Microsoft realigns its cloud, AI, data organizations

Microsoft is moving a number of its cloud, AI and data leaders and their reports in the name of better alignment and speedier service and product delivery. Here's what's changing.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is consolidating and realigning some of its cloud, artificial intelligence and data platform business units as part of internal reorganizations announced internally on June 7.


Scott Guthrie, the Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, and Harry Shum, head of Microsoft's recently created AI + Research unit, announced internally a number of organizational changes today, most of which are effective immediately, according to sources.

Guthrie is creating a new Cloud AI Platform organization, to be led by Corporate Vice President Joseph Sirosh and which will report directly to Shum. The new Cloud + AI Platform organization will oversee Azure Search, Azure Machine Learning, the Microsoft Bot Framework, R Server and the Algorithms and Data Science Solution team.

Sirosh had been running the Data Platform group at Microsoft, and oversaw the data and machine-learning products and services in the Cloud & Enterprise division, including SQL Server, HDInsight, Azure Data Lake, Document DB/Cosmos DB, Search, the Cortana Intelligence suite, The SQL Server and other database and data-management parts of Sirosh's current responsibilities will be moving to Corporate Vice President of Azure, Jason Zander, and be part of a new Azure + Data Platform Group which Zander will run and which will continue to report to Guthrie.

James Phillips, who currently heads up Microsoft's Business Applications Platform and Intelligence (BAPI) is going to be adding "Customer Engagement Solutions" (a k a Dynamics CRM) to his responsibilities in his role as head of a new Business Applications Group. Corporate Vice President Phillips already oversaw the Power BI, Dynamics ERP family of products, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, the Azure Portal and SQL Server Reporting and Analysis service.

Jujhar Singh, who had been heading Dynamics Customer Engagement Solutions, will be moving to a new, unspecified role inside Microsoft, sources said. He will stay in his current Corporate Vice President role for two more months to help ensure the current Dynamics CRM release stays on track for public preview.

Charlotte Yarkoni, Corporate Vice Presient of Azure Growth + Ecosystems, is going to be adding Azure Marketplace and AppSource to her current list of responsibilities. Yarkoni currently is focused on getting more developers, enterprises, ISVs and other partners to go Azure.

Microsoft's Developer Evangelism (DX) team is undergoing a number of organizational changes, as well. Former DX chief Steven Guggenheimer announced on May 12 he was moving to a new role working for Shum. He said at that time a number of other Microsoft execs would be "onboard(ing) the teams that previously comprised DX," which makes it sound as if DX is being disbanded completely.

Yarkoni is one of the execs Guggenheimer mentioned as onboarding the DX team members. Ron Huddleston, the Corporate Vice President in charge of Microsoft's recently created One Commercial Partner org and Technical Fellow John Shewchuk are also going to be onboarding more former DX members, Guggenheimer said in his blog post.

I'm hearing from my sources that layoffs are not likely -- at least in the near term -- as a result of these organizational changes. Microsoft officials declined to comment on what's happening with DX beyond what was said in Guggenheimer's blog post. Officials also declined to comment on the Cloud + Enterprise and AI + Research changes I hear were announced today.

On the topic of data and cloud, Microsoft is hosting its Data Insights Summit in Seattle next week and will be live streaming the keynotes and some sessions on June 12 and 13.

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