Microsoft: IT Still Has Strategic Role

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

In his TechEd keynote, Microsoft VP Paul Flessner will be pushing the message that IT remains a core strategic asset for businesses.

DALLAS—When Paul Flessner, senior vice president of Microsoft Corp.s Windows Server division, takes the stage Monday morning to give the keynote address to the 9,000-plus attendees at the Microsoft TechEd conference here, he will be pushing the message that IT remains a core strategic asset for businesses. In an interview before his address, Flessner said there has been some concern about whether IT has come to the end of its cycle of innovation and questions were being asked as to whether it should simply be managed as a cost. "We plan to continue to move the industry forward with the help of IT professionals from around the world. The blanket statement that IT is commoditized and no longer offers a strategic or competitive advantage is simply nonsense," he said.
IT remains about providing services, information, business process, connectivity and a range of other things that used together provide a competitive advantage for companies of all sizes. IT professionals remain core to that value proposition, whether they are managing or developing for that infrastructure, he said.
"But our perspective is that just because there is a lot of complexity in the world today, both in IT and business, we shouldnt throw up our hands and say its too hard and think about outsourcing or say its now a commodity." Microsoft has been pushing the theme of IT as a business asset, with Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates recently telling more than 100 business leaders from around the world that IT departments are having a hard time determining how much they should invest in new technologies to help their information workers do their jobs effectively. "High volume commodity hardware has hit its stride in terms of putting the proprietary vendors on the defensive now, and people want to get more leverage out of their technologies. One way to do that is to reduce the cost structure and reinvest that back in the business," he said. Microsoft is telling customers that Web services are the way to get hooked up, both inside the firewall to all the different systems and platforms and to customers and partners through the platform—a message Flessner is going to stress in his keynote. Microsoft believes that it has the best platform for Web services, .Net, while the Windows Server System is a great implementation as a platform for Web services and .Net.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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