We read with interest a short opinion piece in CIO Asia the other day, titled “Microsoft’s Cloud Services Mix Leaves Many Vendors in the Dust.” The thrust of the piece was that “only Microsoft has the full solution right now. With Azure and services such as Office 365, Redmond has both desktop- and server-based subscription services that comply with corporate requirements….While Microsoft remains in front, [others} give chase…”

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We compliment author Rob Enderle on his insights into the current state of affairs, but we really thought his foresight worth noting. At the very end of his piece, Enderle says:

For IT departments, the best self-defense may be to stop pretending this trend isn't happening and to start driving it themselves by facilitating these moves, assuring they are done properly and pushing vendors into supplying the services that line executives want. IT survives if it can become a strong advocate for line executives' needs and can effectively facilitate a more successful response-but it becomes obsolete if this service gets internalised.

From my as a long time IT manager and CIO this couldn’t be more true.

The independent software vendors which are working with Microsoft to put their software programs in the cloud are enjoying this opportunity to re-engineer their offerings. They have this rare opportunity to improve their previous solutions suitability to the operational needs of their clients. The inputs from IT departments are invaluable, especially now that many are more fully embracing the vision of a smart energy ecosystem. The more that the IT groups work with their ISVs for next generation cloud services, the better their entire organization will become, as Enderle envisions.

In our view, the improvements will quickly be seen as spurring productivity gains for each employee. The cloud applications will spread across the organization and achieve ever greater integration across departments, if the IT departments take their mind off the next system upgrade and forward to the next business advance.

It doesn’t take a new user much time with our new Windows 8 program to see how these cloud based services integrate all the visual and application components of the desktop experience. Imagine how it will be with the various siloed programs on the desktop that will have great integration across the cloud, all for the purpose of running the utility better, cheaper, faster.  May the Cloud be with You! – Jon C. Arnold