Microsoft's Ballmer Says Efficiency Key to Recovery

By Carolyn April  |  Print this article Print

Steve Ballmer contends that efficiency achieved through technology will help businesses enter a period of recovery with the ability to grow and drive innovation.

In an memo to customers and partners posted on Microsoft’s Website this week, company CEO Steve Ballmer says that the economic recession has resulted in fundamental change in how the economy and business will operate, the so-called "new normal."

The new normal reflects changes in behavior that are going to value cost-cutting, less debt and more caution in investments. But, Ballmer argues, while those tenets will comprise the backbone of business priorities in the months and years ahead, they cannot be all that a company focuses on in order to sustain a successful long-term advantage in the market.

"I believe the new normal requires a new kind of efficiency built on technology innovations that enable businesses and organizations to simultaneously drive cost savings, improve productivity and speed innovation," Ballmer said.

Efficiency is the buzzword of Ballmer’s latest e-mail. He points to a number of trends and realities that further underscore the need for more streamlined IT operations, from the growing distributed and mobile workforce to the morass of government and legal compliance mandates to the inefficiency of maintaining legacy IT systems.

It’s also no surprise that Ballmer touts Microsoft software as a conduit for increased efficiency. He points to the upcoming releases of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 as three solutions that will help achieve efficiencies inside organizations.

"Today, a new generation of business solutions is transforming IT into a strategic asset that makes it possible to cut costs without crippling customer service or constraining work force creativity and effectiveness," he said. "A new generation of business solutions is eliminating the barriers between systems and applications, and automating routine tasks so IT professionals can focus on high-value work that is aligned to strategic priorities."

After a year in which Microsoft saw its first-ever annual drop in revenue and first-ever broad wave of layoffs -- and one in which Ballmer along with other executives took significant pay cuts -- the CEO nonetheless professes optimism that new growth will be driven not by accumulating debt, but by percolating new ideas.

"I’m optimistic because I believe we are entering a period of technology-driven transformation that will see a surge in productivity and a flowering of innovation," he said. "The new efficiency will not only help companies respond to today’s economic reality, it will lay the foundation for systems and solutions that connect people to information, applications and to other people in new ways."


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