In my post A Look Forward to 2015, I mentioned the drastic jump in revenue that Microsoft has had with the growth of its cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics, as well as other SaaS platforms. When you look at the array of products and services Microsoft has developed, it’s clear that Microsoft is gearing up to take the title from the current reigning cloud champion, Amazon. When will Microsoft overtake its rival? Time will tell, but my safe bet is that it will be within the next five years.
It’s one thing to give an opinion based on some kind of metrics. Such metrics can cover revenue or performance—something that can be measured numerically. But sometimes it is the things that cannot be measured that prove to be the key to success or the keys to the kingdom. In this case, those things are the overall user experience. Here, I will share my experience migrating to Microsoftland and to the Office 365 realm.
I knew the migration to the cloud was coming, and when it did, it was a seamless transition. All the magic of the reconfiguration happened as soon as I opened Outlook at the start of my day at work. The only real difference that I spotted was the web access experience. In my humble opinion, there is a world of difference between the Outlook Web Access user experience and the Office 365 user experience. Office 365 is vastly superior to the Outlook Web Access that I’ve used over the years. From an end user’s perspective, this migration was as close as you can get to “smooth as silk.” You know what else was pretty smooth? Going from a mailbox size of fifty megabytes to one of several gigabytes. From an end user’s perspective, what’s not to like about that?
This experience, as well as the published metrics, have reinforced my belief that future IT will be served à la carte. CTOs of companies will put together a menu of services that they feel can be offloaded to the cloud. For example, email is one of those services that started out as a nice perk and now is mission-critical. I believe the near future will have corporate services marching to the cloud, especially for Microsoft-centric data centers.
In Microsoftland, you are able to offload email, Office, SQL, SharePoint, and Active Directory, just to name a few. Migrating existing functions to cloud-based services is what I believe will be the next trend in IT. This is going to redefine local IT skillsets from “jack-of-many-technologies” to “connector-of-many-technologies.” Sticking my neck out on a timeline for transition, I think it will happen within the next five years.
Let me present to you a vision of the future of IT: it will be more like a restaurant experience than a technology configuration and migration experience. You’ll order the services and technologies you need without worrying about the underpinnings. Welcome to the start of the IT transition to the world of the cloud.