On Monday, at the 2017 Microsoft Inspire conference in Washington, DC, the company announced Microsoft 365, a new bundle offering of Office 365, Windows 10, security, and mobility solutions. The goal of the new solution is to inspire flexibility while boosting digital transformation efforts.

According to a Microsoft blog post, Microsoft 365 will be available in two versions, Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business. The Enterprise edition is essentially a revamped version of Secure Productive Enterprise, designed for larger organizations with Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, enterprise mobility tools, and added security, the post said.

Microsoft 365 Business is geared more toward the SMB crowd, with the post noting that it is designed for businesses with “up to 300 users.” It includes Office 365 Business Premium along with customized security, and Windows 10 management features. The Business edition also includes enterprise mobility tools and added security. It will be available in public preview on August 2, 2017, the post said.

SEE: Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Training (TechRepublic Academy)

“Microsoft 365 represents a fundamental shift in how we will design, build and go to market to address our customers’ needs for a modern workplace,” the post said. “It’s a more cohesive approach and reflects the shift our partners and our mutual customers are making — from viewing productivity, security and device management as individual workloads to seeking a comprehensive approach to secure productivity.”

Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform is also getting some updates, announced at Inspire. Azure SQL Data Warehouse got a serious boost with new virtual machine types and storage enhancements, as reported by ZDNet’s Andrew Brust.

It was also unveiled that Microsoft’s hybrid computing appliance, Azure Stack, is available to order from partners Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. Mary Jo Foley noted on ZDNet that Azure Stack has been positioned as an extension of Azure, targeted toward compliance-heavy industries. However, it won’t be cheap. HPE’s solution will set a customer back $300,000 – $400,000, depending on how it is configured. Pricing hasn’t been released by the other vendors, but they’re all expected to begin shipping sometime in the next few months.

Continuing digital transformation efforts, Microsoft also debuted a new program aimed at modernizing business applications called ISV Cloud Embed. With the program, solutions like Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps, and Microsoft Flow are offered at up to a 50% price discount to be used as building block in future apps, the post said.

“In the same way that partners today build their apps on Microsoft Azure, they can now also use our business applications platform to easily add sales automation, service line and operational backend functionality to their own apps,” the post said. “This helps lower development overhead and costs by putting our engineering resources to work for them.”

Find more information on the Microsoft Inspire conference here.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft 365 is a new set of cloud software packages for the enterprise aimed at increasing digital transformation efforts.
  2. Microsoft also announced for storage and virtual machine updates for Azure SQL Data Warehouse, while Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo announced that they were taking orders for the Azure Stack hybrid cloud appliance.
  3. A new program called ISV Cloud Embed will allow used to add Microsoft app functionality to their own apps, at a discount.