Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

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.”