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This IDC Perspective examines Microsoft's Ignite and Envision announcements, which IDC sees as a key step for technology buyers with new and emerging competitive offerings across areas ranging from cognitive/AI/machine learning and the cloud to business applications and collaboration (including initial quantum computing simulators and a programming language). The breadth of Microsoft's portfolio and the revitalization occurring at the organization in the context of Satya Nadella's leadership position the company well, but the sheer range of offerings and initiatives is daunting and also creates execution challenges. Organizationally, the CEO's focus on empathy (underscored in his two keynote sessions and his autobiography, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone, released at the conference) is also impacting the company and helping enable coordination across teams and separate business units, which are still structured with delineated, internally competitive P&Ls.

"Effective collaboration across the portfolio of initiatives being launched at Microsoft demands pragmatic application of the benefits of social media and emerging AI and cognitive technologies to complement process and organizational change evolving at the company," said Melinda Ballou, research director for IDC's Agile ALM, Quality and Portfolio Strategies Service. "Technology buyers benefit from this approach via improved engagement models, flexible pricing structures, hybrid cloud services and support."



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