Microsoft shouldn’t be classified as a computer company, a database and applications software provider, a maker of games or mobile phones.
It’s a productivity company, that’s how its CEO, Satya Nadella, sees it. He went as far as to leave stylish and sticky terms like “mobile-first”, “cloud-first” out of the company’s new mission statement.
“Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I’m proud to share that this is our new official mission statement,” he wrote in an internal e-mail (that was later leaked) to 118,000 Microsoft employees last week.
“We have unique capability in harmonizing the needs of both individuals and organizations,” he continued. “This is in our DNA”.
This has never been as viable and valuable as it is now, in today’s mobile, cloudy world.
After all, who wants to log out of one endpoint and log into another in order to do something simple like add a carton of milk to the family’s cloud-based grocery list (it’s why Microsoft acquired Wunderlist maker Wunderkinder) or to approve an invoice while standing on the sidelines waiting for your kid’s soccer game to begin? Getting it done, seamlessly and simply, is what it’s all about. That’s productivity. Mobile and Cloud are the great enablers of these experiences.
Think about One Drive, One Drive for Business and Azure co-exiting and an intelligent agent (Delve) knowing where you want to store your stuff as well as from where it can be retrieved via whatever means is most readily available or makes the most sense.
From an end users perspective, Nadella is talking about a whole lot more than bringing Web/Enterprise 2.0 experiences to tablets and phones.
“Today, we live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, and the transformation we are driving across our businesses is designed to enable Microsoft and our customers to thrive in this world.”
It’s important to note, said Nadella, that Microsoft’s worldview for mobile-first is not just about content and collaboration via mobile of devices.
“It’s centered on the mobility of experiences that, in turn, are orchestrated by the cloud,” he said. That is why we think of these two trends together. What we do with our products and business models has to account for this fundamental transformation.”
This is why Microsoft owns One Drive and Azure— they are enablers of productivity. They aim to make it simple, and almost natural, to work with Word, Outlook, Excel, Office, Office 365, Sharepoint Online, Microsoft Dynamics, apps like Sunrise and more , at any time and from anywhere.
It’s also why, in some cases, Cortana (a smarter version of Siri) will pop up to help you any time you have a question or need anything. It’s why Microsoft built Delve, so that everything you need, and might not even know you need, will show up on your screen, when you allow it to. Microsoft will continue to offer more as it learns more about you and how you live.
Of course, it’s going to do this without being creepy. And since they’re not in the business of serving ads to you, their motive is a bit different than say…
Nadella also called on his employees to become “customer-obsessed”. This he meant in a more general way.
“We will learn about our customers and their businesses with a beginner’s mind,” he told his team, “and then bring solutions that meet their needs. We will be insatiable in our desire to learn from the outside and bring that knowledge into Microsoft, while still innovating to surprise and delight our users”.
And finally, Nadella held out a challenge to his employees- to make Windows, and in this case Windows 10, which comes out later this month, an end-user obsession.
“We have the opportunity to connect with 1.5 billion Windows customers in 190 countries around the globe. We aspire to move people from needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows. …”
If anyone can reinvent Windows, it’s this Microsoft team. And if it succeeds, our windows to the world will provide workplace experiences that we might not even imagine today.
We’re excited, and we’re watching.