With Office 365 and the Azure cloud platform, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is taking the lead towards an empire that may be even more glorious than the PC kingdom of Bill Gates. Danielle Jacobs, Managing Director of BELTUG, commented on the evolution of this market giant and the impact on the business users in an interview in Trends .
Users-only X-change on Azure
BELTUG organised a users-only session on Azure to address questions we were receiving from members on contract and technical issues.
Around 20 companies took part, some of which already had experience with Azure. During the session, lots of questions were raised about vendor lock-in, how to recuperate data after terminating the contract, the possibility to negotiate on contracts, and what issues and discussions to raise with Microsoft.
From the participants, we learned that it is not easy to follow up on SLAs, which vary for the different services, each with its own penalties.
Licensing and costs are also hard to track, with many developers having the possibility to install various apps, tools, etc. This can become expensive, while it is complicated to track who is installing what. Employers need to know what they are using, and find ways to make employees aware of license costs.
The discussions also touched on cloud issues in general: security remains a concern, and some companies address this by hosting development, but not production (operations), in the cloud.
Billing options were also covered: what are the advantages and drawbacks of e.g. billing everything through the IT department, versus through the different departments using the services? One suggestion was to centralise billing, but to have reports for each department. A specific issue raised was the challenge of people ordering with credit cards: Microsoft cannot report on this, so IT has no way to know what has been purchased. Finally, participants raised the issue that companies should be aware that, with pre-payment, what you don’t use, you lose.
Where are the data?
This remains one of the most important concerns, and it’s not an easy question to answer. For example, data may be in Europe, but processing done in the US. Microsoft is expected to have operations in Germany by the end of 2016, but will this be more expensive, and will all services be available?
Either way, Microsoft and its evolution cannot be ignored, and since its actions have a big impact on the market, Microsoft and cloud will definitely remain high on the BELTUG agenda.