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Why Nadella as CEO is a Great Bet for Microsoft Partners

Published: February 24, 2014
CEO Tony DiBenedetto co-founded Tribridge and leads our strategic direction, growth and development. Read More

Like most other people who closely follow the news out of Redmond, I speculated for months over who would be selected as the new Microsoft CEO. Now that Satya Nadella is officially at the helm, I’ve enjoyed learning more about him and reading the variety of opinions and predictions about the job he will do.

I admit that my own views are somewhat personal. I have been a partner in the Microsoft Business Division for a decade.

So here is what I think about Nadella and the future of Microsoft:

  • If shareholders were looking for a big change, then Microsoft picked the wrong guy. From a partner perspective, Nadella is a great bet. The Board of Directors is essentially saying that it’s more important to have an evolution than a revolution right now. You don’t promote from within if you need major changes in an organization. Ballmer just put a solid strategy together for devices and services. Let’s execute the plan.
  • Nadella’s most recent accomplishments as head of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group show his belief in the conversion of applications and infrastructure to the cloud. They are already taking market share from the competition. Where would Amazon be without Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure supplying its plumbing? Microsoft has an evolving strategy around Dynamics CRM Online, Office 365, SharePoint, SQL Server and Azure, and they are rapidly working on expanding Dynamics ERP in Azure too. I see Nadella expediting and strengthening the evolution.
  • Speaking of the future of Microsoft Dynamics ERP, I read a recent article in which NetSuite’s president and CEO Zach Nelson declared that Nadella “presided over the decline of the Dynamics ERP line” because of his short term as head of ERP and his lack of investment in it. “I don’t think Microsoft can even spell ERP anymore.” 

    I disagree. NetSuite is using Nadella’s quick advancement through the ranks of Microsoft as an excuse to create doubt in the mind of someone who is shopping ERP. At the end of the day, Microsoft is taking greater share in the market. As a Microsoft partner, I want my customers to have choices. They can select what works best for their financials and accounting – on-premise, the Azure public cloud or a virtual private cloud. With NetSuite, you get one choice: their public cloud. How does that put the customer first?
  • That is not to say that everything at Microsoft is rosy. As a partner, I would like to see a stronger message around business intelligence. I’m wondering if Nadella will look at Xbox for inspiration on the gamification of analytics. It would be cool to see him translate a consumer product into the concept of how businesses want to digest big data.
  • I’m also interested to see what Microsoft will do with the Surface and other devices. My family has both an iPad and a Surface at home. While the iPad has all the personal applications, the Surface offers me the same flexibility and convenience of an iPad with the power of a laptop. I love it. It’s a phenomenal tool, and I am pleasantly surprised by its functionality. Now that Microsoft acquired Nokia and its patents, I think we will see a lot more innovation around phones and tablets.
  • And lastly, when it comes to innovation, I think it’s great that Bill Gates has stepped into the role of technology advisor. I’ve heard many pundits argue that Nadella can’t possibly lead and make progress with Gates in his ear. I can’t think of anything further from the truth. Bill Gates doesn’t need an ego play. He has been there and done that. Here is a man who has spent his time and money solving the world’s biggest health and educational problems. There isn’t a company in the world that wouldn’t want Bill Gates by their side working on technology innovation and product development. His new role is one of the crown jewels of the new era at Microsoft. I believe it’s a bright future.

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