Having been out with Microsoft at their Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) over the past week, i thought it may be good to list a few of the key points that i felt may be of interest. There was plenty of detailed information that was also released, but the 3 overriding themes I wanted to mention are below.
For the 3rd year running the Cloud computing theme has been huge at this years WPC. With Dynamics CRM 2011 Online now live and Office 365 launched at the end of June, Microsoft definitely have a cloud presence already (that’s before you even consider Xbox live has 10 million paying subscribers for that cloud service!). I really think Office 365 is a great product and will be doing a separate blog posy on this in the coming days so stay tuned. However we also heard this year that Dynamics NAV will be the first of the ERP products to be available in the cloud. This will be interesting to see if it will be limited in any way in its initial release, but confirms that Microsoft see the Cloud as the future and more and more products will end up being deployed there. Technology Management have been offering NAV and CRM on there own private cloud for several years now and this platform continues to go from strength to strength. The way we deliver CRM and NAV means there will be no limitations to what you can do to the product. We also resell CRM online with Microsoft and Office 365 as well as the on premise solution. We believe that the right product and platform depends on the customer and will continue to offer choice in all these critical areas.
Research and Development
One announcement that really blew me away is that Microsoft now spend more on R&D than any other company in the world, not just in the IT sector but in every sector. They spent $8.9 billion dollars last year… This shows how much commitment they have to develop their products, Dynamics CRM, NAV & AX are all beneficiaries of this R&D funding and should provide confidence in the longevity of the products that run your business. Microsoft don’t always get it right, however they have the ability to correct it and in the last 5 or so years there offerings have been a hit from the day of release. Think Windows 7, Office 2010, Sharepoint 2010, CRM, NAV. All leads back to that huge amount of R&D budget.
Natural Use Interface (NUI)
NUI played a large part at WPC and although we may feel its early days for this technology Microsoft are leading the way. Natural User Interface is the idea of voice, touch and gesture being a more intuitive way to interact with IT. Touch has already become a standard way we use devices such as smart phones and Sat Navs and it makes sense. We have seen Microsoft Kinect use gesture and motion to allow us to use the Xbox 360 and having seen how some organisations are now deploying Kinect with PC’s into industrial environment was enlightening. Voice is also available with Kinect and is something i have used when streaming movies to my Xbox, telling it to pause and resume are very basic features but it means I don’t have to find the xbox controller and voice is our main way of communicating with each other so why not with our growing range of electronic devices. Our children are already expecting to have this technology, they grow up with touch screens on their Nintendo DS’s and are used to using touch on phones and IPads. I found this out when i brought a new car home and my 4 year old said the sat nav was broken, it wasn’t it just didn’t have a touch screen and that was his initial assumption to how the technology should work.