What is Microsoft up to over the next year?

What is Microsoft up to over the next year?

You may have noticed I did not offer up an article last week. I was way too busy at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) running around talking to the IT leaders of the Microsoft World and trying to get my head around the range of technology solutions offered.

By now you know that Microsoft has axed 18,000 jobs, largely out of the Nokia team, and that means there will be 18,000 people looking for new jobs. You may also know that Microsoft’s quarterly revenue has reached $23.4 billion, implying that Microsoft could reach an annual turnover of $100 billion with just a little more growth.

Their new chief executive officer Satya Nadella is the man for the job with his quiet but demanding approach to getting things done. Nadella will not bound onto stage like the excitable Steve Ballmer was famous for doing, but he does get things done effectively by demanding people be their best.

With the pace of change we are facing and the number of opportunities around in the technology space these axed 18,000 people will not be unemployed for long. It is not like the automobile manufacturing industry in Australia. IT skills are in demand again as industries seek better productivity in the current IT age.

So what is the big focus for the next year coming out of Redmond in Washington State? The answer is: Mobile technology and more cloud. In fact, the slogan is “Mobile First – Cloud First”. With that, Microsoft is pushing for more tablet, phablet and mobile phone adoption and is asking the partners to drive technology in that direction by developing apps, selling devices and helping businesses solve business problems in new ways using Azure hosted solutions.

Microsoft now has twice the server locations of Amazon and five times the number of sites of Google and they are building out these sites to have as many as 17 physical locations to each site. They claim each site is large enough to park two jumbo jets. The storage and compute power of each of these sites is unimaginable, yet the facilities are doubling in capacity every six to nine months.

Today Microsoft has approximately 600,000 partners globally which was enough to get 15,000 people into a stadium for the keynote presentations. Microsoft claimed that 53,000 of its global partners have already sold cloud solutions. Interestingly, for the size of its population Australia is one of the leaders in cloud adoption – so well done us.

However, it is not time to get complacent as there are still millions of servers running the Windows 2003 server, which will be unsupported in July 2015 leaving us just one year to plan migration projects to new hardware or new cloud solutions. Recently, with the expiry of Windows XP we have seen an increase in PC sales, we can expect to see this grow as we start replacing servers too.

I have been writing for a while about the nexus of forces in IT being the four of Mobility, Social, Big Data and Cloud. Microsoft has now added a 5th major focus to its efforts: Security.

This is hardly surprising with the constant revelations of another system that has been hacked or private information leaked. Microsoft has not had any serious issues but they are keen to make sure they don’t. So part of the focus for this year and the foreseeable future will be to build more secure systems.

The final message delivered by their new chairman and chief executive Satya Nadella was, “Courage in the face of opportunity”. With the pace of change in our industry accelerating there are opportunities to help people and business in new ways every day. Each of these opportunities we take on as vendors is a risk to our business but he wants us to be brave, back the technology and change the world.

All we need then is more clients ready to invest in a better way to do business. Are you ready?

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?


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