Microsoft and Innovation

Author: Steven Zolman

It’s that time of year when Microsoft convenes their annual partner and sales conferences, and announces their marketing themes for their new fiscal year. We can expect a blizzard of press releases and articles about innovations from Microsoft. And that’s good for our enterprise clients who are evaluating their Microsoft investments and innovation is a topic that resonates with them. More often than not, our Clients are looking for the value from their Microsoft investments. Our advice to Microsoft: you’re not in the features and functions business, you’re in the ROI business.

Regardless of how many cool new features Microsoft creates, enterprise customers have a very limited ability to deploy the new stuff, and even if they did have budget and resources for constant upgrades, the opportunity cost may be too high as there are other investments competing for mindshare, time, resources, and funds that have a clearly stronger ROI in their business case.

Again and again, we have this conversation with Microsoft on behalf of our Clients. Microsoft does make a concerted effort to help their customers build strong business cases, including ROIs, demonstrating the value of their (not yet released) future capabilities…and honestly, they succeed only some of the times. As an aside, this may be one of the reasons for an enterprise to consider moving this functionality to the Cloud, but of course that may not be for everyone.

One more piece of advice to Microsoft: when you ask a business customer to give you money, you must be able to prove that those dollars are going to come back to the customer’s business within a defined (and short) period of time. In today’s day and age, our Clients are generally looking for payback in less than 1 year.

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