Interoperability – Listening to Customers

Interoperability is something I have blogged about in the past. It is an issue which customers are now ranking at the same level as security and reliability in their consideration of the technologies they use in heterogeneous computing environments.

Today we announced the creation of the Interoperability Customer Executive Council - a group of CIOs and Architects representing corporate and government organizations from around the world. The group is modeled after the very succesful Chief Information Security Officer Council that has been meeting with Microsoft for the past 5 years. That group has made a real difference in our product strategy, on disclosure issues, and on many related security issues.

The ICEC will be helping us to identify the key interop scenarios (such as data integration, app interop, directory services interop, etc.) and what the core issues are in those scenarios. We will also be establishing working groups to address specific projects coming out of the council's agenda.

Listening to customers seems obvious, but for many organizations is harder that you would think it should be. While I disagreed with more than a few points in the Cluetrain Manefesto, the core thesis that markets are conversations is a good one. The whole point of this conversation is to put a very fine point on that conversation. The interoperability conversation is happening all over the world with customers, governments, partners, academics, developers, and consumers. This council does not dampen the importance of our outreach on many different fronts. What it will do is get us very focused on a few of the most difficult scenarios so that we can get more proactive in our approach to interop.

Stephen O'Grady from Redmonk asked us a great question which is how we will make the proceedings from this council public. We will not be producing minutes or transcripts as a key to making a group like this work is to help people feel comfortable so they can speak freely. But, we have just updated and we will be making significant changes to it over time. The results of all of our interop-focused work will end up there.

In short - watch this space. We are ramping up our efforts on interop and pulling together a strong internal team to help deliver on our commitments. We are also open to your suggestions and requests as we are looking to build a list of interop projects that we may choose to pursue.

Some of the coverage of the interop council announce today:


Clients to advise Microsoft on software linking


By Martin LaMonica



Microsoft Customer Council to Focus on Interoperability


By Peter Galli,1895,1976394,00.asp


IDG News Service

Microsoft Creates Customer Interoperability Council


By Jeremy Kirk (London Bureau)


Microsoft Monitor

Interoperability Roundtable


By Joe Wilcox


*****Updated on June 15*****

A few links to follow from other blogs that have mentions of this announcement today:

Brian Jones





Comments (2)
  1. brent’s blog : Interoperability is People First… Jason Matusow recommended Brent. Certainly the above post got me thinking about human, rather than technical interoperability. How can we work more effectively together, and what limitations do our technology

  2. In James Governor’s Monk Chips posting recently he made some kind comments about me that I am flattered…

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