Yesterday, December 1st, was my first day in my new role in Microsoft Belgium. I will be the Partner DE in the Developer & Platform Evangelism team and I will manage a team of 3 developer evangelists.

My first day was a very interesting one as I attended the Architect Forum which was dedicated to the topic of the Azure Services Platform (http://www.microsoft.com/azure/default.mspx).

Form my conversations with the attendees, it is very clear that is not a matter of 'if' cloud computing will catch on, it's a matter of when, how, at which speed.

Especially in this uncertain economic times, IT becomes more important than ever. Sure, budgets will be under pressure but aren't they always? In times of growth and expansion, IT departments are asked do more with usually the same budget. Now some IT departments will be asked to do the same with smaller budgets.

At Microsoft we believe that IT is the investment with the highest ROI. You save costs by investing in IT. We have a nice new site to show you where and how you can make savings: http://www.microsoft.be/economie

This also brings me back to the Cloud era which is just getting started. Cloud will bring the cost advantages of these massive and extremely efficient data centers to all IT Departments. Certainly there will be some hurdles to be taken (like data protection and privacy) but the cost advantages will make this happen.

It won't happen overnight but incrementally. Like David Chappell put it, banks, for instance, won't start with their core apps, but there are so many applications within banks where it does make sense to start evaluating a move to the cloud today.

Also the ISV's I have been talking too are each convinced that parts of thei applications will move to the cloud. The cloud is about choice and our ISV's too will need to let their customers choose.

I believe their couldn't be a more exciting time than this one to start in my new role. If you're an ISV in Belgium, don't hesitate to reach out to me via my blog or linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/hansver