Today we made an announcement of progress around our interoperability work. This was done in conjunction with our presence at the Interop New York show where they guy I work for, Tom Robertson, will be delivering a keynote tomorrow.

The news is basically focused on the fact that commitments we made 12-18 months ago continue to be delivered against. In some ways, if you do work on interoperability properly, it is much like security. There is no end-point for the work. It has to be an ongoing commitment with discrete deliverables but no stopping point. Technology will continue to progress, new products release, and the needs of customers will change over time as well.

Coverage so far that I've seen:

eWeek, Infoworld

What is involved with the news:

We have been hosting the third Interoperability Executive Customer Council in Redmond this week. The group was formed back in October last year, and is made up of public and private organizations. The conversations with the executives have been setting direction for 6 work streams: security & identity, dev tools & runtime, office automation & collab tools, systems management, business process & systems modeling, and public policy. Each work stream has generated specific work items and our technical teams are working with architects from the member organizations to address these.

The second thing discussed in the news is the progress of the Interoperability Vendor Alliance. The organization has doubled in size in a year to include 50 companies. There are have been 3 labs done to date (systems lab management, centralized directory lab, federated identity lab) and many more being scheduled. The big challenge of a group like this is to maintain momentum with output that is meaningful for customers as well as for the companies involved. The first year has shown great promise for what the org can accomplish. Year two is going to be the real test to make sure this organization drives long-term value.

These two things don't function in a vacuum. We are expanding out the council to regional events where the same work streams will be discussed and issues escalated. New work streams may be proposed, and we are committed to applying the engineering resources to this process. Also, these same scenarios will greatly inform the activities of the IVA. This won't be a 1:1 relationship, but there needs to be a connection of sorts between the two.

Of course, these two efforts are not being done to the exclusion of a wide array of interop activities. But, we do consider them to be absolutely essential to making sure that we are prioritizing the right tasks. All of our product teams continue to think about how interop applies to their business, and there is a full spectrum of additional activities such as work around the Open Specification Promise, collaboration agreements, etc. that we will continue to pursue.

More to come over time....