Microsoft’s Year End – A Look Back
While in the rest of the world June 30th signifies the middle of the calendar year, it actually represents Microsoft’s fiscal year end. And that usually means lots of business dealings in the Microsoft Dynamics world as customers take advantage of Microsoft’s and its partners’ desire to close the year strong (with software promotions!) But from a technology standpoint, it also gives us the opportunity to reflect back on the previous year to see what we and Microsoft have accomplished together to provide the best tools to enable companies and organizations to dramatically improve their profitability and efficiency.
Information Technology is advancing in so many different directions simultaneously, and Microsoft is doing its best to stay on top of so many of these trends, sometimes to a fault (as I’ve been known to express to my Microsoft executive friends). But there are four areas of progress I would like to highlight that impact businesses and organizations the most.
Advancing Business Applications to the Next Level – Microsoft continues to invest impressively into their ERP and CRM applications. They are demonstrating that they are primarily a technology company as opposed to a marketing company (unlike some of their chief competitors). Microsoft CRM is integrating intra-company communications, social media, and advanced marketing capabilities into its software at a very rapid pace. The ERP applications continue to advance and improve, especially Dynamics AX. They seem well on their way to accomplishing with business applications what they have successfully accomplished in so many arenas before—creating more powerful, intuitive products than the competition at a fraction of the price. And delivery of these applications through the cloud is improving dramatically.
Cloud-based Solutions – Which brings me to the second topic: the biggest software company in the world evolving into a services company. Office 365 has gained amazing momentum this year, and that has spearheaded their initiatives to deliver a great deal of what used to be locally installed software via the cloud instead. Windows 8, while viewed by many analysts and much of the public as just an upgrade to Windows 7, is really part of this transition to a world where a majority of IT solutions are delivered through the cloud.
Social Media Multipliers – I use this term because social media is, without a doubt, multiplying our business capabilities and productivity more than any single IT trend right now. Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer will enhance intra-company communications the way that Facebook and LinkedIn has for social communities worldwide. And their acquisition of Netbreeze along with its ability to monitor and analyze social media will provide to Microsoft customers the ability to engage with their business communities more broadly than ever.
Video, Voice and Text Communications – Lync is already revolutionizing telecommunications for businesses, while Skype is doing the same among individuals. Skype is the logical replacement for MSN Messenger, enhancing the interpersonal communication experience enormously. And of course Windows Phone 8 and the Surface were released this past year and are pushing the boundaries of both smartphone technology and tablet computing, while gaining market share for Microsoft in these areas at a very rapid pace.
Overall it’s been a great year to be a Microsoft partner and we look forward to another 12 months of partnering with Microsoft to provide greatly expanded technology capabilities to the planet.