The Continued Softening Of Microsoft


Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information).

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper.

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products–they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files–it’s great for bread and butter tasks–nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser.

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in.

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon–but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dreams Can All Be Good

DreamSo the Rabbi’s wife told us a neat idea about dreams (which was very poetic in Hebrew). 

Basically it goes like this:

“If you have a good dream then your day is good, because you remember that good dream 

And even if you have a bad dream then your day is still good, because you are no longer dreaming.” 

It’s nice when you can come out a winner and have a good day no matter what happens in your dreams at night. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Nesster)

>The Outlook for Enterprise Architecture

>Enterprise architecture in its current form is due for a review by the next administration—McCain or Obama.

Will EA be the same under the next president?

Government Executive Magazine, 15 September 2008, discusses “seven election-proof initiatives likely to go on in some form or another no matter who wins in November,” and enterprise architecture is one of those.

The Federal Enterprise Architecture is looked at as a mixed bag by the Office of Management and Budget.

On one hand, it has been “a jargon-filled, technical IT effort, and one of the toughest for the Bush administration to tackle.”

On the other hand, “prognosticators say it will survive in some form because it has been a useful planning tool for chief information officers.”

Indeed EA is a challenge for any organization—planning and driving business and technology change, breaking down organizational and functional silos, pushing for information sharing, interoperability, and reuse, mandating technical standards and preferred products, insisting on performance measurement, and enforcing compliance of IT security, privacy, Section 508, records management—EA is even more taxing for OMB which is looking to do these things across the entire federal government!

What is undeniable is that enterprise architecture plays a vital function in our organizations!

The vice president of FedSources, Ray Bjorklund, states: “As painful as an architecture is to create, it is really very helpful.”

Glenn Schlarman, former chief of Information Policy and Technology Brach at OMB, states “I don’t give architecture in its current state much of a chance of survival because it’s too complex. If they could distill it down to a couple of salient points and wrap it with security then maybe it can be saved.”

While the Schlarman’s points may sound harsh, I actually agree with him on the unnecessary complexity. This is a core tenet of User-centric Enterprise Architecture. As Schlarman says, we need to “distill” the message and clearly present it to our organizational decision makers. It needs to be useful and useable to them!

EA will not only be saved, but will continue to thrive. As global competition continues to heat up, the pace of technology change spins faster and faster, and constrained resources continue to press us to do ever more with ever less, our organizations will be forced to respond in strength. Organization’s will continue look to enterprise architecture to better plan business process improvement and IT enablement and to govern sound investments and change. User-centric EA will keep the efforts focused on valuable and actionable architectures.

>Email and Enterprise Architecture


How many emails a day is enough?

The Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2007 reports that we are all being inundated with email and it is only going to get worse.

On average, the corporate email user received 126 messages a day last year, up 55% from 2003.

Moreover, “by 2009, workers are expecting to spend 41% of their time just managing emails.”

Further, by 2011, the average number of corporate emails sent and received per person, per day is expected to hit 228!

According to Microsoft, users fall into two general categories for how they handle all the email:

  1. Filers—“strive to have an empty inbox at the end of the day”
  2. Pilers—“the super-messy desk people. They’ve got 5,000 emails in their inbox, most of them unread”

One new novel architecture approach to help manage email is based on a product from Seriosity, as follows:

“Attent™ with Serios™ is an enterprise productivity application inspired by multiplayer online games. It tackles the problem of information overload in corporate email using psychological and economic principles from successful games. Attent creates a synthetic economy with a currency (Serios) that enables users to attach value to an outgoing email to signal importance. It gives recipients the ability to prioritize messages and a reserve of currency that they can use to signal importance of their messages to others. Attent also provides a variety of tools that enable everyone to track and analyze communication patterns and information exchanges in the enterprise.” (

So for example, users may get 100 serios at the start of the week, and they get more when others send them messages. They allocate these serios to each message they send. “A message asking some if he or she wants to go out for lunch might carry a value of three ‘serios’ of virtual currency; [while] a message about an important customer with an urgent problem might get 30 serios. In this way, we try “to get people to send fewer message, or just more relevant ones.”

From a User-centric EA perspective, having senders designate the importance of messages is a wonderful idea to help receivers gauge relative importance and need to read. This is an improvement over the basic Microsoft Outlook capability that enables users to simply mark something with a “!” as important or not.

The Seriosity product is a good example of how technology can meet emerging business requirements, even when it involves managing hundreds of emails a day.