Tag Archives: Microsoft

 First Take: Dreamforce and the Continuous Change of Business IT

As we wrap up one week of travel and client work and head to the next, we’d like to offer up our first-take thoughts on Salesforce’s just-concluded Dreamforce event in San Francisco. Two things stand out for now:

Microsoft. Salesforce made it abundantly clear not only that it is partnered with Microsoft, and that the partnership is core to Salesforce’s future. By one count, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff mentioned “Microsoft” more than 20 times in his keynote. More concretely, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella used the event to unveil the new integration of its Cortana Analytics Suite into Salesforce, highlighting Cortana’s natural-language voice search, predictive analytics, and associated Salesforce / SalesCloud app-friendly dashboards. Microsoft and Salesforce leaders also talked up a deeper partnership that is meant to lead to integrations of a bevy of MSFT business apps, including Skype for Business, OneNote, and the Office Delve and Office Graph offerings with Salesforce’s Cloud platforms and associated apps.

Obviously, talk is cheaper than action, especially when it comes to strategic vendor partnerships. Driving meaningful revenue is the only real yardstick. But given how these two firms still compete head-to-head in CRM and related business management software markets, the talk more than likely signifies an expanded / expanding relationship that frankly, is likely to benefit Salesforce more than Microsoft. Both firms are strong in mid-sized and smaller firms, and Microsoft should benefit in both through the Salesforce connection. But Microsoft can be one powerful key that helps unlock more large-enterprise doors for Salesforce.

Data and Things. Salesforce announced the release of its new “IoT Cloud,” which is being positioned as a platform and set of capabilities linking and enabling access to data from most types of Internet-connected devices. Data from social media services, Continue reading  First Take: Dreamforce and the Continuous Change of Business IT

Are Smart Watches a Viable Enterprise App Platform?

Smartwatches are all the rage, with recent announcements and deliveries from Apple, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and others. Android Wear celebrates its first anniversary, and the Apple Watch reaches U.S. retail outlets for the first time next week. Saugatuck expects smartwatches to deliver notifications and alerts, and even track our steps. But their use in enterprise settings is less obvious.  Continue reading Are Smart Watches a Viable Enterprise App Platform?

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

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 Five Surprising Findings About DevOps

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

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 2014 Cloud Business Summit – The Journey to Digital Business

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 Microsoft’s “One Windows” Strategy

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 Memo to Satya Nadella as Microsoft Shifts Its Core  

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 Strategizes on the Boundary-free Digital Business Shift

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 Microsoft Build, Free Windows, and Strategy