Mary-Jo Foley has listed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s strategic bets for 2009, 2008 and 2007. It could be quite eye-opening if you are a Dynamics ERP or CRM customer.
Firstly, Dynamics contributes less than ten percent of Microsoft’s annual revenues, so its unlikely to get much strategic focus.
Secondly, and in my personal opinion, Microsoft doesn’t ‘get’ ERP: it’s seen numerous changes in senior management over the last few years, the development focus seems to be on product integration with other Microsoft products rather than business application functionality.
Only in 2008 is there a vague mention of Dynamics in the Ballmer top bets list:
“He cited Office 2007, Windows Server (especially in the lower-end of the market), Dynamics ERP and CRM as examples of hot products.”
Recently, Vinnie Mirchandani criticised Oracle for lack of technology vision and Dennis Howlett called Oracle Apps an ‘innovation free zone’. I reckon it’s time that someone started to consider whether Microsoft is an ‘ERP dead zone’.
There are not many things new in life, or in IT. I was reminded recently that there have been predecessors to Twitter, as in Before There Was Twitter, There Was Dave Winer’s Instant Outliner.
I can add another one: CompuServe. In the late 1980s, I got onto CompuServe because I reckoned that I had to build some experience on communicating electronically; South Africa in those days didn’t yet have the Internet. I became a member of an interest group for data warehousing, the IT field I was in.
It took a while before I became part of what we would now call a social network, but once my connections had got to a certain level I got invited on international conference calls, and made contact with a data warehouse consultant who I eventually worked with at data warehouse DBMS vendor Redbrick.
So while we look at technologies like Twitter as revolutionary, it’s worthwhile remembering that other technologies paved the way; and in twenty years time we may be remembering Twitter like I did CompuServe