Jean-Philippe Courtois: Convergence EMEA 2015

Remarks by Microsoft International President Jean-Philippe Courtois at Convergence EMEA 2015 in Barcelona on Nov. 30, 2015.

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS:  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon.  Buenos tardes.  Welcome.  Welcome to sunny Barcelona, at least outside of this room, and welcome to Convergence.

It’s a real pleasure, but it’s also a privilege for me to be with all of you, this amazing audience, today.  This event this year right here in Barcelona is going to be all about business transformation.  The transformation you are driving with your customers, maybe within your own organizations, across your industries, sometimes across your countries, and also the urgent need we all have to evolve our business models, but also to disrupt and to thrive.

And this will be the focus of the next few days, and I really hope that you’re going to learn not just from the people coming on stage from Microsoft and customers and partners, but sharing from all across the big community actually of leaders across the world.

But first I want to briefly share, actually, who we are as a community in this room, because this is where transformation starts.  Convergence has really become a huge event for Microsoft.  This is really the truly premier business event.  We now have two Convergence events, one in North America and one in EMEA.  And right now we have 5,000 attendees spanning across 79 countries, 18 industries and more than 2,200 organizations across many continents, actually, not just Europe, Middle East and Africa.  It’s the third in Barcelona and the eighth edition in the region.

And what intriguing data point, actually one great data point I wanted to share with you that you share in common, 73 percent of you are running some of your business on the Microsoft Cloud, 73 percent, on Office 365, on Azure, on CRM Online.  And I look forward to convincing another 27 percent in the next few days to actually consider that move soon.  And as you will see you have the opportunity to experience not just what Microsoft has offered for you, but actually all of the learning from your attendees as well.

I would like before starting, I would like actually to take a moment to say an official thank-you to our sponsors.  I would like to call out our Executive Platinum Sponsor IBM, a special thank-you.  And I would like also to thank actually all of our Platinum Sponsors AXtension, KCP Dynamics, KPMG, Hitachi Solutions, and then all the other sponsors.  Your partnership with Convergence EMEA is very appreciated.  So please give them a big hand for being a sponsor at this event.  Thank you.

(Applause.)

You know, as much as we talk about actually technology and commerce coming together, this event, this transformation is also a lot about community.  As I said, it’s about this very particular Convergence community of leaders coming together.  It’s about the community where you contribute back to your countries in terms of your industries, also the people that you connect with in your social circles.

And in many ways, this is where we think about transformation as well, commercial transformation.  And as a company there’s a lot we do to obviously help realize the dream of a number of people.  Indeed, when we think about our mission as an organization, we talk about empowering every individual and every organization on the planet to achieve more.  And we actually imply that it goes far beyond great products, great services and great financial results.  It’s truly about unleashing the opportunities that people have in their lives as well.

And this is the reason why you see our company investing a lot in a number of citizenship initiatives.  In the last few years, we’ve been empowering, enabling 300 million users in the world using technologies or learning new digital skills.  And we’ll be investing a lot more in the next years to raise the bar in computer science for the least served communities in the world.

So all of that is part of the work we do.  And we decided as we launched Windows 10 to upgrade the world.  I’m not just talking about 110 million of Windows 10 users, by the way, which fully are already enjoying the new Windows 10 experience; I’m talking about 10 global NGOs, nonprofits; 100 local nonprofit organizations, that we provided a grant of $50K so they can actually have a positive impact on the lives of others.  This is a big deal for us.  And you see on this slide a lot of those organizations in EMEA, three countries as an example, in U.K., Germany, France and Kenya, where some companies are doing amazing things combining technology and apply that to social cause, all the way from reducing poverty to environment to skills and more.

So the question we can ask ourselves is actually what do actually social organizations have in common with business organizations?  At the end of the day, I think it boils down to three things, three enablers of change for any transformation of the society, of a business, of an organization.  This is about the concept I think any organization that wants to change the world to really have a big impact has got to start by redefining its own identity, its own DNA.  You have to come up with a new concept, which is something very different from the old concept you’ve been running as a business for many years.  This is where you try to create a new pathing, obviously, for your customers and your supply chain and your marketplace.

With the concept brings the need to build capabilities in your organization.  And this is a very hard thing to do.  I can reflect on my own organization in Microsoft.  I’ve got a number of thousands of sales and marketing and services people on the planet serving the countries of the world.  And I can tell you the definition talks about your ability, as an organization your ability, to perform the coordinated task utilizing resources for the purpose of achieving a very particular outcome.  We are talking about combining tangible resources, like cash, like also obviously a lot of physical assets you may have as a company with intangibles, including technology, reputation, and combining all of that with human capital and skills.

And if you do that really well, you need another piece.  You need to come up with your culture.  You need to come up with the culture, and you need to redefine what your culture means and stands for.  And cultural change is the hardest thing to do.  I can also relate to that as we are only attempting as a global organization, Microsoft, to reshape the culture to be a customer-obsessed culture, and be growth mindset as well.  And I can tell you it takes a lot of hard work to change the daily habits, the daily routines of all of our people around the world to do a number of new sets of activities that actually make sense given the new identity and the new direction we have as a company.

So I wanted to give you that framework of reference because I think it could be helpful as we go through the digital transformation discussion.  And, like me, you need to drive in your own organizations a lot of those changes.  And you certainly understand it is not just about updating your toolset — that would be too easy — it’s in fact about modernizing your mindset.  And that’s a much bigger change.

So when we look across the world and we look at the change that companies are doing, we see a number of processes, a number of operational changes.  Companies start innovating by incorporating the feedback of the customers or the employees that design their product and their services.  That’s a big trend, and we see more and more organizations doing that.

We see several companies as well getting smarter by leveraging the smart agents and smart machines.  I can tell you I’m getting smarter as I use my personal digital assistant.  She’s a very smart lady.  You may know her actually.  Her name is Cortana.  I can talk to her every morning when I wake up as well.  When I was coming to Barcelona she would tell me, Jean-Philippe, here are the meetings you have to do.  Here’s the content.  Here’s the background.  Here is the fastest way to get actually to the conference center, and so on and so forth, learning about me, learning about my habits.  And this can be applied, of course, to many, many personal and professional scenarios.

Many of the businesses, as well, are adapting their operations to intelligent operations.  We’ll discuss more of that during the week, but one example of that was my last week travel in Asia.  I’m just back actually from a week in Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore.  And I spent two days in Singapore with a customer from Singapore, sometimes they even come to EMEA, they’re welcome here, and I was amazed by the magnitude of change of the smart nation.

Some of you may have heard about the smart nation concept.  It’s all about really connecting all the objects, all the buildings, all the enablers to a better life for the citizens of Singapore.  And we are announcing in Singapore actually a set of 50 partners, Microsoft IoT partners.  And one of them just got actually a very nice solution awarded by one of the biggest actually building construction authorities in Singapore to do a smart chiller.  It’s going to be smart with the way they actually maintain, repair and have predictive maintenance.  And we see a lot more of those connected, I would say, operations happening across the world.

We certainly see, as well, a lot of companies anticipating the business, what’s coming next.  And it’s great to see companies, even retail companies, this company in the U.S. Pier One Imports, I’m sure some of you know, which is designing and selling online retail, furniture but also house goods, which is using the Azure Machine Learning to basically predict what their customers may need next and have some up-sell scenarios for their sales team and the e-commerce engine.  And I could tell you about many of those customers starting to use those predictive patterns as they read the digest of the data of the customers to adapt their business models.

And the last one is only not the least is delighting customers with a more engaging experience, combining offline and online experiences for the customers.  And whatever is the business actually you do, you could be running development services, you could be running retail, banking, manufacturing, you need to have a broad-reach set of experiences that are coming as one experience to your customers.  And this is a big deal as part of this transformation.

So this is really the digital transformation happening around the world.  And as we get together we decided to commission a study with Forrester, and Forrester actually did survey many hundreds of CIOs, IT people, but also business decision-makers, people across Europe, Middle East and Africa, many countries, to understand where they stand on that digital transformation, what does it mean for them, what are they going to do about it, what do they actually intend to achieve.

So I’d like to show you a few key takeaways from that study.  The first one is 94 percent of the businesses that were surveyed are taking some sort of digital strategy, which is good news.  You could say, wow, all of them are moving in the direction.  Yes, but when we dig down into the results, once you look and analyze the responses, there’s a lot of confusion.  Actually the majority of the 94 percent, a significant number of those, are just adding some bolt-on digital, I would say, assets or experiences to the existing business models.

So they are really adding just a few more digital colors to the business.  They are not truly embracing a full digital transformation of their operations.  So that’s the first learning, which means there’s a lot of more work to do to truly define what the digitalization of the business means and implies.

The second big takeaway, which I think is a ‑‑ you could say is obvious, but it’s always good to state the obvious. If you want to succeed with your digital transformation I think you need to be very clear about the way you define customer success, which should be measured in terms of business outcomes.  So it’s not all about the transaction, it’s as much about financial results.  Of course, financials matter to any company on the planet.  But, it’s about being very crisp about the business outcomes that you want to achieve.  And the customer design and the way that you confirm and convert customers probably more into fans, as opposed to people who have to buy your products.

And that’s I think a big part of reshaping the business, because if you don’t start with that there’s no reason, no way you can redefine your business processes and then digitize the underpinnings to make it happen.

The third big takeaway is when you ask those people, both IT, by the way, and business people, what their top priorities when it comes to the transformation agenda, there are two things coming on top of their mind, top of mind, data security and analysis.  Data security I’m sure all of you can think about it, do something about it.  I can tell you in any of the hundreds of customers many that are around the world, there’s not one single discussion where I’m not being asked, or I don’t have a very detailed discussion about our trusted cloud, what it means.

And the way the customers ask and understand security, privacy, compliance, transparency, in regard to their chief compliance officer if they are a listed company, regarding their regulatory requirements if they belong to an industry like banking, farmers or others, we’ve got some very particular needs and policy needs and so on and so forth.  It’s a big deal, and it’s something we certainly will hear more about in the next couple of days, because we deeply actually work on the security enablement of the platform.

Analytics, I briefly mentioned that as part of my digital transformation framework, is a big deal.  Analytics is finally not just having the tons of data that all the businesses have in their house, but making sense of it, making sense of it not just for a few data scientists that you may need, by the way, people who can really formally define the data models needed for the new concept of your business, but truly talking, by the way, of your people on the front line, the customer sales representative, the sales agents, the maintenance engineers, the field people, whoever are those roles and personas you have in your organizations.  It’s about the way you give them immediately in their hands the ability to visualize and to make decisions for the customers and the company every second of their job on any device they use.  So those are big deals for our customers and obviously this is a big thing for any of the projects we are running into.

So that’s the takeaway I wanted to share with you: Basically, building the digital transformation is a team sport.  It takes more than one person.  And it’s very interesting to see the different views that the CEOs in my role I meet with a lot of CEOs, or BDMs.  I’m also meeting with CIOs, because I think both are obviously very key to the success.  It’s interesting to see that actually 60 percent of the IT respondents to the survey feel that they own the digital strategy.  When you ask the same question to the BDMs or CEOs, the number actually comes down to 40 percent, so there’s a different view between IT and business decision-makers.

And the reality, and you know it, the reality is this digital transformation is forcing the business to embed the digital transformation into everything they do and the CIO has to reinvent his role to enable the business and to align with the CEO.  And in many ways some of the most successful transformations I’ve seen of companies in the world in the last couple of years are companies where some key executive at the board level, or CEOs themselves, are truly driving the new character of the organization, the new concept of their business, of their company, using technology to disrupt and reinvent themselves.  It’s very powerful when you’ve got this alignment, when you’ve got also those roles working together.  But, it’s not easy.

So that’s really ‑‑ I would say those are really the key takeaways, and I really hope that over the next couple of days we’ll be exploring a lot of the stories, both on stage again, but also with all of you during workshops, during a number of case studies, and I hope that you’ll take away for those couple of days again some great thoughts and practical approaches for your own business, or your own actually organization as a partner to help your customers.

So I’d like to leave you with a quote which I like a lot from one of my favorite philosophers, Goethe.  He says life belongs to the living, and he, I should add, now he or she, who lives must be prepared for changes.  I think it’s very real.  I think it’s very much about the personal change that each one of us needs to make when we want to be an agent of change for our transformation, or for a customer’s transformation.

So let me finish sharing with you what the agenda is all about for this Convergence.  I think that we have an exciting agenda.  Right after this introduction, we’ll have the pleasure to actually welcome to the stage Chris Capossela, he’s our chief marketing officer.  And Chris will be sharing with you one of our top three big ambitions as a company, reinventing productivity and business processes, and the way you actually change mission-critical business processes by embedding some of the new productivity capabilities in the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Tomorrow morning, I will have the pleasure to ask to the stage Roger Madelin, who is a senior advisor at the EU to talk about innovation at the EU level and what it means across Europe in terms of policies, in terms of change, in terms of disruption of industries.  And then we’ll have Scott Guthrie, who is our executive vice president, he is the head of our Cloud and Enterprise, talking and showing you this vision we have of the Intelligent Cloud and putting out a lot of new innovation while announcing right here, right in Barcelona, on that Intelligent Cloud infrastructure.

And last but not least on Wednesday, we’ll have Susan Hauser and Neil Holloway, two of our executives, hosting a lot of customers to share end-to-end stores of transformation.

So this is really what we have for you to play with, to learn from.  I really look forward to have you also taking advantage of the Convergence Expo Center, which is the big hub where we’ve got the 100 sponsors, we’ve got exhibitors, we’ve got sessions where you can network with each other.

So with that, let’s now give actually a really warm welcome to Chris Capossela joining us, and enjoy Convergence.

Thank you.

(Applause.)

END