Microsoft Commercial and Enterprise CVP to analysts: Aggressive cloud investment can co-exist with customers' hybrid, on-prem interests

Perhaps Microsoft's cloud-first strategy seems to some like a runaway train, leaving partners and slower-moving customers on the platforms with their "baggage" of on-premise products and expertise.

Or, perhaps that's not the full story. Microsoft's appearance at last week's Credit Suisse 21st Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference reveals more forethought and learning than that. There, the company's CVP & CFO for Commercial and Enterprise Dave O'Hara, whose territory includes Office, Dynamics, AI, and Research, answered questions by Credit Suisse Analyst Michael Nemeroff.

As O'Hara observed many times in the interview, he offers a CFO's perspective; he is not one of Microsoft's frequent keynote speakers like Judson Althoff, James Phillips, or Toni Townes-Whitley.

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).

Dann can be reached at dmaurno@guidepointmedia.com.

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If one of the goals of Microsoft is to make the current, substantial customer base feel more confident about the future of their ERP and CRM investments then it should require all its PR and marketing people to be trained by Dave O'Hara.

Mr O'Hara has managed to talk up both legacy (a term I am still not that comfortable with) and cloud systems without taking away anything from either. Prior to this have not seen much in the way of real, positive speak about our systems from Microsoft C-level or managers. Hopefully this is a case of someone finally being able to put this into words rather than just one man's opinion. For today though, I am taking this as a positive from Redmond.

Microsoft take this talk to heart and do more than support our systems. Help your partners continue to sell the non-cloud stuff for those prospects looking for new system AND not interested in cloud. Admitting that there are existing customers not into the cloud is the first step toward recognizing that there are a lot of potential customers not interested as well. Also, make sure the on premise solutions are not arbitrarily shorted of new, useful features in future releases in order to push us toward cloud offerings. Doing these things would eliminate almost all anxiety for us old, existing customers.

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone

Jeff Frye
Systems Analyst
Hunt Brothers Pizza