How early on do you get involved? When do you see the products? As early as possible. We will typically start running products like this a year and a half before release. Ill give you a couple of examples. On SQL Server weve been running our SAP systemwe have one instance of SAP that does financials, payroll, benefits, management accounting, all of that worldwide, and weve been running that on SQL Server 2005 in production since August of last year. And we had smaller applications on SQL Server 2005 earlier than that.And you use the Team System? Yes. Actually, to tell you the truth, Team System is the area thats probably having the most benefits, because of the compliance pieces. Thats been the most dramatic change for us. Whom do you go to for support for these products, the product teams or elsewhere? While were in beta we go to the product teams. In fact they work super closely with us because any issue we find they want to make sure it gets into their next build as quickly as possible. Once the product goes to general release, then we go through the normal support channelswe go through our customer support service just like any other customer would. So youre like an additional part of the development process early on? Yes. In fact I look at my organization as being an extension of the product teams. Before a product ships I have to sign off on that product saying that we run our business on it. So we wont ship an enterprise product unless were running Microsoft on it and I sign off on the fact that we are. How big is your organization? We have about 2,000 employees and another 2,000 vendors. Vendors would be where we outsourcelike we outsource our call center, and we outsource some of our application development. Have you tested Longhorn or Office 12? Are you working on those? Will Longhorn really ship in 2006? Read more here. Yes, were working on that as well. So one of the things there in this stage, just like we did with Visual Studio and SQL Server, we sit down with the product teams and we sign up for shared goals before we start testing the products. And we track those shared goals throughout the process, and then before that product can release that product needs to meet all of those shared goals. So with Office 12 and Longhorn were defining what those shared goals are. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Visual Studio as a dev platform has been our standard now since the beginning of the calendar year. All new development is being done on Visual Studio 2005.