In an email sent to Microsoft employees this morning, company CEO Steve Ballmer lays out plans to increase the company’s overall speed, efficiency and capability “in a fast changing world“. With recent happenings, it’s easy to assume that the Xbox One debacle had something to do with this, but in the email, Ballmer states that these plans began about a year ago – even prior to the Windows 8 launch.
“Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most. “
The bold is Ballmer’s, and it highlights the problem that existed before: most of Microsoft’s product-lines operated as one, there wasn’t much unison. Someone in one division likely had no idea about what was going on in another, and couldn’t contribute anything that might have helped make a product better.
Microsoft’s Main Campus in Redmond, Washington
The fix is an initiative called “One Microsoft”: “We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands. We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders. All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers. All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers.“
A resulting 12 groups will result from this organization:
- Operating Systems Engineering Group
- Devices and Studios Engineering Group
- Applications and Services Engineering Group
- Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group
- Advanced Strategy and Research Group
- Marketing Group
- Business Development and Evangelism Group
- Finance Group
- Legal and Corporate Affairs Group
- HR Group
These are simple names, but most encompass a great deal of what Microsoft offers. The Operating Systems group, for example, handles OSes for the desktop, mobile and even console. Each group has a “champion” (leader) who will report to Ballmer directly.
In addition to all of this, Ballmer has reiterated a couple of company traits that people should keep in mind: nimble, communicative, collaborative, decisive and motivate. The result of all of this should be a more open company, one where anyone can express ideas, where collaboration and communication are of utmost importance.
His email ends, “Together, we have created great products and great success, but we all want more. That means a strategy to deliver a family of devices and services that best enable people for the activities they value most and the enterprise extensions and services that are most valuable to business. A new structure to bring these to market faster. Stronger centralized services so we can be more efficient and effective. Priority focus areas, short and long term. New characteristics of how we work together. In other words, better execution and innovation through strategy and goal and discipline and engineering coherence. One Microsoft all the time.“
Will this major shift from within the company help it get its mojo back, so to speak? It might be a while before we find out, but it’ll be an interesting progression to watch.