I wanted to share another post from my colleague, Mark Miller, this time summarizing a recent WIRED cloud computing event in New York City. The full text of Mark’s recap is below and it also includes a couple links to videos from the event.  Let me know if you have any comments or questions. Thanks – Larry

A Recent Smart Salon presented by WIRED: Innovation and Opportunity in the Cloud

The cloud – for some it’s an evolution, for some it is a revolution and for others that perspective remains to be seen. For most, cloud is a critical part of how IT will shift from being a technology provider to becoming an innovation engine that delivers business value.  That was what I heard in early May when we invited more than 100 senior technology and business leaders to join us at a Microsoft sponsored Smart Salon event, presented by WIRED, to talk about the ways businesses are dealing with the disruption of cloud today and into the future.

Facilitated by WIRED Contributing Editor Spencer Reiss, the event featured two broad-ranging panel discussions, as well as a no holds barred Q&A session with Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bob Kelly.  It was a great opportunity to hear senior leaders talk about their cloud reality in candid, real world, terms and so I thought it might be interesting to highlight a few of my takeways from the day.

The first was how divergent, yet aligned, people’s point of view is about the business considerations and opportunities of cloud computing.  For some, the cloud is driving a revolution in how they approach computing – from the technology they use to how they run their business.  For others, it is a technology evolution – helping them do things better than they have before.  To nobody’s surprise though – whether evolution or evolution – the cloud’s ability to dramatically speed up time to market (or time to innovation) was clear to everyone - as one CIO said, “in the cloud model, it’s days, not six months to a year.”

My second takeaway was around how cloud is really making people think about the future of IT – specifically how it will look in our somewhat cloudy future.  While no one had a perfectly clear vision of our cloudy future most of the attendees – especially our CIO panelists – were bullish on the potential of the cloud to help them deliver more business value.  Their path to delivering more business value varied: For some, it was about improving overall business processes, and for others it was about becoming a critical source of innovation for their organization. But the need to deliver business value was clear.

My third takeaway was that, to no one’s surprise, throughout the day it was clear that there were a LOT of different definitions of cloud computing. That was one of the first things Bob Kelly addressed in his Q&A – during which he outlined Microsoft’s perspective on the core attributes of cloud computing and how the breadth of Microsoft’s cloud offerings gives businesses the option to transition to the cloud on their terms.

Whatever cloud computing is for you - an evolution, a revolution or an uncertainty – Microsoft is here for you.  We understand the journey to cloud may be disruptive and we know the cloud is not one-size-fits-all. That is why we are committed to helping you do cloud on your terms. To learn more about this approach to cloud computing, check out the Cloud Power site.  

Thanks for your time – Mark Miller, Director, Server and Tools, Microsoft