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Microsoft's Roadmap - what does it mean for us?

As a company that prides itself on keeping up with the latest trends, Intergen invests significant time and effort into understanding these new offerings and – above all – what benefits they can provide. And as a Microsoft partner, we’re continually tracking new products and services.

The next 12 months are a watershed year for Microsoft as several major products are scheduled for release, including updates of flagship products, Windows and Office. But while it’s always exciting to have new products to implement and talk about, the real value of any offering is determined by the value it brings.

Microsoft watchers are in for a busy year. In addition to updating its key Office and Windows franchises, Microsoft is also driving change in other parts of the industry. The company’s investment in online services is starting to come to market, and indications are that this will be a significant focus for the company over the next few years – the multi-billion dollar investment in data centres alone go a long way to proving this.

New versions of Windows and Office – both client and server products – are scheduled for launch, with Windows 7 due to appear on October 22, and Office 2010 in the first half of next year. Not only are they important products, they’re also products which are facing increased competition, with organisations such as Google starting to venture into both the operating system and office application arenas.

Beyond the desktop, after months of testing, Windows Azure, Microsoft’s foray into cloud computing, will be released in its final form towards the end of 2009, not only delivering a new platform for the development community, but also establishing it as the technology that underpins many of Microsoft’s online offerings.

Enterprise implications

Based on what was shown at Microsoft’s recent Worldwide Partner Conference, the company is doing everything it can to appease the early adopters who believe that online applications are the way to go, while presenting a cohesive upgrade path to its existing – and largely enterprise-focused – customers, who are seeking an evolution and not a revolution.

While no easy task, indications are that Microsoft is being successful at walking this narrow tightrope. Office 2010 features both traditional client software and web-based versions and regardless of the version, Office has embraced collaboration in an online world, and organisations which are sufficiently equipped, can share and work together – whether they are in the same office or in a different country.

It’s also important to note that solutions don’t have to be deployed entirely in the cloud or on-premise – hybrid deployment models enable organisations to trial these solutions, or seek to gradually migrate to a cloud-only model.

The themes of connectivity and communication are core to many of Microsoft’s recent moves. By embracing online connectivity and multiple business models – how we communicate and collaborate will change, regardless of where we are, what we’re doing and what device we’re using.

With the arrival of Ray Ozzie in the Chief Software Architect role, all business units have had to embrace the cloud, and the signs are that significant progress is being made. Whether it’s connecting to cloud-based services or other users, Microsoft is demonstrating that significant value can be added to applications that communicate and transact across a network, which more often than not is the World Wide Web.

Having a variety of deployment options provides organisations of all sizes the ability to select options that meet their budgets, timeframes, requirements and internal abilities. Whether organisations are looking to move to the latest products, use these products as part of a larger deployment, or just to test out the features and functions of an offering, organisations can now have a choice as to how they work, often with minimal upfront cost.

Regardless of the deployment option or application involved, the solution still needs to meet the needs of the organisation using it, and by understanding how these latest offerings fit together, you can choose the best option for their requirements.

The full version of this article appeared in our latest SMARTS newsletter. If you’d like to go on the mailing list to receive this, email us at marketing@intergen.co.nz.

Posted by: Tim Howell, Marketing Manager | 31 August 2009

Tags: Office 2010, Windows 7, Windows Azure, Worldwide Partner Conference

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