Mike Ehrenberg, CTO for Microsoft Business Solutions was describing his new CEO Satya Nadella’s management style – the senior leadership team meets twice a week. “It plays havoc with planning international trips, but allows us to iterate rapidly as a company”
Kirill Tatarinov, EVP of the Business Solutions group says they have moved from Steve Ballmer’s “hub and spoke” management style to much more of a “connected tissue”. It’s allowing Microsoft to evolve to a “single P&L”
Sidebar conversations during the Fall Analyst Event this week showcased the evolution of “One Microsoft” that I had described here. I like to write about Polymaths and Microsoft is a formidable one with competencies in
- Operating Systems
- High Value Apps
- Cloud Services
- Machine Learning
- Natural UI
- Consumer/Enterprise (comfort with both)
Of course, analysts like to carve the market into neat acronyms, and most customers still buy discrete pieces of technology, so the event mostly showcased Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM customers and product evolutions. In a q&a, Satya invited us to keep reminding Microsoft about the broader opportunity and under non-disclosure we heard of newer examples similar to Delta where Microsoft had pulled together retail, mobile, cloud technologies to deliver their in-flight POS
What was nice was even the ERP/CRM customers who presented during the event reflect a “New Age” economy:
- Trupanion– provides pet insurance and their actuaries use Big Data to price premiums by breed, age etc. I hope to profile them on New Florence after a call with one of their data scientists
- KEXP – a non-profit radio station in Seattle which invites new bands to perform live (an impressive list including Nirvana and Death Cab for Cutie to Shovels & Rope and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) talked about how Youtube has expanded their audience and funding sources beyond just the local market.
- True Blue – a temp agency described how texting and other mobile technology is reshaping blue collar work assignments
- Microsoft Retail – described point of sale and other innovations they have pioneered in over a hundred stores and how that feedback has helped evolve omni-channel industry features in Dynamics
- Carrefour –the grocery/retail industry is evolving with same day delivery and a new set of tech savvy competitors
Another changing marketplace is that of IT services. Microsoft showcased a spectrum of 6 partners ranging from $ 28 million in revenues PowerObjects to ABeam Consulting ( a SAP SI strong across Asia which is doing two-tier Microsoft projects) to $ 100 billion revenue-strong IBM.
Microsoft has invested significantly in lifecycle management tools around its applications and it was interesting to see the enthusiastic attitude about these tools from the smaller partners compared to that of the bigger ones.
Microsoft sells Office and other tools to white collar workforces but it has also seen massive scale efficiencies from machine learning and cloud infrastructures. Satya responded to my question saying he wants customers to “become software companies” by creating unique, differentiating code and reducing labor needed for back office functions.
That is the another major opportunity and challenge for Microsoft: to prevent a repeat of what bigger SIs and offshore firms did in creating a massive labor intensive economy in spite of SAP’s ASAP , Solution Manager and other tools and methods.
All in all, an invigorating couple of days on the shores of Lake Washington. As a dog lover, I particularly liked the Woodmark Hotel’s resident pets and Trupanion bringing two canine panelists to their session.
I hope to profile some of the newer “One Microsoft” customer examples on New Florence as soon as the non-disclosure embargo is removed.