Changes at Microsoft - The Microsoft Dynamics Future (in the cloud)!
What was the greatest news for Jun 2015 to me, well professionally it was the changes made at the top of the ladder at Microsoft. Being associated with Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem for last 10 yrs., I have started to probably have an attachment to these products and ecosystem as a whole. From Microsoft Dynamics AX to CRM to NAV, I have been associated for a long time in various roles ranging from delivery to sales, and any change in this ecosystem, really makes me "excited".
Departure of Kirill Tatarinov from Microsoft Dynamics business looked like a knock from the hell at first sight. The person has focused a lot on this space, made this to a 2 Billion USD business, built a great team around the ecosystem, connected well with partners and above all managed to connect with other uniting Microsoft to take these products to the cloud and be available on multiple devices and browsers.
Is this departure a sign of change at Microsoft where they might be looking at doing away with this enterprise packages business, which they in any case purchased more than a decade back? With Satya getting cozy with all other enterprise players, this could be a possibility (read O365 foray, Office for iPad, etc.)!
However, as I mulled over this news, I soon realized that probably this is a change for better. If you read the internal memo that Satya sent to all Microsoft employees, few paragraphs (and I must say, very carefully worded) stand out.
The subject "Aligning Our Strategy & Structure" - today this is the need of the hour. Many organizations are creating roles today to match number of leaders, rather than looking at reducing the often created silos due to this approach. Satya with this subject itself made it clear that the structure has to be aligned to the strategy for tomorrow. The collateral damage due to this restructuring is inevitable but in long run beneficial.
Another paragraph- "Scott Guthrie will continue to lead the Cloud and Enterprise (C+E) team focused on building the intelligent cloud platform that powers any application on any device. The C+E team will also focus on building high-value infrastructure and business services that are unique to enterprise customers, such as data and analytics products, security and management offerings, and business processes. Today, we are also moving the development teams who build our Dynamics products to C+E, which will enable us to accelerate our ERP and CRM work even further and mainstream them as part of our core engineering and innovation efforts. C+E will work closely with ASG to ensure the end-to-end experience is cohesive across communications, collaboration and business processes." - This is the best part! The dynamics service line was getting in cloud space but due to two different heads for cloud and dynamics, the real synergy was not being exploited. The solutions should be better positioned against competition in this model with integrated teams working on core products and everything around it like analytics, workflows, mobility, etc. besides this working closely with ASG (Applications and Services Group) which will would continue to be run by Qi Lu will help bring more focus on reinventing productivity. This will bring the true digital soul to dynamics as the solutions can now span across people's lives, both professionally and personally. Hence, the products now can get support from best of innovations across the groups.
The paragraph appreciating work done by Kirill and team - "Kirill Tatarinov is going to explore what's next for him. Under Kirill's leadership, the Dynamics business has grown to a nearly $2 billion business with an ambitious wave of products on the horizon. Perhaps most important though, Kirill and team have shown us that participating in a meaningful way in the CRM and ERP market opens up new opportunities we can uniquely take advantage of by bringing Dynamics into Microsoft's mainstream engineering, sales and marketing efforts. I am very thankful for Kirill's unswerving leadership in bringing Dynamics to this point and building a strong leadership team to carry it forward." - This appreciated the work done, removing any doubts from the future of Dynamics as a service line and definitely integrating these products into the mainstream activities. The statement also means that a lot of folks in Dynamics who focus on product would continue to be seen as critical though they may have to expand their product thoughts and roadmap with wider Microsoft strategy. The clients will definitely gain with this wider and more mature focus in Dynamics ecosystem. The partners also need to change and think beyond core dynamics products and instead look at ecosystem offering.
The section highlighting the new roles of the Senior leaders- "Chris Capossela, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (will now also take on responsibility for Dynamics and Education marketing) and Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer (will also now take responsibility for the Dynamics sales and partner organization)" - this means that now the marketing of Dynamics products will be centralized and more effective. At the time of Convergence 2015, I was mulling on the reason behind Satya mentioning that Convergence is no longer a Dynamics event but an enterprise event. This has become much clearer now. The integrated marketing and messaging would be seen increasingly. With the sales and partner organization under the COO, I am sure the partner ecosystem will see changes for good. 'Pure play Dynamics only' small shops may have to enlarge their play to be relevant in the new ecosystem.
No one can think of all that is coming, but I am hopeful that this is a great news for Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and enterprise software market. What do you think???