If you remember being frustrated by the technology at work, when LANs crashed and Word unexpectedly quit, when Lotus was to blame for bereft in-house systems, when a Blackberry suddenly looked like a walkie-talkie next to the iPhone, then you’ll wish you were coming up today.
The future of enterprise technology is in the cloud. IT departments will no longer choose their hardware, software, devices and platforms independently. They’ll choose a vendor who can make everything cloud-compatible.
There are three contenders. Amazon created the cloud computing market and offers up its enormous infrastructure to businesses who prefer to rent their servers and data centres. Google’s infrastructure is even larger, due to the dominance of Google Search and Gmail. But Microsoft will have no problem making the transition from being on everyone’s desk to being virtual and mobile in the business world.
First, the company is expanding its infrastructure. Not only does it operate a network of data centres worldwide large enough to compete with Amazon and Google, it is also releasing a new Microsoft Cloud Platform System to allow businesses to run their cloud computing services in their own facilities using Dell servers loaded with Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology. This “cloud in a box” solution essentially means Microsoft will be running an infrastructure larger than its own infrastructure.
This will broaden their playing field to a range of large and medium-sized prospects, where Amazon’s target has been smaller companies, mostly merchants and retailers. Over the next year, Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service will establish deeper penetration than Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud and Simple Storage services.
Second, Microsoft will continue to dominate in software, with apps that work across desktops and devices. Wherever work is done.
Office 365, the cloud version of Office Suite, will not be challenged by Google Docs, or Google Drive as it’s now called. Nor will it be seriously challenged by the deal that Apple and IBM forged this summer to jointly develop custom-built enterprise apps for the retail, healthcare and education industries. That deal will get more enterprise customers to buy iPads and iPhones for the office, but it’s unlikely to significantly improve the way organizations work.
Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows promises to be the OS for the “mobile-first, cloud-first world” and could surprise us by its versatility across desktops, tablets, wearables and servers. Windows 10 will be the standard in the workplace.
Finally, devices. You’d think everyone would want a new iPad Air or Mini, but it’s the Surface that’s more likely to be the tablet of choice among enterprise users. It’s a better device to access Microsoft’s cloud technology and business apps, so it’s popularity will follow naturally. This year sales are good, up 127 per cent over last year. Next year, expect the same.
As for phones, Google’s Android phones dominate the worldwide smartphone market at 85 per cent, while Apple’s iOS phones make up 12 per cent and Windows devices account for 2 or 3 percent. In the workplace, phone choice isn’t the battle Microsoft needs to win in a Bring Your Own Device world. They’ve got their sights set on a fully integrated cloud solution.
Who’s better positioned than Microsoft to own the enterprise technology business, even with Oracle in the cloud?
Care to comment?