Microsoft re-organisation: From devices to big data, what it means for business

Steve Ballmer has set out a number of priority areas for Microsoft following a major reorganisation of the tech giant to focus on devices and services.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has finally unveiled his long-awaited reorganisation of Microsoft's business units, placing an even greater emphasis on its devices-plus-services strategy and away from product silos.

As my colleague Mary Jo Foley points out: "As expected, there's no separation along consumer/business lines with this new reorg. Microsoft execs are intent on blurring even further the lines between consumer and enterprise with its products and services," and as part of a memo accompanying the reorganisation, Ballmer shed some light on the company's enterprise priorities, which have been rewritten for a new world where the corporate desktop is rapidly being supplanted by (Android and iOS) tablets, smartphones and maybe even wearable devices — all of which are alien territory to Microsoft, and areas it recognises it needs to catch up on fast as PC sales continue on a downward path.

"Our new strategy will put us right at the intersection of the consumerisation of IT and the evolving needs of the enterprise customer," Ballmer said in the memo, and set out seven areas that Microsoft will focus on:

  • Boosting adoption of Microsoft devices and end-user services in enterprise settings. Ballmer said Microsoft would be "embracing consumerisation of IT with the vigor we pursued in the initial adoption of PCs" and said the company's family of devices "must allow people to be more productive, and for them to easily use our devices for work".
  • Information assurance. "This will be an area of critical importance to enterprises," he said, with changes in the security and compliance landscape creating fresh opportunities for the company.
  • IT management. "With more IT delivered as services from the cloud, the function of IT itself will be reimagined," Ballmer said.
  • Big data insight. With businesses' online interactions with their customers accelerating, massive amounts of data is being geneated — and the cloud is now offering the processing power to make sense of it, according to Ballmer: "We are well-positioned to reimagine data platforms for the cloud." But Microsoft is far from being the only player aiming at this market.
  • Customer interaction. CRM also made Microsoft's priority list, with Ballmer noting that organisations today value most activities that help them fully understand their customers' needs, be more responsive, and communicate with them in a more personalised fashion.
  • Software development. Echoing his famous cry of "Developers, Developers, Developers!" Ballmer continued to court coders. "Finally, developers will continue to write the apps and sites that power the world, and integrate to solve individual problems and challenges. We will support them with the simplest turnkey way to build apps, sites and cloud services, easy integration with our products, and innovation for projects of every size," he said.
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