Q&A: Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer Explains How Software Provides the Business Agility Customers Need to Stay Competitive in Today’s Fast-Paced Economy


, Jan. 22, 2001 — Microsoft today unveiled a major new business positioning campaign underscored by the theme,

In a conversation with PressPass, Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer explains how the companys enterprise products and services can give businesses of all sizes the agility they need to stay competitive.
“Through the magic of software,”
Ballmer says,
“we can help make small companies big, and big companies fast.”
For more information about how Microsoft is helping businesses stay agile, visit http://www.microsoft.com/business/products/agility.asp.

PressPass: What do you mean when you talk about

software for the agile business?

Ballmer: Weve been building a solid enterprise platform for more than 10 years, and today our software and services can provide businesses of any size with unprecedented quality, speed and flexibility the agility they need to meet their customers needs, stay ahead of the competition, and transform the accelerating pace of change into a business advantage.

Providing business agility is whats really unique about Microsofts product offerings and business value for the enterprise. Software is at the core of who we are as a company, and in todays digital economy software is what makes business agility possible. At Microsoft, creating great software is what we do every day, and we do it better than anyone else.

This week, we are launching a worldwide business positioning effort to underscore the unique competitive advantages customers can achieve by choosing Microsoft solutions.

PressPass: How does the agility offered by Microsoft software translate into business solutions and bottom-line benefits for enterprise companies?

Ballmer: There are a number of scenarios where our software really can deliver agility. First, businesses can achieve customer centricity — meaning they can drive revenue by reaching new customers, aligning their business around them and being more responsive to their needs. They can operate their business without boundaries , reducing costs and becoming more flexible both internally and externally, and enable fluid responses to changing business conditions. They can empower employees , increasing productivity and giving them the ability to get the information they need to make decisions and take quick action any time, any place and from any device. They can build a flexible technology foundation — achieving the kind of stability that was once only possible using giant mainframes, but with the low cost and flexibility of the PC. And they can save time — 70 percent of IT projects that take more than a year from conception to implementation will fail. Sustainable, long-term competitive advantages in todays fast-paced economy only come through the kind of fast, incremental, short-term solutions Microsoft can help businesses achieve.

CVS is a great example of the many ways that businesses can benefit from our enterprise offerings. CVS is one of the most profitable drugstore chains in the United States, with more than 4,100
stores around the country. When the company decided to expand its reach by adding an e-commerce solution, Microsoft was able to bring the CVS site to market in just 11 weeks , and now provides a stable and secure environment for customers to fill prescriptions and make drugstore purchases online.

PressPass: How is Microsofts


value proposition different from what other competitors are offering?

Ballmer: Business agility offers enterprise customers the ability to capitalize on their existing systems, and to choose what hardware and software solutions they need and who should provide them. Because Microsoft has strategic relationships with key partners to create solutions that can integrate multiple vendor offerings, businesses are not locked into an
commitment. They are not required to endure extensive periods of downtime while the solution is being deployed, and they are not forced to rip out existing systems and start all over. So Microsoft offers competitive, integrated and flexible solutions at a much more affordable cost.

Ill give you some examples of what were talking about. The day Nasdaq.com deployed Windows 2000 in its Web server farm it received nearly 45 million hits and served more than 12 million page views without a hitch. Thats enterprise-level quality. Using Microsoft’s Web solution platform, GMAC-RFC created an automated loan underwriting system that reduces turnaround time from several days to less than a minute. Developed in just eight weeks, the system is easy to maintain, provides flexibility for expansion, and gives GMAC-RFC a host of reusable components that are already reducing development time for other projects. Thats
“time to benefit.”
DellWares use of BizTalk Server 2000 provides near real-time delivery, an integrated, automated supply chain, greater overall efficiency and improved data accuracy. Thats flexibility. Nabisco is saving millions of dollars by using a new product-planning solution, based on Microsoft technology, to eliminate unprofitable product-development efforts and roll out new products faster. Thats empowerment.

PressPass: .NET is an important long-term strategy for Microsoft to drive the next generation of the Internet. How does the


concept fit into that strategy?

Ballmer : With the launch of Windows 2000 and our.NET Enterprise Servers, we have a very strong family of enterprise offerings available today that offer customers enterprise-level quality, unprecedented speed and flexibility, and the empowerment solutions required to compete and succeed in todays digital economy. Over the next two years, we will be delivering other major elements of the .NET platform, including Visual Studio.NET and the .NET Framework. So the performance and flexibility of our software provides the agility customers must have to meet their enterprise needs today , and is the foundation of .NET, which will provide the infrastructure that enterprise customers will need tomorrow .

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