27, 2023

Cherry Bekaert was recently a sponsor at Microsoft Ignite 2023. Ignite is an annual Microsoft event for developers and IT professionals – including CIOs, CTOs, product management and the myriad of other roles working with Microsoft technologies. This year’s event occurred at the stunning new Summit building at the Seattle Convention Center – the first Microsoft event held there.

Cherry Bekaert’s theme for Ignite 2023 was Modern Innovations for a Modern Workplace. We showcased our work with launching two solutions on the Microsoft Cloud: first, in the renewable energy space for managing distributed energy resources (DERs), and second, our solution involving next-generation electronic signature, document workflow, AI insights and better records management. We were able to demo these solutions for Microsoft’s in-person attendees and a remote, global audience.

Here are a few key takeaways from Microsoft’s premier event:

AI Is the Talk of the Town

Keynote presentations and discussions around AI were front and center for in-person attendees at Ignite, as well as for virtual registrants. Leaders from across the globe shared how the Microsoft Cloud and the various (essentially limitless) Copilot capabilities can help customers transform their business by building AI solutions and unlocking data insights. Cherry Bekaert discussed how organizations can easily incorporate AI into their business-critical contracts and agreements workflows through a new and unique electronic signature experience using Verdocs, which enables the first fully embeddable eSignature experience with Microsoft’s Commercial Cloud. For instance, through the power of AI, organizations can halt a document signing session if certain verbiage is detected in the document. It can also automatically add signors or approvers of a document that contains certain verbiage or values. AI can do much more – but these are examples of straightforward (and high-value) AI use cases.

Ignite attendees also heard about the importance of understanding their data and embarking on their Journey to AI – in a practical and pragmatic way. The Cherry Bekaert team discussed our approach, which involves four key steps:

  1. Learn and demystify (including addressing key questions like What is AI? and What can it do?)
  2. Assess & diagnose (including defining & prioritizing use cases, evaluating data availability & quality)
  3. Prototype & deploy (including enabling pilot use cases, measuring results and planning for scale)
  4. Scale & govern (including looking into talent, governance, risks and evolution/maturity strategy)

Driving Innovation with Azure in the Cloud

Ignite featured many examples of companies launching modern cloud applications built on Azure – including making them available as transactable products on the Azure Marketplace. Cherry Bekaert featured a transactable solution it helped launch with its client and alliance partner, PXiSE Energy Solutions – a Yokogawa company.  PXiSE enables utilities, campuses and communities to hit their clean energy goals by giving grid operators the control they need to manage unlimited renewables and DERs, while still providing safe and reliable power. The product Cherry Bekaert featured and demonstrated is a DER management and communication platform. This Azure Managed Application offering helps utilities, aggregators and Virtual Power Plants manage the accelerating penetration of DERs – as part of planning and operating the 21st century electric grid. DER management was prominently featured as a gap in the industry in Microsoft’s most recent electric utility industry point of view. We are proud to be aligned with Microsoft and in a position to help fill that gap.

Sustainability Solutions

Reporting standards and processes were a hot topic at Ignite. The adoption of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the interlinked European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) entails major changes that are creating a new paradigm for sustainability reporting. The purpose of the CSRD and ESRS is to hold organizations accountable for their actions, and the quantitative and qualitative information that they publish should be accurate, relevant, reliable, verifiable and comparable. Additionally, on Oct. 7, 2023, California’s Governor Newsom signed a landmark climate disclosure bill, which is expected to have global impacts on corporate climate accountability. The bill, also known as the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, will require more than 6,000 U.S. corporations with global revenue over $1 billion and doing any business in California to annually report their global emissions of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming gases.

At Cherry Bekaert, we consult and advise on the practical approach to ESG. We support the strategic and transformational initiatives of our client’s organizations without negatively impacting value, and we deliver a holistic approach to accurate and measurable reporting. Our methodology is designed to help organizations cost-effectively enhance value through an entity-wide approach to the identification, quantification and management of the enterprise’s essential portfolio. We enjoyed the opportunity to visit with in-person attendees at Ignite about our solutions in this area. We saw it as serendipitous that Cherry Bekaert and Microsoft’s Cloud for Sustainability were located next to each other at Ignite.

Modern Integrations Through Power Platform

Ignite also focused on how organizations are searching for ways to stay agile and build solutions that move their business forward with low-code tools. Power Platform is an intuitive and collaborative platform that allows users to create end-to-end solutions that deliver value for stakeholders and accelerate business growth. The platform includes five popular applications: Power BI, Power Apps, Power Pages, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents. Together, these applications help organizations automate business processes, analyze data and build new apps, websites and virtual agents. Using Power Automate, for example, Cherry Bekaert helps organizations improve their workflows in areas such as administrative tasks, follow up and reply tasks, deadline reminders and approval tasks, and event triggers and auto assigning tasks.

What’s Next?

At Ignite, we were thrilled to collaborate with innovative professionals, and we look forward to forging partnerships with organizations who are changing the world and improving the lives of others.

If we didn’t get a chance to meet you, be sure to check out our demo video titled: AI and Sustainability with Azure & Power Platform, featuring the solutions that we helped design for PXiSE and Verdocs. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Cherry Bekaert’s professionals are ready to be your trusted partner in optimizing your Microsoft journey.

Questions? Contact Us