As stated frequently the past couple of years, the IT landscape is shifting rapidly, with hosted platforms and services driving a tectonic shift in how enterprises structure their IT operations and how IT budgets are adjusted. I lost count of how many people I spoke with at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2015 in Orlando that compared the current cloud revolution to that of the server-client revolution that occurred in IT around 20 years ago. With each of these major eras in IT, there genuinely seems to be a drive towards democratization of resources and compute power that opens up new capabilities. Capabilities previously limited to only the super-large-budget corporations (or not previously possible at all). It’s an exciting time, and this year’s announcements from Microsoft (some of which I detailed in my previous blog post) are indicative of how much is really being disrupted and transforming how all businesses will utilize their IT assets going forward.
The user experience within all of the new and upcoming technologies I mentioned in my previous blog entry seems to be something that Microsoft is focusing on fairly heavily going forward. While the most recent evolutionary disruption in IT for end users began with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), now the landscape is shifting further, to the extent that (at least on the Microsoft platforms side of the world) end users will not only utilize the same devices for work life and personal life, but also have experiences at the application and services level that are far more consistent in both worlds.
While we’re all used to using the applications in the Office suite both at home and at work (albeit for different purposes), Microsoft claimed that they would like to bring closer together the user experience with its other productivity platforms across both personal and work life as well. They called out new and evolving input methods such as HoloLens (which admittedly has a super-slick “wow” factor in demos, and if it pans out will certainly be a hugely transformational technology), ink/pen, and touch as areas in which they would like to develop more consistency and reach across both their consumer and business product portfolio. As a result, every worker is able to naturally interact with their devices and applications the same way, no matter what they’re doing on it, either work or play. Additional advancements in bringing business-centric productivity applications more closely in alignment with UI principles in consumer applications were cited as another area of focus. While I don’t expect that we’ll necessarily see extreme overhauls of the tried-and-tested GUIs in their enterprise products, hopefully some bigger refinements will be made that do indeed make it easier and more efficient for all of us to use their products.
There were plenty of additional announcements and information shared at WPC, but the Cloud, Security, and User Experience improvements signify some of the most impactful and important developments that I felt were key to what we and our customers do. I recently took a peek at our latest tally for deployed/migrated Office365 seats for our customers and, as of last week, Virteva had totaled around 65,000 seats. I personally think this is a tremendous amount, and it’s amazing to think that in just a few years we’ve been able to help so many companies make the move to the cloud. From another perspective, we’re really just getting started. With all of the advancements mentioned above, and the expansion of these platforms to include new capabilities (the announcement of the E5 Office365 SKU being an example) there is still a ton of awesome results we can achieve in partnership with our customers to help bring new functionality and efficiency to their users. It’s an exciting time to be in IT, with so much change happening around us. Seeing the results of these changes will prove to be fascinating, I have no doubt.
Chris Strong, Virteva Sales Engineer