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Satya Nadella outlines Microsoft’s mobile-first, cloud-first world

CloudSatya Nadella

Washington – In what amounts to Satya Nadella’s coming out party for the channel, the new CEO of Microsoft told an audience of 16,000 channel partner executives at the Worldwide Partner Conference that without the cloud, there is no mobile experience.

In a somewhat shift of focus Nadella said that going forward Microsoft’s strategy will not be solely on the device, which the company stated last year under Steve Ballmer that it would a devices and services approach.

Instead Nadella talked about mobility and how the cloud orchestrates it. “Without mobile end points, be they sensors or mobile devices, you’re not going to have the impact in the world and people’s lives,” he said.

In terms of direction Microsoft will push the channel towards a mobile-first, cloud-first plan with the goal being for the channel ecosystem selling this strategy.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity. There are going to be more than three billion people with connected devices. There’s going to be over 200 billion sensors out there. The amount of application development that spans all of that computing is going to explode. They’re going to both generate tons and tons of zettabytes of data, they’re also going to consume and reason over that large data,” he said.

This channel ecosystem will be tasked by Microsoft to build these productivity solutions and platforms with a mobile-first, cloud-first bent. Nadella added that the channel has the capability to reinvent productivity for a new generation of customer.

And, that customer will look a lot differently than before. Tiffani Bova, worldwide vice president at Gartner Research, says that there are a new set of buyers and they are creating disruption in the marketplace.

“Your job is to communicate the vision to help your customers,” she said, adding that “buyers are more informed than ever before. They talk to your customers ahead of time. They will say I know who you are and how you can help my business.”

Bova said that the channel can no longer own the sales journey. According to Gartner research, the chief marketing officer will out spend the IT department by the year 2017.

Another aspect to Nadella’s mobile-first, cloud-first plan is to bring more harmony to the user base, the IT solutions and the developer community.

“We need to bring these interests together so that people and organizations can achieve more and do more is something that, again, we can do. That’s the platform sensibility that we’ve always had, and we’re going to have to bring that to this world of mobile-first, cloud-first,” he said.

Microsoft intends to focus on building digital work and life experiences such as Skype, Outlook, and OneDrive. These experiences will be in the cloud and transition to a device.

“We need to make sure the experiences are pervasive and ubiquitous. We will make sure that it’s possible for you to be able to build the solutions across the various industries. That is what we’re going to do. It’s not multiple strategies. It’s not multiple things of focus. It’s one core that represents the best of what we have and what we represent, but more importantly, the boldness with which we can go forward in redefining it. We are building an operating system for human activity across all of their daily lives, across all of their devices. That is what the future of Office, the future of Dynamics represents for us,” he said.

One of the current challenges facing Microsoft and the channel is that a person’s device is being used for personal consumption and then must be given up for another device for work.

“That just doesn’t work,” Nadella said. “We know that. And simply saying even just BYOD is not good enough. We’ve got to harmonize this dual usage. We absolutely have to be the best in the world when it comes to taking Skype and Lync, OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, Outlook and Exchange, and every one of these experiences and the shell and the operating systems in Windows all have to be built to excel for this dual use. And that’s what will drive productivity.”