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Microsoft's key historic and current spring board into the business is the PC at the operating system level, had Microsoft stopped there it would not be the company it is today. The key engine and argueably more important piece of software is the MS Office suite. With these products they have embedded themselves into the majority of all world wide businesses.

What has then transpired and made Microsoft even more powerful in the enterprise are the management tools that have been build to service, manage and maintain these software assets (SMS  and now SCCM) which is critical for the enterprise in deploying IT assets in an enterprise. This whole approach may now be changing with the crash of Consumer IT into the Enterprise. The Enterprise in 3-4 years time may not be responsible to the devices that people use in the workplace and in fact in our own department we are seeing a huge number (100% increase) of personal devices being used by the employees. However until the Enterprise is able to rebuild it architecture and protect its data the Windows operating system remains very prominent in the Enterprise culture.

If MS can hold on to the Enterprise culture the next leverage area and Microsoft's biggest earner is the Office suite, this has remained as the key productivity tool in an Enterprise for the last 10 years. Moving deeper into the Enterprise comes the Email server which even with significant competition has become very dominant. Linking users with their office tools to back-office services yields SharePoint. This is a stroke of brilliance as it utlises tens of thousands of work hours with the Office suite and then adds structure around Content Management, Search , Portals , Collaboration and Analytics. Further into the looking glass we begin to see Databases, programming languages, Middleware and vast range of other servers based applications to the top of the triangle with the Microsoft Dynamics series.

Significant strength of Microsoft starts from the user and then there are significant links to all areas of the Enterprise. Google knows this which is why the initial battle ground is all about the user layer making Apple and Mobility such disruptive technologies in this space and Cloud also a core disruptive layer in this mix.

The Diagram is a reflection on the Microsoft stack. The area that is discounted here is the Windows phone  and the Xbox layer which are parts of Microsoft's greatest opportunities or hidden weapons. At a SAP demo Jam the number of people using the kinect technology was intriguing.

 MS Stack

Strategic directions for Microsoft would be the following:

  1. Ensure at all resort the business layer continues to user the Office products, I personally would price Azure at a level that is a loss leader and get business using office 365 in droves. This will be Microsoft's future base in the next 10 years.
  2. Ensure that people use Office suite in home to such an extent it is virtually free, publish very widely the fact if used at work it can be used in the home and provide students with such attractive offers they think of nothing else
  3. Offset on premise revenue and build a cloud layer for all small and medium companies with special emphasis on the security layer where large companies are happy to have a mixture of data in and off premise
  4. Bring out a keyboard for the Xbox and allow the millions of users to use the Xbox live platform in a way it will take them to Azure and away from Google. This is a huge underused potential that Microsoft has and has not made full use of
  5. Fight the mobility layer with contract and patent lawyers to the nth degree as this is were the war could be lost, note in the press section that 50% of the UK population access the internet layer through a mobile device.
  6. Change the culture in Microsoft, it is self centered and with this attitude it will loose the war and to this day fosters IT professional have an irrational dislike for MS which other than Oracle is not seen towards other large software vendors. This is unfortunate because it is a super giant!



Microsoft's Biggest Gamble