PDC2008 – Flexibility & Choice (Continued)

In my previous post, I introduced to you my thoughts on the changing needs of businesses, developers and IT professionals.  Specifically, I discussed the demand for Flexibility in technology platforms and the growing desire for Choice in User Experiences.  As PDC begins in Los Angeles, I wanted to spend some more time on these topics.

When I travel across Canada meeting customers, partners, developers and it professionals one fact becomes more clear - every business has a unique set of needs.  No exceptions.  Whether you’re a small business using technology to reach for customers or a large enterprise running massive business critical systems, the demands on IT requirements are completely unique. 

Let me illustrate that for you with two examples.

You’ve decided to start-up a new online business.   As a start-up you might be working alone or with a small group and you probably don’t want to burn through a lot of cash building your IT infrastructure.  What if you had some special privacy concerns that required you to store your data onsite?  Great, install a server for you email, web and even file sharing and collaboration needs and let it grow with your business.  But what if you don’t want to invest in capital costs, space or it personnel?  You can turn to the cloud for everything from hosting your web server and collaboration (Check out OfficeLive.ca for an example of this).  The point being is that flexibility should be yours. 

Let’s look from a different point of view.  A large enterprise is trying to keep costs under control but still needs to be agile enough to compete, perhaps by being able to spin up innovative projects or have the flexibility to throttle back infrastructure as you need it.  To achieve this there are many options to consider - from datacenters, virtualized environments to services delivered from your partners in the cloud.  Again, the key is a platform that allows this kind of flexibility.

Within both these examples, there is evidence of a key trend in the marketplace.  The recognition that a truly flexible platform will not focus entirely on the client side of the application, or on the server, or on the cloud – but rather on a hybrid model the harnesses the power of each.  This is a major theme that will be part of the vision we unveil at PDC.

The other side of our vision focuses on powerful User Experiences.  Just as you need the flexibility in your infrastructure - your users, employees and customers also need flexibility in the way they interact with technology.  As the way they work is changing, so is their demands on how they interact with their information.  User Experience is a huge driver of innovation.  Users, now comfortable with the web, smart devices and powerful client platforms are now demanding that access to their data be as simple and compelling as the content experiences they have come to enjoy. 

PDC is a major milestone for Microsoft and our customers and partners.  We’ll be spending a week diving deep into our Software+Services vision - which is all about unlocking flexible infrastructure and delivering great user experiences.   Over the course of the week we will bring you more details as they are announced at the show.  You can follow along as well at the PDC website – www.microsoftpdc.com (several of the keynotes will be streamed for free)

If you’re a Canadian Developers or IT Professionals, the best way to stay on top of these trends is by attending Microsoft TechDays (www.techdays.ca) . 

So tell me, how are these trends impacting your business?  If you’re a Developer or IT Professional that’s thinking about this for your business, I want to hear from you.


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