Microsofts vision

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-03-12 Print this article Print

"Part of that is a computer in every home, but part of that relates to the 'people ready business,'" said Ballmer. "As we sit here today we will talk a lot about business processes, what you are trying to do in your business, and what we can do to help. At the end of the day, are we getting more done, more effectively and are my people better able to do their jobs than before? Are we being better and smarter in the supply chain and with work processes? That's what brings us here today."

Ballmer pointed out that as a global business with various product lines, Microsoft empathizes with what's going on in businesses today-globalization, a complicated supply chain, more M&A, and an increasing scope of compliance obligations. The best way for companies to deal with those challenges, according to Ballmer, is through software that enables people to work effectively through a number of delivery channels-and that means Software Plus Services, in Microsoft's parlance.

Another aspect of enabling the workforce, in Microsoft's point of view, is providing roles-based user interfaces at the application level. The other is in integrating Dynamics applications with the rest of Microsoft's stack to enable collaboration and information sharing; utilizing environments users are comfortable and familiar with, like Office, Word and Excel. Ballmer talked about providing a bridge to connect business applications with personal computing.

"How do you let people collaborate in a way that interfaces to their line of business? How do you pull an invoice out of the system, e-mail it around, annotate it, collaborate on it and put it back in the system? All this lives in the space between productivity and the apps platform," said Ballmer. "We think adding value in the white space from a business point of view - or Office and SharePoint - is the biggest value add we can bring."

However, before Microsoft can tap the tremendous potential of bringing its Dynamics line of applications together with the rest of its technology stack, it's got to get its act together with the Dynamics business, analysts say.

"The constant revolving door at the top of Dynamics has called into question their commitment to the kind of continuity you need to make a business viable," said Joshua Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting.

"Microsoft continues to make efforts to show how viable [Dynamics] is, but it's hard to imagine. How would you run any other business if you kept changing the CEO every six months?"


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