Microsoft TechNet_Live, an event for IT Professionals and Technical Decision Makers, is held on October 8th in the World Forum Conference Centre, The Hague (Netherlands).
During the Microsoft TechNet_Live Event Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 are launched for the business market in The Netherlands.
The session that I personally was most excited about is the keynote “Join the New Efficiency” from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
1. IT More Critical Than Ever
Steve Ballmer start his presentation with a short description of the Microsoft (software) Ecosystem that Microsoft has created, how the software ecosystem directly relates to Innovation in IT, and indirectly relates to Economic Growth as well.
A visualization of this model can be seen at the right side of the slide. Steve Ballmer emphasizes that the software ecosystem and new developments in IT are the main motor of Economic Growth. Steve Ballmer describes the impact of the Microsoft Ecosystem in the Netherlands in terms of hard numbers: for example jobs, revenues, new business opportunities and even as percentage of the GDP.
Ballmer’s conclusion is certainly valid, the Microsoft Ecosystem impacts society and the economic system, even though in the times of economic crisis right now.
2. Our Vision: seamless experiences accross your life
The second slide in the presentation covers the Microsoft vision and to some extent the overall Microsoft strategy which directs the different Microsoft business units, product groups and even projects.
Steve Ballmer describes the three screens and a cloud as a “fundamental shift in the computing paradigm” in the exclusive interview with Michael Arrington, Editor from TechCrunch.com.
At first I’m very happy that Windows Phones have become one of the pillars of this vision, but perhaps the most important part on this slide is the natural user interface accross the three screens.
I would like to eleborate a little on this topic with help of Microsoft Live Mesh, which connects (mainly) Windows PC, Windows Phone and the Web. On all these different environments I can access the same information in a similar Windows Live Mesh experience and keep my data synchronized, anytime anywhere.
3. The New Efficiency
From the first two slides about the economic situation, the Microsoft ecosystem and the Microsoft vision we move forward in “the funnel” of this presentation to the central theme of TechNet_Live: “The New Efficiency”.
Steve Ballmer explains what The New Efficiency is about, and in simple words it is: “with less … do more“. I really like the simplicity of this concept but in business practice it might not be as simple as it sounds. This new efficiency can be divided in three parts:
- Cost savings, pull cost out of (daily) operations;
- Productivity, get more out of your people and organization;
- Innovation, capture and create new revenue;
While business in general start with cost savings, especially in the current economic situation, most companies go partly after the productivity topic as well. However with the full focus and direction of resources on cost savings and productivity companies often seem to forget investing in innovation, in order to create new revenue streams.
Remark the cognitive distribution of managerial- and entrepreneurial thinking from Saras Sarasvathy, Associate Professor at the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia.
4. Software for the new efficiency
Steve Ballmer explained in the previous slide what this “new efficiency” encloses, and it probably is not a big surprise that there is Microsoft software to support the “new efficiency”. Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 are launched for business market during the Microsoft TechNet_Live Event, and form the central themes around which the technical tracks are organized.
4.1 Windows 7
The first software title that can significantly deliver new efficiency to a company and its workforce is the new upcoming Microsoft operating system Windows 7, which is more robust, delivers more performance and is widely and better compatible with accessoiries and periphical devices.
Early september I have published a review of Windows 7 RC (build 7100) on www.mobilityminded.com, and I concluded that Microsoft delivered a well thought out operating system. A lot of attention is spend on productivity- and efficiency improvements (for example jumplists and the improved taskbar). The result however is a completely redesigned and optimized Windows 7, and I’m not just talking about the GUI.
However for a company there are more important aspects to the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. At first it needs to be robust and secure, while the security management needs to be simple and efficient as well. A great example of this reasoning is the Bitlocker Drive Encryption software, which is part of the Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate operating system (and helpful for every end-user).
Another important aspect is the workstation management, or the available deployment tools to migrate the whole workstation infrastructure from Windows XP to Windows 7.
4.2 Windows Server 2008 R2
On the Windows Server 2008 R2 website you can read the following product description (while I have highlighted the productivity and efficiency related features):
“Windows Server 2008 R2 builds on the award-winning foundation of Windows Server 2008, expanding existing technology and adding new features to enable organizations to increase the reliability and flexibility of their server infrastructures. New virtualization tools, Web resources, management enhancements, and exciting Windows 7 integration help save time, reduce costs, and provide a platform for a dynamic and efficiently managed data center. Powerful tools such as Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.5, updated Server Manager and Hyper-V platforms and Windows PowerShell version 2.0 combine to give customers greater control, increased efficiency, and the ability to react to front-line business needs faster than ever before.”
I must admit that I don’t have the expertise to technically make a judgement on the Windows Server 2008 R2 product, however from the description I can conclude that quite an amount of innovation is included in this server product.
A reliable backbone of your company’s IT infrastructure starts here with Windows Server 2008 R2, the cornerstone in your organization.
4.3 Exchange Server 2010
The third product which is launched at the TechNet_Live event is Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and we can read the following description on the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 product information website:
“Microsoft Exchange 2010 is the latest version of Microsoft’s premier enterprise messaging and collaboration solution, and the cornerstone of Microsoft’s vision for unified communications. Exchange 2010 helps you achieve new levels of reliability and performance with the widest range of deployment options, the richest user experience, and integrated information leakage protection and compliance capabilities.”
In July this year I analyzed a video on www.mobilityminded.com of Adam Glick, Senior Technical Product Manager in the Unified Communications Team, in which he explains the Exchange 2010 updates for Windows Mobile.
Not only the productivity and efficiency improvements in Exchange Server 2010 for Windows Mobile are discussed, but also the management and control aspects for IT Professionals.
5. Windows 7 Early Adopters Seeing Value
While all these technical features really sound nice, in the end efficiency related discussions come down to the hard financial numbers. As essential part of the presentation is a “Total Cost of Ownership (TOC)” study at Getronics -a KPN Company- in the Netherlands. But there are also various Windows 7 roll out projects currently going on with Microsoft partners and TechNet (first wave) sponsors like for example Wortell.
The results of this TOC study show that an amount of € 77,– per workstation per year on direct IT cost savings can be achieved. Remarkable in these results is the contribution of power savings with € 13,– per workstation per year. The bottomline is that you don’t need to hold a PhD in Mathematics or Economics to do the calculations on direct IT cost savings.
In addition I would like to remark a slogan we have seen before: “the new efficiency: with less … do more“. In this particular example Windows 7 saves customers’ money and drives productivity and atisfaction.
6. Bright Future for IT
Steve Ballmer concludes the presentation with a birght future for IT. At first we have seen that IT is a vital growth engine, not only does it drive economic growth but as we have seen at the start the Microsoft Ecosystem drives innovation as well.
Furthermore Steve Ballmer emphasizes that there are opportunities for a bigger more strategic impact f IT (especially in the current economic- and financial situation), while at the same time IT and Microsoft is being challenged on high flexibility to meet end users needs.
7. Question and Answer session
In addition to the more than excellent presentation of Steve Ballmer, as outlined and discussed in the sections above, time has been scheduled for an impressive roughly 20 minute lasting Q&A session. Both the press who attended the keynote as well as IT Professionals from “everyday” pratice engaged in a very interactive, lively and open session / discussion.
Some examples of the topics discussed are:
Ongoing support for Windows XP;
Top reasons to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7;
How does Windows 7 help Steve Ballmer (and the Ballmer family :)) ?
At first I can only conclude that my excitement prior to the keynote was easonably valid!! I was fortunate to have a front row seat, literally I was 1 m. (!!!) away from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and honestly you can feel the energy and “power” during the presentation.
Second I really liked the framework of the presentation, with the start at a general economic- and ecosystem-level and move forward in the funnel narrowing down to a more product-level and an outlook for the future. Furthermore the total cost of owernership study of Getronics combines theory and pratice in a clever way, and really shows direct measurable benefits.
Finally the Q&A session was impressive both in terms of scheduled time and quality of discussion & quality of questions. Steve Ballmer really amazed me even more during this session, because he listenes really well to the proposed question or case and is able to transform -a sometimes technical question- into a perfect understandable (and reasonable) answer.
I want to wrap-up with thanking Microsoft and the TechNet_Live organizers for the perfect organization of both the keynote and the overall event. And Steve Ballmer thank you for the amazing keynote, I was honored to see “the employee since 1980” perform live on stage and be at such a close distance !!