How will a new reorg at Microsoft affect IT?
Microsoft has been trying to reinvent itself for a few years in an effort to catch up to the market that grew up all around it because of its reluctance to change. Like any large industry leader, moving swiftly is not a strength. And, once a large organization gets comfortable with their position in the market, they prefer to sit back and survey their empire which causes them to forget what got them there in the first place. Microsoft is a good example of this, but there are other cases like Dell and Intel. When proliferation reaches critical mass, innovation decreases, technology becomes stagnate, and opens the door for a new champ.
Part of Microsoft's effort to reinvent itself has been through reorganization. Almost every quarter-end for the last couple years has been met with a shift in product group personnel and executives. During this time period I've seen a lot of good friends move to different positions. Some of them moved into areas completely different than where they spent the majority of their tenancy at Microsoft. And, still others left to take jobs outside of Microsoft. Some of those came from personal decisions, but a good amount was forced.
Paul Thurrott spent some time piecing together the news on the upcoming reorg along with some thoughts on how things might shake out. You can read it here: More Details Emerge in Coming Massive Reorg at Microsoft. Paul does a great job covering tidbits of news concerning Microsoft, but his primary focus, at times, is targeted more toward the consumer areas like devices and entertainment. As we experience what Microsoft has envisioned for their own future, these areas will likely converge and blur, so it's valuable for IT to understand the shifts that are coming in all areas at Microsoft.
However, it's also important to sum up news of a reorg as it relates directly to IT now. A lot of IT Pros probably consider news of a Microsoft reorg to have very little to do with the fundamentals of their daily tasks. But, that's not entirely true. As Paul stated in his article, Satya Nadella will probably be an instrumental chief after the reorg, providing executive management over the services division. Satya has been with Microsoft since 1992, but in 2011 was named the president of the Server and Tools division, which includes System Center.
We already know that Microsoft is undertaking a massive Cloud movement, developing a mirrored image of on-premise capability in Windows Azure, and we know that Microsoft announced the "Cloud-First" development strategy at TechEd 2013 North America, but with another new reorg coming, and a hardened focus on devices and services, there could be many shifts for IT to watch out for.
Some of those that come to mind are:
- Licensing– With every new reorg there has been accompanying changes in how on-premise and Cloud services are licensed. Watch for changes over the next six months to make Windows Azure even more appealing by making it cheaper to use and maintain than on-premise solutions. Yes, this whole PRISM thing has a lot of companies drawing back like they just stepped on a rattlesnake, but if the price is right…
- Cloud devices– To me, this is one area that Microsoft could take a stab at. At TechEd 2013 North America there were many Expo vendors who had put together turnkey Cloud solutions using their own hardware but software from Microsoft. Microsoft's foray into building their own tablets (Microsoft Surface) is allowing them to cut their teeth in an industry for which they are infants. Microsoft matures quickly. The ability to purchase equipment, plug it in, and be up-and-running in 15 minutes or less is appealing for a lot of customers. Who knows? Maybe we'll see something along the lines of an Xbox-like Cloud device. It could happen.
- A renewed Public Cloud push– We've known for a long time that Microsoft's ultimate goal is to become the utility company for the Cloud. This goal is not going to change, only become more prominent with every internal reorg. And, while Microsoft is doing extremely well promoting the Hybrid Cloud as a business alternative, this is just a stop-gap measure to ensure that customers become comfortable with utilizing a Public Cloud by being able to automate offloading (outsourcing) technology workloads.
It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out, but don't think for a minute that the reorg will not affect at least some area of IT in the near term. What do you think will happen due to the upcoming reorg? Do you care?