Redmond View

Microsoft's Relentless Focus: Reinventing Business Processes

Microsoft can't do it alone, and at the heart of the initiative are new acquisition and partnerships.

Microsoft has markedly ramped up its technology arsenal over the past year with a common thread toward reinventing business processes. Likewise, Microsoft has accelerated the pace and scope of its partnerships and acquisitions with that same focus.

The company's newest partnership with GE was a major coup for many reasons, but key is that it's a major endorsement of Microsoft Azure, its infrastructure, capacity and tools.

GE Predix, which will run on Azure, is one of the largest industrial cloud platforms aimed at building and operating Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, such as allowing partners and customers to support data collection and analysis, as well as operations optimization and automation. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said GE plans to integrate Predix with the Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite. GE will also use Office 365, including Power BI and the forthcoming Dynamics 365 business apps. Immelt envisions deploying Microsoft's new HoloLens "augmented reality" technology within two years.

Meanwhile, the stream of new technology coming from Microsoft these days and a focus on new user experiences are all aimed at helping businesses utilize new interfaces such as speech reshape how people interact with each other and machinesor, more important, take on tasks once undoable. Microsoft is going down a clear path toward tying together its core productivity tools with the new ways people want to work and with how companies are running and transacting business.

The jury is still out on many of these futuristic capabilities, but Microsoft is making an aggressive, focused and coordinated move and key business decision makers are taking notice.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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