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First steps on the journey to universal productivity

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Last year, Microsoft announced its new mission – to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more – by delivering the best in-class productivity platforms and services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Achieving this lofty goal would be done by tackling three big ambitions that only Microsoft is uniquely positioned to deliver upon.
The first amongst these is reinventing productivity and business processes for digital work that spans across all device sizes and form factors. This involves the extension of Microsoft’s experience footprint by building more business process experiences, integrated into content authoring and consumption, communication and collaboration tools. The goal of this is to drive scale and usage by appealing to “dual-use” customers, providing productivity services that enable them to accomplish more at work and in their personal lives.
The second ambition involves building the intelligent cloud platform that provides customers with faster time to value, improved agility and cost reduction, solutions that helps differentiate their business and differentiated capabilities like identity management, rich data management, machine learning as well as advanced analytics.
The final ambition is to create more personal computing and translates to delivering the best Windows device platforms and devices for customers, enabling fundamentally new product categories like HoloLens and Microsoft Band, and so doing generate opportunities for the Windows ecosystem more broadly. Furthermore, Microsoft also aims to increase distribution of its services by making these accessible to more users who are making use of traditionally competing platforms such as iOS and Android.
“It is the strength of Microsoft across all of our ambitions that will enable us to deliver high value to customers, while providing us with the ability to differentiate ourselves from rivals,” says Zoaib Hoosen, Managing Director at Microsoft South Africa.
The company’s efforts is being recognised globally by its customers, partners, as well as organisations like analytics firm Gartner. The market research company has not only positioned Microsoft in the Leaders Quadrant in the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems, but also positioned the company ahead of Oracle for the first time, and ahead of SAP. This is based on Microsoft’s completeness of vision and ability to execute in the operational database management systems market.
Microsoft is also leading the pack when it comes to social software in the workplace, which is used primarily to support employees who work together in teams, organisational divisions or networks. Gartner recognised Microsoft as a leader in this space for the completeness of its vision and highest on ability to execute, within the 2015 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace. The company stated that: “Leaders are well-established vendors with widely used social software and collaboration offerings. They have established their leadership through early recognition of users’ needs, continuous innovation, significant market presence, and success in delivering user-friendly and solution-focused suites with broad capabilities.”
When it comes to business intelligence, Microsoft Power BI leads the Agile BI pack in Forrester’s 15-criteria evaluation of agile business intelligence vendors. In the report entitled The Forrester Wave: Agile Business Intelligence Platforms, Q3 2015, Forrester notes that the “familiar Excel UI, agile in-memory PowerPivot architecture, hybrid (on premises SQLServer-based data, cloud-based Power BI platform) deployment, completeness of BI functionality (from data sourcing to visual storytelling), and low acquisition cost differentiate Power BI from its competition.”
Even within industries where Microsoft is not a leader, the company is at the forefront of disrupting established players in the market with its offerings and services. Gartner positions Microsoft in the Challengers quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service 2015 stating: “UCaaS offerings are increasingly functionally competitive with their premises-based alternatives. Key 2015 improvements include an improved UCaaS user experience, API connectivity with leading cloud applications, and mobile-first user deployments.”
Microsoft positioning springs from the fact that the Microsoft Office 365 UCaaS solution which includes Skype for Business Online is suitable for organisations of all sizes, in virtually all geographies, seeking cost-effective IM, presence and web conferencing. According to Gartner, most enterprises will need to work with one of Microsoft’s Skype for Business hosting partners to obtain their enterprise telephony functionality for the next three years at least.
“This collection of reports published by a leading independent analyst company showcases the strides we have made in the journey towards meeting our bold ambitions. With much work still needing to be done, we are in an incredible position to seize new growth and will be required to keep innovating in new areas, and execute against our plans in order to drive customer value,” Hoosen concludes.