Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Microsoft's Recession Pitch - Part Deux

Hmmm, not sure if the pitch worked or not: Microsoft sales, profits plummet
Microsoft today reported revenue of $13.1 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, a 17 percent decline, and earnings per share of 34 cents -- missing, by two cents, the consensus of Wall Street analysts polled in advance by Thomson Reuters.
However, it is interesting to note that the Server & Tools Division posted only a 6 percent decline compared to the company's 17 percent decline. Maybe the story prevented a steeper revenue decline for Server & Tools? Maybe.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Microsoft's Recession Pitch

Interesting article in yesterday's The Seattle Times titled "Microsoft refines recession pitch". It kind of details how Microsoft basically changed their pitch to customers to be very specific around saving money.
"It's been the most successful campaign and initiatives we've ever launched in Microsoft in immediately getting and resonating with customers," Turner said.

"What customer isn't going to give you an appointment if you've got 13, 14, 15 things to help them derive business value and show them the ability to save money?"
The last line of the quote above is one that I have direct experience with. I could ask this question: "Would you have time to discuss product X with our team and how your company could benefit from its use?" versus "Would you be interested in learning how we can help your company save xx% with our product X?"

Guess which one question gets you in the door almost 100% of the time?

Ladies and gentleman, software is about saving money through automation, operational efficiency, etc. You need to be able to show that value. In this climate, the customers I have been dealing with are telling me if I can't show concrete ROI within 12 months I might as well not pitch the story!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Microsoft Directory Synchronization Tool

I came across the Microsoft Directory Synchronization Tool a few days ago and, of course, I dove into the basic information about what this tool is and does. The description is:
The Microsoft Directory Synchronization Tool 9.1 synchronizes valid end-user proxy addresses (and their Safe Senders if available) from Active Directory to the Forefront Online Security for Exchange (FOSE) and Exchange Hosted Archive (EHA) network and populates the Administration Center with these accounts. This tool should be used if you have a subscription to the FOSE Filtering service or the post-8.1 Exchange Hosted Archive service.
This is a pretty innocuous scenario that this tool solves for customers but what I don't get is why big companies - like Microsoft (and Quest!) - don't re-use the technology they already have rather than developing new tools? So, in this particular case my question is why isn't the Microsoft Directory Synchronization Tool built on Microsoft's Identity Lifecycle Manager?

Why does it matter? Well, if it was my "tool" I'd want to use it to up-sell the full ILM to the customer that was using the tool. After all, I would expect they'd have other directory synchronization issues that I might be able to monetize. Or security tools that I could cross-sell to them since, after all, ILM is now part of the Forefront suite. Plus, if I were a customer would I want to be running this tool and possibly also ILM to solve other identity problems? Remember, simpler is better - one tool is better than two!

Maybe it is built on ILM and I'm just not "in the know"...

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Reality tour returns to Redmond

The temporary stopover of the reality tour to Paris is over and we've returned to our normal location across the street from Microsoft's Redmond campus. Jetlag is being fought at every corner. The search for a decent baguette and croissant is on. Wine consumption is returning to its normal (lower) level of consumption.

If you're interested in the details of the Paris stopover visit our other blog...