Oct 08, 2012

What Do All the 2012-2013 Microsoft Product Releases Mean to My Organization?

Mike Moore

Mike Moore

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Microsoft 2012-2013 Releases

For those of you who don’t know, this will be the biggest year for Microsoft product releases ever, including all of Microsoft’s major products. Microsoft’s planned releases for 2012-2013 include:

  • Windows 8

  • Office 2013

  • SharePoint 2013

  • SQL Server 2012

  • Windows Server 2012

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Windows Azure

  • Dynamics CRM Online

  • IE 10

  • Office 365

  • Kinect For Windows

  • System Center 2012

In addition to moving these products to the next version, Microsoft has taken strategic steps towards improving social media and mobile capabilities. Windows 8 will be the first operating system released by Microsoft that takes a real shot at gaining ground from its competitors, such as Apple, who has all but cornered the mobile market. Needless to say, that combined with the integrations with SharePoint, SkyDrive, and the advent of the Microsoft app store for public and enterprise use will make for an interesting shake out in 2013.

Change is in the Air

If this massive list of 2012-2013 product releases makes you wonder how you will learn all these new technologies in the coming year, you aren’t alone. Microsoft has made great strides in getting their technology evangelists out on the streets and in front of partners. However, in the end, only a few dedicated and driven individuals will pick up these new technologies and apply them.

Strategic Play

Now that you have a better idea of the products planned for release, you may be asking yourself, “What is behind all of this? Is Microsoft trying to capture the entire enterprise, mobile, PC, and gaming market?” If Microsoft was able to do that, they would love it. The reality is that Microsoft is not necessarily trying to un-seat Apple as one of the most favored operating systems and mobile devices for public end-users. For now, Microsoft’s strategy is much more focused on maintaining its strong hold over everything “enterprise.”

Imagine what your IT department would tell you if you asked them to make all the back office applications the enterprise uses to work with your iPad. If you weren’t laughed out of the room, you would certainly hear the litany of security risk, high effort projects, technology, and skill limitations that come with trying to take the iPad and turn it into a holistic enterprise solution.

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Now, just imagine if your IT department had an alternative option that would end up costing much less and give you access to all your enterprise applications, including your portal and business intelligence dashboards. By purchasing some hardware and installing Windows 8 and Office 2013, they may now be able to do just that. Windows 8, which will run on the new release of the Windows tablet, is such an option.

Of course, it may be too much effort, change management, and/or cost to roll out Windows 8, Office 2013, and tablets to everyone in the organization, but the people asking for solutions like this aren’t usually the normal John or Jane Doe users of the organization. In most cases, these users are directors and C-level executives that have made the switch to the iPad for 50% of their work and are looking for a way to get rid of their laptop and/or desktop completely.  In reality, you can’t tell your bosses or executive board that it’s just not possible to do when they are writing your paycheck. Although it may take a crow bar and a lot of effort to pry that iPad out of your executive’s hands, the possibility of having a fully featured Windows operating system that is ready to be easily extended for Microsoft’s mobile “Companion/Metro Apps”, is a much more viable option for full-enterprise integration.

Closing Notes

Needless to say, we can expect a lot of change over the next couple years. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. Although this will be an incredible growth period for many of us, the new features offered by the wide array of product releases do have a common theme.  These products are going to continue to trend to online integrated solutions, mobile, and cloud computing. If you question that statement, check out what’s new with Office 2013, Azure, CRM Online, and Office 365. I would love to go into the details, but that would require more of a book than a blog.

If you have questions about this post or general Microsoft questions, please contact us. Also, check back soon as we are preparing additional blogs on many of the new releases.

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