A little more than one week after Convergence, Microsofts big annual user conference that highlights the companys Dynamics brand of ERP and CRM software, Microsoft quietly made some changes in the Business Solutions executive lineup.
Satya Nadella, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, and effectively the leader of the Microsoft Dynamics group that includes the companys four separate enterprise resource planning suites and customer relationship management offering, will be joining the Platform Services Division to lead a new division, the Search and Ad Platform Group. Nadella will transition from his current role in the Business Solutions group by April 19.
The Search and Ad Platform Group, led by Nadella, will concentrate on driving advances in search, commerce and payments infrastructure, as well as evaluating “change-the-playing-field opportunities,” according to a statement from Microsoft officials. Harry Shum, currently the leader of Microsoft Research Asia, has been appointed as the chief scientist of the Search and Ad Platform Group.
Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics, will take over Nadellas role temporarily as she and Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, search for a new leader for the business applications group.
James Utzschneider, general manager of product marketing for the MBS group, said the changes took place several weeks ago, but with the Convergence conference looming the company didnt want to make any quick decisions.
“Jeff Raikes and Tami want to take a step back to figure out leadership,” said Utzschneider, in Redmond, Wash. “One thing that makes us feel confident is collectively we feel that Dynamics is in great shape. There is a strong leadership team and there is great stability.”
The Dynamics group has in fact seen some shakeups over the past year. In September 2005, Doug Burgum, the longtime head of Microsofts business applications group, announced he was leaving the top spot with the Business Solutions group in November 2005 to move to the chairman role.
The search for a new leader began. Burgum came on board when Microsoft purchased his ERP company, Great Plains, in 2001, which had acquired Solomon shortly before that.
The following year Microsoft acquired Navision, which also included Axapta, rounding out its business applications portfolio with four separate ERP suites.
Burgum stayed on with Microsoft to lead the collective Microsoft Business Solutions group, until it was announced in September 2006 that Nadella would replace Burgum, and Burgum would leave the company at the end of 2007.
In the summer of 2006, the Microsoft Business Solutions group transitioned to the Information Worker group. The two teams came together to form the Microsoft Business Division.
Burgum continued to lead the MBS business, reporting to Jeff Raikes, president of the Information Worker Group. Burgum lead the business until Nadella was named as his replacement. Burgum is expected to leave the company June 30.
Utzschneider said Reller and Raikes plan to move relatively quickly to find a replacement for Nadella, “but were not giving any sort of timeline,” he said. In the meantime, the Dynamics group will move forward with its product release schedule over the next several months: Great Plains 10 and SL 7 (Solomon) are on track for a June release; and NAV 5 will be out of the gate in March.