When big companies struggle there’s a temptation to think a restructure will fix things. If nothing else it makes it look as if managers are in control.
Microsoft’s pending restructure is unlikely to change much. The software company can’t be fixed until CEO Steve Ballmer leaves.
The problem isn’t whether Ballmer can repair things. He may or may not. That’s irrelevant. So is the good — or bad — work he has done in the past. None of that matters.
Perception is everything. People outside of Microsoft see Ballmer as the problem not the answer.
Last year the company went through huge changes. A new Windows, new Office, a fabulous smartphone operating system and entry into the device business. Despite all the positives, Microsoft still looks like a has been.
The best way to change that would be to put a new face at the top of the company and let some fresh air sweep through the corridors.
Much of the talk about business moving to the cloud is hype says Gartner.
However, the shift has begun and most will be working there in a decade.
Gartner says only 50 million big-company cloud office users work with services like Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 now. That sounds a lot, but it is just eight percent of the worldwide market.
The research company said the big shift will start in early 2015 and that by 2017 a third of those workers will be cloud-based. In 2022 that will reach 60 percent.
You’ve got to ask yourself how Gartner reached these numbers. It’s easy enough to measure what people are doing today – just look at software licence sales. Getting numbers for the next couple of years isn’t hard, ask people about their intentions.
But predicting numbers for almost a decade out? Surely that depends on software company plans as much as anything.
Oracle announces its fourth-quarter revenue on June 20. One thing I’ll be looking out for is the company’s performance in hardware sales.
Four years have passed since Oracle paid US$7.4 billion to buy Sun Microsystems. The goal was to become a leader in the high-end server business – the company calls them “Engineered Systems”. That’s code for an expensive box loaded with Oracle database and applications.
To date. the strategy hasn’t worked. Sales have not been strong.
The company’s hardware revenue dropped 18 percent in 2012. Market share fell from just over five percent to a whisker over four percent.
Perhaps the biggest admission of defeat – although no-one in the company would dare admit it – is the worldwide server alliance formed with Dell.
Company boss Larry Ellison continues to tell the world the Sun Microsystems acquisition was strategic and profitable. Maybe there are people who believe that. The simple truth is the world is moving to new computing models built around the cloud and those clouds don’t run on Sun kit.
It would be easy to dismiss cloud computing as the latest fad used by technology companies to flog their products. They told us it is ‘revolutionary’, ‘a game changer’ and ‘a paradigm shift’. All the cliches.
We’ve heard those hype-laden clichés over and over again. No wonder we’re not in a hurry to listen.
And yet, the cloud is new and special. This was obvious five or six years ago when personal cloud products and services first appeared.
Now it is mainstream. Microsoft recently underlined this wrapping its SkyDrive cloud service into Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the latest version of Microsoft Office.
Cloud computing changes work habits
Cloud computing has changed the way we work. I use it every single working day, storing and backing-up work documents on cloud servers. I barely run any desktop productivity applications anymore. There’s no need. All my important data is there for me so long as I can get a mobile data connection or a wi-fi signal.
Cloud requires new ways of thinking. I was wondering how I could explain this to a non-technical business audience in a story I was writing.
It is usually best for a journalist like me to find an authoritative source to quote instead of acting like I’m the one carrying tablets of stone down from the mountain. I came across Ben Kepes post-Cloud isn’t just a gimmick.
Kepes is a cloud entrepreneur and describes himself as a technology evangelist, so he isn’t entirely independent, but he is right when he says cloud is more than an evolution of what has gone before. Kepes is also right when he says cloud computing combines technology, business and delivery mechanisms.
In the end, I didn’t need to find a quote – the story went in a different direction – but Kepes’ post is worth sharing.