Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop this weekend delivered a keynote address at the Convergence 2010 conference in Atlanta, Georgia and noted that the future of the software giant is in the cloud. More to the point, after years of investment, Microsoft is starting to deliver a broad range of cloud-based services to customers, and those customers can now reap the rewards in the form of cost savings.

"What we've done \\[in the past\\] is sell software," Elop said in a meeting with press and analysts during the show. "In the cloud world we're still selling that same software but we're also participating in a bigger part of customers' IT budgets. We're going after more of the pot."

Microsoft's move to cloud computing is so pervasive, in fact, that Elop says about 90 percent of the company's engineering efforts will be involved in cloud computing within a couple of years. But moving to the cloud doesn't just mean finding a new way to sell its old solutions. In addition to offering hosted versions of classic Microsoft servers, the software giant is also providing a la carte access to cloud-based computing power, storage, and development platforms via Azure.

Elop described cloud computing as a "generational change" that has created a cloud-based platform that is "greater than the sum of its parts." "The cloud is at the center of a remarkable transition in and around everything we do with technology," he said.

Elop manages the part of Microsoft that is responsible for Microsoft Office, arguably one of the last great bastions of traditionally-delivered software at the company. But his remarks came during a show that is dedicated to its Dynamics CRM and ERP solutions, which are making much quicker transitions to the cloud.