Real Life Value of Software + Services

I’ve been travelling overseas this week to a global Microsoft conference in the US.  I sit here in the Airport departure lounge (offline) reflecting on my week.

A couple of events happened – and both are real life stories of the value of Microsoft’s Software + Services (S+S) strategy.

1) The hotel I stayed in was filled with Microsoft employees – who are all digitally connected to our work and live in email during all waking hours.  We saturated the network and had  a very slow internet connection.  Browsing the web and synchronising email took a long time – It took hours for a couple of MB of email to synchronise.

2) While the Internet connection was slow, it eventually failed for about a day.  I received the following letter from the President of North America Sales for the hotel chain:

“Due to a physical malfunction in routing equipment and the unexpected failure of backup systems, the internet access for the property was reported ‘offline’ by our Network Operation Center. After a number of attempts to get the network back online were unsuccessful, a Senior Engineer was dispatched from our headquarters to the property to join the other members of our team and replace the faulty equipment. Internet access was restored at approximately 2:45 today.”

While I did not have access to any internet functionality, I was still able to work on my presentation that I had to give at the conference and also read/triage my email inbox all while Offline.

The point is that if I did not have powerful software on my desktop and relied solely on  services in the cloud I would have had no options for getting my presentation and work done.  I know that Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors will say to customers “really – how often are you actually offline” - a situation like what happened above would stopped my productivity.  This would affect any user that relies on software in the cloud – whether it is from MS Online Services or other vendors.

So while I’m not offline very often S+S gave me the choice to work as I needed to – for the entire week of a slow/missing Internet connection.

I’m particularly excited about Office 2010 and the Web Applications for OneNote, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.  This next release of Office will give me, the user, the choice of how I want to work on my PC, in my Browser or on my Windows Phone.