One of my first blog posts over a year and half ago was entitled S+S=SaaS? which delved into the Microsoft definition of Software Plus Services and how that related to the broader industry concept of Software as a Service.  Today, that state of cloud understanding seems long outdated – both in terms of what we as a software provider know to be true, and in terms of the broader industry and academic constructs of current expectations and delivery of cloud services.

If we look at what has transpired since then in the Microsoft vernacular, we first announced last spring that we were “All in” (PressPass story here), imageand followed that up this past fall with position of “Cloud Power” (PressPass story here).  image

I’d like to point out some interesting subtleties about these announcements:

  • The “all in” announcement last March was made on campus at the University of Washington, recognizing the growing significance and influence that students and educators have in selecting and utilizing online services.
  • The “all in” statement was a reflection of our redirection of developer resources to on-premises AND in-cloud solutions, as well as a total commitment to sales and marketing solutions thinking about cloud services.  (My extended pre-sales engineering team invested several hundred hours ramping, digesting, creating training and messaging for, and eventually training field sales staff on the solutions and ecosystem – in fact we’re still investing heavily here).
  • “All in” quickly became outmoded as our customers already expected as much – not that they were ubiquitously moving to the cloud, but that they wanted that *option* if the economics and security/privacy proved out.
  • The “Cloud Power” announcement in November builds on “All in” by stating that not only do we do cloud, but we do it well, in fact we’re the leading provider in most consumer and enterprise cloud services categories.  As we focus on simplifying and integrating our solutions and messaging, Microsoft is gaining comfort with re-establishing niche leadership.

How does this relate back to S+S and all the “X as a Service” acronyms I list in the title, you ask?  And how is that simplifying the message?  As a computer scientist by training and a systems engineer by trade, I’ll always be fast to point out the differences between marketing and marketecture; and as holds true with evaluating and understanding software solutions, we need to break down options into manageable pieces.  How do we do that for the cloud?  Relate it to what we’re familiar with in the X-1 generation of computing. 

Therefore the Infrastructure, Platform, Software and Desktop ideas that we’re all familiar with as it relates to on-premises services are rapidly building out in cloud-form.  The key for our customers in the tie-back is that you will want to ensure integration and tie-back, both for continuity, migration and portability of software solutions.  So the more Microsoft provides both the integration and the flexibility for on-premises, cloud or hybrid deployment, the easier your adoption and lower your costs will be – thus the beauty of Software Plus Services.