Microsoft always has a compelling proposition for enterprise business, even when they are still pushing hard on the consumer side. However, the move to the cloud is going to change the IT industry completely. The main challenge I see for Microsoft now is how to go from being known as a software company to a device and cloud services company – all while finding a new way of delivering strong value to businesses with their products.

Ultimately, we’ve always understood Microsoft’s main goal to be: help the end customer to get their job done whether they are an employee, training partner, developer or an IT Partner focusing on analysis, conducting virtual meetings or ensuring the integrity of corporate information. Since they first started their Partner Program 20 years ago, and it has generated over a substantial amount of revenue. At various partner events, including the 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft executives have identified how it will help partners and end customers tackle the next big trends in IT: cloud, big data, enterprise social and mobility.
  1. Cloud: The popularity of the cloud has become so pervasive that almost any company can adopt (and is considering) the public cloud, and Microsoft has built a top tier infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) to accommodate this growing demand. The company maintains that it can provide superior data security and protection in the cloud.  Azure, Microsoft’s IaaS, is the centerpiece of Microsoft’s cloud strategy. The service runs in Microsoft’s datacenter which houses a million servers. Partners and customers can easily move their datacenter onto Azure and achieve high levels of processing speed, application performance and service reliability.  In terms of growth, hosted SharePoint, Lync and Office 365 are some of Microsoft’s hottest products today.
  2. Big Data: Big Data is the large and complex data that is now challenging traditional database systems management. The main point of data management is to have a scope on data of any type or size. SQL is the one of the major pillars of Microsoft’s product strategy, along with other new data processing technologies. For example, Hadoop has emerged to offer customers the opportunity to store and analyze petabytes of unstructured data inexpensively.
  3. Enterprise Social: It’s the new way of working. Social is about how companies collaborate on project work at the same, or sometimes different, times. The addition of Yammer to Microsoft’s portfolio now allows real time communication so that businesses can increase co-worker productivity.
  4. Mobility:  Microsoft has taken a huge stride in the last year with the launch of Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows devices are also now available, such as small Windows tablets that are almost like a "two-in-one" pc and tablet.
Even though Active Directory and Windows are still central focuses on Microsoft’s products, we feel like the company is already taking on the latest trends in IT with its cloud services offerings, and it is making sure that those of us in its extensive partner network is on board for the ride.