Tag Archives: Microsoft

A Day at the Circus: Microsoft’s Re-invention is No Act

Thousands of analyses and commentaries on this week’s big Microsoft #Windows10 event can be found in any web search. The focus and tone of almost every analysis and commentary that I’ve seen has been on the technology and the “stuff,” and what Microsoft has done or promises to do with it – what’s included, what’s missing, what they got right or wrong, and so on.

That’s understandable, as watching the event (and the Twitter stream that couldn’t keep up) was like watching a 3-ring circus – there was just one cool act after another, with lights, music, magic, and even 3-D experiences with lots of “ooohs” and “ahhhs.” When you talk about the circus, you want to talk about what you saw.

Even so, focusing on the circus of nerdy-cool stuff that played out yesterday is like critiquing the acrobats, the dancing bears, and the clown car, and not noticing that the big ol’ tent has been replaced by a new domed stadium with a new foundation and 21st-century facilities and capabilities.

Almost everyone except us (and the Wall Street Journal) missed the real eye-opener yesterday: how Microsoft has fundamentally changed, and is changing, itself and its business. Little to none of what MSFT demo’d, rolled out, or Continue reading

Five Surprising Findings About DevOps

DevOps is everywhere these days. At our recent Saugatuck Cloud Business Summit, there was almost universal adoption of DevOps in the organizations represented by the large-enterprise CIOs and CTOs at the conference. This was a bit surprising, as it represents an acceleration of adoption across organizations at a much faster pace than our recent research had suggested. Perhaps it wasn’t as surprising, however, as five recent findings about the state of DevOps in North America recently revealed.

How does DevOps start? As with many technology-related phenomena, DevOps often begins as isolated pockets of IT automation. This is regardless of company size, whether the company has a pre-disposition to Open Source or Windows, and regardless of who you ask (developers or operations).

The typical scenario for many companies: a team or organization deploys Puppet or Chef, for instance. Although, it could be Salt or Ansible, Dell KACE or ScriptRock’s GuardRail. After initial learning and project success, the DevOps expertise spreads, and several more people in the organization acquire the skills Continue reading

Microsoft Surface: Don’t Unplug the Patient While Vitals are Improving

Saugatuck’s ongoing research model is built on a foundation that we call the Boundary-free Enterprise™, a model of “free-range” business enabled by varying, and often innovative, applications of Cloud, Mobility, Social IT, and advanced Analytics.

It’s in that context of Cloud-first, mixed-generation work computing that I spent time this weekend reviewing Microsoft’s Surface tablet development and progress. The Surface line has been widely reported to have cost Microsoft as much as $2B over the past two fiscal years – an amount that has some IT industry analysts and business reporters calling for its cancellation. I think that the vital signs tell us that it’s much too early to pull the plug on this patient.

Source: Computerworld, from Microsoft and SEC documents

Source: Computerworld, from Microsoft and SEC documents

To my mind, the way to look at it is this: Over two years, Microsoft has spent less than 1% of total company revenue on tablet PC R&D, while establishing and building market share, and building a trend that could result in profitability within the next fiscal year.

Computerworld published the graphic below as part of an examination of Microsoft’s Surface investment. Assuming that these numbers are correct, and we have no reason to doubt their veracity, in one fiscal year, Surface revenue has almost tripled, while the gap between Surface revenue and cost of that revenue has been cut by 1/2, with the resulting red ink has also Continue reading

2014 Cloud Business Summit – The Journey to Digital Business

I am pleased to announce some of the details surrounding our fourth annual Cloud Business Summit, which will be held November 12, 2014 at The Yale Club in New York City.

Our conference theme this year is “Innovation, Opportunity, Risk and Reward,” with the event focusing on the journey that large enterprise CIOs, CTOs, and senior marketing and finance executives are on as they optimize their Cloud investments, and begin to remake their companies as Digital Businesses. For a short overview of the event, go to: http://cloudbusinesssummit.com/about-the-event.html.

We’ve moved the Summit to a new venue this year. The Yale Club of New York has a spectacular Grand Ballroom that we will be using, along with its elegant Rooftop Dining Room. Both will provide an optimal setting for the peer-level learning and interaction that are hallmarks of our events, fostering an intimate, C-level setting.

Our program / agenda is coming together nicely, with our keynotes and panels offering unique first-person experiences, insights, and best practices Continue reading

Microsoft’s “One Windows” Strategy

What is Happening?          

Quietly included in Microsoft’s quarterly analyst call this week was a critically strategic positioning statement, followed by some clarification, by company CEO Satya Nadella. The topic? “One Windows.” Saugatuck believes that the “One Windows” effort is actually a core strategic positioning by MSFT – one which has been widely misinterpreted, and therefore discounted in the marketplace.

The most widely held misunderstanding right now is that “One Windows” means the same OS, the same UI, the same everything, everywhere, on any device.

In our view, what “One Windows” really means is a unified development strategy leading to a centrally-governed, federated union of developers, partners, and customers across Windows and all related software and devices, as follows:

  • One internal Microsoft team coordinating and developing all Windows alternatives – including the Xbox One OS. This began a year ago, with the establishment of the “Unified Operating System Group.”
  • One common NT core. Each Windows version is built on top of this core, and is adapted/optimized for the range of devices and environments in which it will be run.
  • One app/software store with one common business model across all Windows versions and developer/user environments.
  • One unified developer platform that enables developers to “write once and run on any Windows variant,” suggesting a long-term goal of “universal Windows apps.” This still requires lots of work on APIs and tools.

Continue reading

Memo to Satya Nadella as Microsoft Shifts Its Core  

To:       Satya Nadella, CEO, MSFT
From:   Bruce Guptill, 30-year IT industry analyst
Re:       Your email of 11 July


I have read through and discussed your “internal” email regarding Microsoft’s direction and emphasis with several colleagues and competitors, and I must say, “Bravo.” You are the first Microsoft CEO to effectively, publicly, shift the company’s core positioning and direction. That took vision, guts, planning, lots of internal politicking, and nerves of steel.

For me, the key bits were as follows:

  • “We will reinvent productivity for people who are swimming in a growing sea of devices, apps, data and social networks.”
  • “Across Microsoft, we will obsess over reinventing productivity and platforms.”
  • “We will relentlessly focus on and build great digital work and life experiences with specific focus on dual use. Our cloud OS infrastructure, device OS and first-party hardware will all build around this core focus and enable broad ecosystems. Microsoft will light up digital work and life experiences in the most personal, intelligent, open and empowering ways.”
  • “Developers and partners will thrive by creatively extending Microsoft experiences for every individual and business on the planet.”

In my view, you hit every important point in the right way, effectively blocked every obvious avenue to thwart change, and provided enough direction and emphasis to inspire and guide. Kudos to you and your Continue reading

Microsoft Strategizes on the Boundary-free Digital Business Shift

What is Happening?

Microsoft has generated significant news presence in recent weeks. In Saugatuck’s view, the most significant was CEO Satya Nadella’s sit-down interview at this week’s Code Conference, where he promoted a vision of Microsoft’s future as “building platforms and software for productivity.” We see his remarks, and Microsoft’s actions, as indicating a powerful shift toward enabling boundary-free enterprises and Digital Business, and indicating a massive, envelopment business strategy extension.

In the context of how the company expects to compete, Nadella stated that we’re entering an era in which Microsoft’s software and services need to be available on “all devices,” adding that “Microsoft has to build apps and platforms that are not really about a specific device, but for people.”

Bottom line: Microsoft is trying to enable itself, its users, and its channels to extend and expand what everyone’s business is and does. Saugatuck sees this as a continuing re-direction toward the Boundary-free Enterprise™ reality, which could not only result in Microsoft retaining its current influence but build its revenue sources and streams beyond the already massive presence. IT markets, be aware: The Windows footprint is expanding – everywhere. Continue reading

Microsoft Build, Free Windows, and Strategy

What is Happening?

So far, focus at Microsoft’s Build developer event on the audio-driven Cortana PDA has garnered tremendous publicity. Saugatuck believes that Cortana right now provides a sexy sideshow distracting from what Saugatuck considers to be a public acknowledgement by Microsoft concerning its core strategic positioning.


Source: Microsoft

In Saugatuck’s opinion, the Microsoft news this week with the greatest impact on Microsoft and IT markets was announcement of free Windows licensing on smaller mobile devices.This announcement puts clear and massive Microsoft internal and ecosystem emphasis on Cloud; it positions Cloud as keystone in Microsoft’s strategic business. That’s an excellent move, and at in business terms, it is much more sexy than the Cortana PDA. The move helps to push developers and users away from traditional computing devices, and reduces (and over time removes) the company’s opportunity for massive, volume-driven revenue growth in smaller, more numerous devices.

We think that this is an interesting step, an important step, but one that indicates that Microsoft is really still pursuing its traditional business model – just under a “Cloud-first” halo. Continue reading

Old Jeans & OSes: Microsoft Out-innovated the Market & Why We’re Not Buying Win8

I’d like to offer 900 words on why Windows 8 should not be considered a failure, and why it has shipped “only” 200 million copies to date.

Yes, people and firms are buying PCs at a slower rate than in previous decades, partly because there is more competition – but at the lowest end of devices, meaning tablets and smartphones. Sorry, but those can’t be compared to PCs. We use them for some things that used to require PCs, but they are not PCs, either in terms of complexity or capability. We’re buying fewer PCs because we have other things that do what once could only be done by expensive, complex PCs.

And I agree that Windows 8 was engineered and delivered as a compromise, and that was a big mistake. Microsoft had the right long-term idea – One Windows To Rule Them All – but delivered it years too soon, before either devices or users were ready for it. Continue reading

Microsoft’s Same Old New Direction?

What is Happening?

The advent of a new Microsoft CEO has much of the IT industry wondering aloud about how this will, or should, affect the company’s direction, strategy, and plans.

Most of the speculation and opinion centers on how to “turn around” Microsoft, and how to make Microsoft “relevant” to the overall IT market again, especially to the traditional enterprise IT/software marketplace. Even new CEO Nadella has come out of the gate emphasizing a need to innovate, and to become more of a front-line IT leader.

The underlying theme to most of this conversation is that the company has somehow failed or is failing, is on the precipice of business and/or technological disaster, and must change direction, increase speed, and charge to the front of the pack in order to be considered a leader.

Saugatuck believes that, while Microsoft certainly makes its share of mistakes, and does have some significant challenges to address and overcome, the company is in no danger of losing relevancy or influence, is as innovative as any similarly market-dominating IT provider, and does not need to be “turned around” in order to achieve or maintain its position in a changing IT marketplace. Continue reading