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Business Technology Summit 2021 Recap: Our Top Three Sessions

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

JourneyTEAM experts discuss how to enhance the power of Microsoft products to drive business growth, customize processes, and improve sales and marketing techniques.



JourneyTEAM’s 2021 Business Technology Summit was an incredible experience that brought in over 240 attendees, all of whom were interested in learning more about Microsoft technology.


Each session was well attended but our top three events were focused on Microsoft Power BI, Azure Active Directory, and adding custom apps to Microsoft Teams. You’ll find helpful tips from each one listed below.


Tell Your Business Story with Improved Power BI Visualizations


Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication—dating all the way back to the earliest days of human existence. These tales have the power to shape how people think and feel about something and while the verbal aspect is important, the visual elements are far more enduring.


In this session, Jim Hill, Principal Business Intelligence Application Consultant, discussed what the elements of a good story are and how to enhance them using Power BI’s visualization tools.


What Makes a Good Story?

Jim discussed how the following elements enhance the power of a story:

  • Set the stage: Give the audience some context to help understand the story.

  • Target your audience: It’s crucial to know who your audience is and what their expectations are. This will help personalize your story and resonate more effectively with your target audience.

  • Plan your story: Writing out your story gives it structure as well as purpose and meaning.

  • Leave room for surprises: Jim described how the best storytellers are those who ‘sprinkle’ their main points throughout the story as it encourages the reader to do their own exploration.

Five Gauges of Great Business Reports

Once you’ve created a story, it’s time to bring it to life with a Power BI report. However, in order for your report to resonate more effectively with your audience, Jim suggests following these five elements:

  • Targeted: Is the report built for a specific audience?

  • Beautiful: Is the report appealing? More specifically, does it utilize organization branding?

  • Focused: Is the report distraction-free?

  • Simple: Is the report easy to understand?

  • Organized: Is the report designed with cognitive recognition in mind?

Jim then went on to describe how Power BI’s rich library of visualization tools enables you to create reports that bring your story to life.


One attendee said this about Jim’s presentation: “Jim delivered a great presentation with valuable information and strategies for creating useful data visualization.”



Ditch Your On-Prem Active Directory (AD): The Path to a Pure Cloud Directory with Azure AD


Legacy patterns and systems are no longer equipped for today’s business market. While many organizations understand the need to move to the cloud, many are unsure of where to start.


Eric Raff, Cloud Practice Director at JourneyTEAM, provided insight on why moving to the cloud is a critical strategic role for today’s business. More specifically, he discussed the benefit of moving from an on-prem Microsoft Active Domain Directory Services to Azure AD, Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management services, and what the roadmap of this move would look like.


What to Consider Before Cloud Migration

Moving to the cloud is not a simple task. It requires significant planning and preparation to ensure as little disruption to business processes and the customer experience as possible. Eric reviewed four crucial considerations prior to cloud migration. These include:

  • Guiding principles: What is your long-term strategy and what are you overall business goals you’re hoping to achieve by migrating to the cloud?

  • Break your journey into “workstreams”: Identify the data, devices, applications, groups, and data printing that need to be moved and migrate them one at a time.

  • Know when things are “mastered”: Keep in mind the operations and training of both your AD and cloud directory.

  • Timing: What may be a “wait” today is a “migrate” next year, meaning it’s important to know when the best time to move your data to avoid disruption.

Considering these factors increases the likelihood of a seamless migration with little frustration.


Said one attendee: “I thoroughly appreciate the categorical migrate/evaluate/wait advisement. Excellent info!”


The Path to Pure Azure AD

Eric also provided a detailed overview of what the roadmap of moving to Azure AD looked like:

  • Attach to the cloud

  • Get hybrid

  • Decouple from on-prem

  • Cloud-centric, AD minimized

  • 100% cloud

More details about this process can be found in the video.


Adding Customized Apps to Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams serves as the hub for teamwork in Microsoft 365 and has features for communications and collaboration, plus customization and integration with third-party applications and processes. Thanks to the platform’s flexibility, it’s easy to enhance Teams’ experience with custom applications.


Rhett Arave, Principal Software Developer, and Ben Taylor, Collaboration and Content Services Functional Consultant discussed how to add these custom applications, tabs, bots, messaging extensions, and adaptive cards to Teams.


Take Advantage of ‘Teams Aware’ Apps

The custom apps that you create in Microsoft Teams are all ‘Teams Aware’, meaning they know who you are as a user, the context of your screen, if you’re using high contrast mode or dark mode, and more. This means that while you’re building APIs or websites, your application is automatically embedded, providing you with a more seamless experience.


This is only one example of Teams’ customization capabilities that are improving external collaboration, and Microsoft has already announced new features to be released in Teams at the end of this year.


Unlock More BTS 2021 Insights


Our BTS 2021 event was incredibly successful and attendees had access to great insights that demonstrated how to get optimum use from Microsoft products.


Sign up to receive insights in the New Year with BTS Chronicles- Your Monthly Digest on Business Technology - or contact a JourneyTEAM representative for more information on how we help you plan, build, and deploy Microsoft products into your business processes.