Over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to talk to about 300 CIOs in a variety of forums all around the world.  I consistently hear from my peers and colleagues that they have spent much of the last few years focused on reducing costs and increasing efficiency. And we’ve all gotten pretty good at that. Now, as we emerge from the economic downturn,  many organizations are experiencing a substantially increased demand for IT,  driven in part by the CEO/COO’s desire to aggressively grow market share, engage in new business ventures, or enable their businesses in new ways. Obviously (and happily), one of our new challenges may be figuring out how to manage the accelerated growth while maintaining or extending the cost efficiencies we've worked so hard to get.

I think it’s a great time for CIOs to sit down with the key executives in our businesses and open the conversation up to the possibilities for the next great wave of productivity and growth. Cloud computing has been a significant part of just about every conversation I have had recently, and the CIOs and IT Professionals I talk to have been looking for more guidance, standards, support and clarity as they begin to plan for cloud. To get it right, we'll have to collaborate with the business on the answers to these key questions and about business goals and how best to bring IT experience and innovation to the table. 

At this week’s TechEd North America conference in New Orleans, Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, and I will  speak about the benefits and possibilities of cloud computing. I’ll share my thinking about cloud and how I am planning for the next generation of IT. I plan to talk briefly about steps we’ve taken to optimize our infrastructure in Microsoft IT as well as how we are prioritizing applications for the cloud.
 
As I travel around, I often hear about the great business and IT innovations many of you are driving. It is wonderful to hear the success stories that are highlighted when I am talking to developers and IT pros. It is very clear that there is no shortage of ideas and opportunities for creating new businesses, or enhancing and expanding our current ones. As long as we continue to focus on delivering solutions and services that enable capabilities and characteristics like quality, flexibility, time to market, and improved customer and partner relationships, we'll have an important role in shaping the future of our businesses!

Editorial note: For more information on Microsoft’s cloud offerings, visit Microsoft.com/cloud.

You can also learn more about TechEd North America 2010 news by visiting the TechEd Global Pressroom or by following us on Twitter via #TechEd.

Posted by Tony Scott
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER