What does Microsoft's cloud momentum mean for NZ CIOs?

“There is no CIO in the world who looks at Microsoft and says ‘hmm I’m not sure they are ready for the enterprise space’.”

There was a time when Microsoft hid away from innovation, an ageing dinosaur in the new world of technology.

Marooned in darkness as Apple and Google danced on by, the Microsoft of yesterday was in danger of becoming irrelevant.

Fast forward a matter of years and Redmond has changed. Triggered by a change of leadership and culture, Microsoft hasn’t just emerged from the shadows, it’s now shining like a beacon across the world, ripping up the industry on its way to cloud supremacy.

But as the marketing wheels spin from Seattle to Sao Paulo and back, addressing the media in Auckland, John Case, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office reenforced Microsoft’s standing as a changing company, a company aware of past failures but confident of future innovations.

“Office 365 is very central to us reinventing ourselves in the mobile first, cloud first world,” says Case, fresh from revealing that the company’s cloud services portfolio, containing Office 365 and Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) online, will be available from two data centres in Australia by March 31, 2015, Microsoft.

These days, Case admits Microsoft is undergoing a “very public and visible” strategic transformation, as it tries to hammer home consistent messaging about its vision in enterprise for 2015 and beyond.

“We’ve been incredibly consistent about our transformation as a company and as proved over the past two years or so, we’ve made noticeable changes,” he adds. “Because of who we are and how we think about the cloud and productivity, we can differentiate ourselves from the market through the products we sell and the relationships we make with our enterprise customers.”

There was a time however when for Microsoft, differentiation meant behind, different in the sense that the company remained off the pace compared to its competition.

But with 2015 around the corner, and new CEO Satya Nadella settled into his new role, the Microsoft of today is throwing down the gauntlet to its industry rivals, using its cloud services portfolio as the stick to bash Amazon Web Services and those seeking market share.

“There is no CIO in the world who looks at Microsoft and says ‘hmm I’m not sure they are ready for the enterprise space’,” adds Case, who insists that while Nadella’s appointment has helped drive change, the wheels where already in motion under former chief Steve Ballmer.

“We believe Microsoft cloud is different in terms of allowing customers to run data locally in the cloud whether that be public or private. The conversation has changed within enterprise, it’s now a case of not if but when organisation’s move to the cloud.”

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