In case you missed it, last month a company-wide email sent by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was leaked and published by GeekWire. The ‘leak’ was of course inevitable and probably even desirable for Microsoft. Sending an email to 125,000 employees is not an act based on principles of secrecy.
Inside the email was Mr. Nadella’s new mission statement for Microsoft. What was most striking about the 1,500 vision-piece was the lack of substantial detail. We received more concrete information about the company’s future projects with March’s CRM Roadmap.
Although the statement did include some nuggets of future proposals, there was no central revelation or ‘big reveal’. It was a novel lacking a dénouement. A commitment to diversity and a promise to pay attention to user’s demands by listening in on Microsoft debate platforms was welcomed, but there was no keystone announcement: no new product or service offered.
Reading between the lines
So should we see the letter as a vain PR stunt or see Mr. Nadella as lacking big ideas? Not at all.
If you really want to know about what Mr. Nadella has in store for the future of Microsoft, I suggest that we look at the actions he’s already taken, not the words he has written: words probably only written in a bid to reassure and unite his staff after the biggest jobs-cull in the company’s history saw 18, 000 redundancies over the last 12 months.
One of the biggest hints at what vision Microsoft has of the future, and one especially relevant to Microsoft Dynamics, was the removal of Kirill Tatarinov leader of Microsoft Business Solution. This move allowed Microsoft Dynamics to fall under the direction of Scott Guthrie, who also heads up the Cloud and Enterprise team.
The upshot will no doubt be the continuation of the overwhelming trend we have seen towards the delivery of mobile-first, cloud-enabled functionality into Microsoft’s Dynamics products. Indeed, we see this vaguely referred to in the email as Mr. Nadella mentions reinventing “productivity services for digital work that span all devices”.
The Azure Main
If we go back to this March, we remember the launch of the Azure App service. This is one of the actions which we should look more keenly at in lieu of any substance to the mission statement.
Most fundamentally, Microsoft are aiming to be the ‘best in breed’ in their cloud service, offering mobile accessibility as well as high security to rival Amazon Web Services (AWS). As it stands, AWS has been estimated at driving ten times more revenue than Azure.
Perhaps this information can be used to explain today’s breaking news that Azure is rising its service charge worldwide, including an 11% price rise in the Eurozone.
In addition, Microsoft want to make Azure cost effective for businesses at the entry level, offering their services on a subscription model and winning businesses’ loyalty through a high quality, good value cloud service that they aim to make as futureproof as can be.
Mr. Nadella’s mission statement has been panned by many in the press for its vagueness and appeals to “magical” language of world-transformation. This rings especially true when compared to Bill Gates’ Henry-Ford-esque promise to deliver a computer on every desk. However, if we understand the memo as I suggest, as a rallying call to a workforce who have just seen around 10% of their colleagues shown the door, then we may start to understand the true motives of June’s most discussed email.