4
Nov

Microsoft looks at the inevitability of big data

Jason Zander, a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft opened his segment of the Keynote presentation for Microsoft’s Tech Ed Europe 2014 with a compelling argument for the inevitability of big data. Zander presented some numbers indicating the global population of smart devices has now surpassed the entire human global population. The number of apps supporting these devices, and their users has also grown in geometric proportion. The result is truly big data — an enormous amount of information about each/every touchpoint for devices, users, and even data itself as they interact.

Zander’s rhetorical argument is yet one more articulation of one of the core planks of Microsoft’s 2014 communications brand — productivity. To sum up this theme, readers are asked to simply consider the impact of the “hundreds and hundreds of petabytes of data we already have” on the notion of what this writer refers to as the “dawn” of “information opacity” aka the Samuel Coleridge phenomenon (“Water, water everywhere, but nary a drop to drink”).

Zander points to cloud, and Microsoft’s Azure as a leading example of it, as the only method of powering all of the data produced by the global interaction of users and smart devices. It’s worth noting his mention of telemetry. There will be more to be said about this category of data, and its relation to the concept of an Internet of Things (IoT) throughout the remainder of the conference.

The presentation then shifts to another core plank of Microsoft’s 2014 communications brand — the slogan, first articulated by its CEO, Satya Nadella, and now re-articulated by each and every other spokesperson (including Zander) “Mobile First, Cloud First”. Zander echoes Nadella’s recent comments on the slogan, and pulls in the scalability plank of the market message. Mobile First, he stresses for his audience, requires ISVs like Microsoft to envision consumers in motion, implementing different devices, at different times, with the objective of accomplishing the same tasks or activities. The only way to satisfy this need for a uniform computing experience is to deliver the same quality across any/all device form factors. Nothing less will do.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

29
Oct

Microsoft’s October 20, 2014 Cloud Briefing includes some fine tuning for its “Mobile First, Cloud First” message

In the first few moments of Satya Nadella’s opening remarks at Microsoft’s Cloud Briefing, October 20, 2014 attendees were treated to a finely tuned presentation of the now familiar “Mobile First, Cloud First” market message. Nadella prefaced his remarks by referring to this brand message as “our world view”. He then defined “mobile first” as “the mobility of the individual experience”. Anyone familiar with Microsoft’s products, and how they have presented their offerings to consumers since they launched as a business in the late 1970s will note how this terse and absolutely to-the-point phrase binds 2014’s market message to the unique themes this mature ISV has articulated throughout its tenure as a business in the public eye.

Windows was first presented to consumers as a uniquely promising method for people to deliver a highly personalized experienced from small computing devices (which, themselves, were called personal computers, (PCs)). Different versions of this same opportunity could be distributed across organizations via the purchase of numbers of PCs. In fact, this purchase cycle occurred, and, now, PCs are ubiquitous.

Now the personal computing experience has evolved into the “individual experience” of Nadella’s opening remarks. His definition of the “mobile” venue for this individual experience provides him an opportunity to demonstrate why Microsoft’s commitment to delivering as consistent a computing experience, as possible, across the set of computing hardware an individual may implement during a typical day of activity, is so important. In turn, the effort to deliver this consistent computing experience from smart phone, to tablet, to desktop computer, to lap top, leverages scale.

By the time the audience digests all of this information, which Nadella communicates in less than 2 minutes of his opening remarks, it is likely clear why the Windows 10 Operating System (which was introduced only a month prior to this event) must be the same OS for each of the form factors we just mentioned.

By the time he mentions “cloud”, the importance of SaaS, and the power it contributes to this effort to deliver a uniform computing experience across the entire range of computing form factors should be clear.

In this writer’s opinion, Nadella’s ease in articulating this message, with authority, will contribute, positively, to enterprise business computing consumers. This is the correct market for Microsoft to pursue. Therefore, it makes sense to monitor, over time, how thoroughly this market assimilates the themes Nadella is presenting.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

2
Sep

MobileIron Promotional Content Depicts a Mobile First World

Perhaps Microsoft’s CEO was not far off when he articulated a new vision of a Mobile First Cloud First world back on March 27, 2014. This writer paid a visit to MobileIron’s website and found very similar themes running through a short promotional video exposed on the site, which provides an overview of the imperatives driving MobileIron solutions.

MobileIron offers a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. This MDM solution has been included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for MDM. Most recently, Tiernan Ray of Barrons reported on analyst comments about MobileIron, which were attributed to Karl Kierstead of Deutsche Bank. According to Ray’s report, the availability of MobileIron, together with Apple’s next release of iOS (iOS 8, rumored to make its debut in September of this year), spells trouble for BlackBerry, and may hasten the pace at which large organizations migrate out of Blackberry’s BES.

A number of posts to this blog have been concerned with BlackBerry’s BES and the enterprise market for MDM solutions.

Readers interested in important technology themes running through the marketing communications efforts of ISVs should make special note of how Nadella first articulated a number of themes now carried forward by Microsoft competitors. Microsoft is a recent entry to the MDM market place via its Enterprise Mobility Suite. Perhaps it makes sense for MobileIron to address the same themes in its video. If nothing else, the reverberations point to the credibility of the points Nadella made back in March of this year.

During its recent IO event for 2014, Google added further credibility to Nadella’s presentation during a segment speaking to productivity. The same claims Nadella made for Microsoft software, and its objective to empower its customers with the most efficient methods of attaining optimum productivity, were made for the Android platform.

The reverberations are not, in and of themselves, particularly important. What is important is how they affirm the relevance of these themes for consumer and business computing in 2014. “Mobile First, Cloud First World” is not only a sophisticated juxtaposition, in rhetoric, of images and the “world”. It should now be considered an accurate portrayal of how consumers and business users accomplish their computing tasks.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

5
Jun

Microsoft Partners with Salesforce.com Adds More SaaS Attraction to Office 365 Cloud, IaaS Offer

Anyone listening to the webcast announcement of a business partnership between Microsoft and Salesforce.com. The webcast was published online on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The comment can be found in Satya Nadella’s presentation of Microsoft’s objective to become a “broad platform provider in this mobile first, cloud first world.” (this quote was transcribed from the webcast announcement) With this comment in mind, perhaps it’s easier to understand some of Microsoft’s recent products.

For example, analysts were caught by surprise at Microsoft’s earlier announcement of the Nokia handset’s intention to produce a smart phone on the Android O/S. A number of these same analysts also questioned the Microsoft Office port for Apple iPad tablet computers. Finally, and with direct reference to the Salesforce.com announcement, an analyst from Citibank looked to Mr. Nadella to clarify the impact this partnership will have on Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers, who also happen to subscribe to Office 365 (IMB Enterprises, Inc. maintains this type of subscription. To date, despite subscribing to both CRM and Office 365, E3 plan services, we are still unable to seamless communicate between the two platforms). Mr. Nadella acknowledged the possibility of direct competition between Salesforce.com Apps and CRM within the Office 365 “realm”.

The consistent theme running through all of these questions is an “either/or” proposition. Either the solution is Windows Phone 8, or Android. Or the solution is Office for the iPad, or Office for the Surface. But no one sees the opportunity to support all of these solutions within the same Microsoft “ecosphere”.

Mr. Nadella’s comment, quoted above, should, hopefully, dispel the confusion. Microsoft, much along the lines of Intel, and its decision to open its foundries to anyone looking to build chips in a state of the art set of facilities, is opening its ecosystem, which encompasses more than 1 billion Windows users, etc. to competitive solutions. The only caveat? They must be willing to operate over one of Microsoft’s “broad platforms”: Office 365, Azure, even Office.

Perhaps with this “and” logic in mind, analysts can see the enormous gains Microsoft stands to realize as it expands the range of popular solutions running over its IaaS solutions. The Salesforce.com partnership is a brilliant achievement (they were once a direct competitor). It will be interesting to note the outcome for Microsoft as the partnership rolls out.

Disclaimer: I’m long Microsoft and have no position in Salesforce.com

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved