The announcement of Satya Nadella as the new CEO of Microsoft might not have come as much of a surprise, but I think his appointment poses a few questions as far as the Dynamics community is concerned.
Firstly Nadella has no prior CEO or company leadership experience. OK, so he knows Microsoft inside and out, and no one’s going to argue with that. It’s probably safe to assume that he’ll therefore be in touch with the issues surrounding change within the organisation.
From the reports I’ve read, it seems he is keen to move Microsoft forward as an enterprise software company first and foremost – cynics might argue that’s been a familiar mantra coming out of Redmond for something like 15 years.
However there are increasing voices, primarily from the financial and political centres, that are shouting for a break-up of Microsoft, a sale of the non-profitable sections, for example Bing and Xbox. Will Nadella listen to Wall Street in order to offer greater returns to the shareholders, will he continue to run Microsoft in the same vein that Bill Gates wanted, or will the outlook for Nadella’s Microsoft be a cloudy one?
Which brings me back to my starting point … what can we discern from Nadella’s background as far as Dynamics is concerned?
Microsoft’s message in November 2013 – with the launch of Dynamics CRM – was mobility and data it was all about accessing information from any device at any time from any location, and there has been a push to integrate Dynamics CRM with Office 365 and host it all in the cloud. There is no doubt that for Dynamics NAV this is where Microsoft sees the future, with incentives for Partners to sell a fully integrated software solution on Azure. Dynamics AX has been pushed to the Enterprise level and so the cloud issues become far less appealing for the client companies as they will remain happy to host their own infrastructure with the associated costs and their ownership of any risk.
In my opinion this could be an issue, after all Microsoft currently lags behind several global cloud offerings in terms of flexibility and price, which are the critical issues coupled with security and reliability. Satya Nadella has a lot of experience in cloud computing and is no doubt a true believer in its potential. Doubtless, too, he will want to start bolstering Microsoft’s cloud offerings and closing the gap on some of the more established cloud players.
Let’s just hope that the Dynamics ecosystem doesn’t fall into that gap though. I also hope Nadella can see that for the next few years at least, there will be a significant number of companies that will not want to head to the clouds with their ERP solution.
What’s needed here is a clear statement of intent, and a path that everyone in the Dynamics sector can follow with confidence, knowing where the next three-to-five years will take them.
Conspicuous has been recruiting Dynamics professionals since 2000 and we see ourselves as much more than a Dynamics recruitment agency.