REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 12, 2006 – Microsoft today announced that Corporate Vice President Satya Nadella has been selected to succeed Doug Burgum as the leader of Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS). For the last five years, Nadella has been responsible for MBS research and development (R&D) worldwide.
PressPass spoke with Microsoft Business Division President Jeff Raikes and Satya Nadella about the transfer of leadership, how Burgum’s role will evolve, and the direction of MBS.
PressPass: Why was Satya Nadella chosen after an extensive internal and external search for a new MBS leader?
Raikes: After conducting an exhaustive search for the right candidate, Doug and I ultimately realized that one of our own internal candidates, who we recognized as a top contender at the very beginning of the process, was and is the strongest candidate for the job; that person is Satya Nadella. Satya has been instrumental in partnering with Doug and the MBS leadership team to drive growth in this critical business for Microsoft. He has proven talents in leading an R&D team located across the world in Copenhagen, Fargo, Hyderabad and Redmond. He has a relentless focus on our customers and partners and their unique needs.
Satya’s contributions are too long to list so I will highlight what I consider to be the breakthrough contribution he has made with Microsoft Dynamics: Since 2001 he has shipped 10 major software releases spanning Dynamics ERP, CRM and Office Small business product lines. He is also the architect of the group’s innovative wave one and two Dynamics product roadmap strategy, delivering wave one commitments that focus on the role-based experience, portal and collaboration capabilities, SQL and Office-based business intelligence, and easy integration via Web Services throughout the current Microsoft Dynamics product line. Satya and his team are readying Dynamics wave two, which will focus on taking the core business logic and making it model driven, and bringing together the “best of functionality” across the product lines. So, as you can see, I am quite excited about Satya assuming the leadership position for Microsoft Dynamics as we continue to drive our core vision and take the business into its next stage of growth and innovation.
PressPass: How did the introduction of Microsoft’s Live strategy impact the search?
Raikes: Within the Microsoft Business Division we are pursuing a strategy that involves a blend of software products and software services to deliver the best value to customers. The work we are doing developing Office Live and Dynamics CRM Live are great examples of this, and for the new position we needed a leader with strong experience and vision in both the hosted world and the on-premise business applications world. We realized we had that leader with Satya, who was one of the Internet pioneers at Microsoft, going all the way back to his work on Commerce Server, BizTalk server and the creation and launch of the bCentral hosted small business service in 2000.
Satya Nadella, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Group. Click image for high-res version.
PressPass: Now that you have announced a new Microsoft Dynamics Leader, what role will Doug Burgum play between now and his departure?
Raikes: First of all, I want to thank Doug for the amazing contributions he has brought not only to this business but to Microsoft as well. He has been a dynamic leader who has essentially rebuilt an airplane while it was in flight. Doug’s leadership skills, his ability to build vital customer and partner relationships, and his incredible knowledge of business applications have been instrumental in helping Microsoft learn about this unique market, and the power of marrying the two worlds of business process software and business productivity software to work the way people in an organization work. Now that he has a strong successor in place, Doug has made the difficult decision to announce his departure from Microsoft following a nine-month transition period. He is deeply committed to working with Satya and me to ensure that Satya is set up for success, and that the business is not disrupted in any manner. We have been incredibly fortunate to have Doug’s passion for the power of software to improve millions of customers’ business lives.
PressPass: First of all congratulations, Satya. How are you feeling about assuming the leadership position for Microsoft Dynamics?
Nadella: I am excited and eager to accept the challenge! I passionately believe in our MBS business, our Microsoft Dynamics offerings, and the company’s ability to bring business solutions that really make a positive difference in the business lives of the millions of customers and partners throughout the world. This is at the heart of the company’s ‘People Ready’ vision to develop software that is more adaptable to a customer’s needs. Our vision – delivered through the Dynamics product roadmap – has the potential to drive such an evolution in business software – delivering software that is more relevant to business customers and simply works the way they work.
PressPass: Can you tell us what you will be focusing on first as you assume the leadership role?
Nadella: I will continue to focus on exactly what the Business Solutions group has been focusing on, which is bringing the power of business software to our customers and partners. Doug and the leadership team have done a phenomenal job building this business, as is demonstrated by a 15 percent growth in license revenue and a US$38 million operating profit last quarter. We will now take the business to the next level, and we’ve talked before about how role-based productivity, collaboration and business intelligence are what will drive this growth. These themes, along with the ability to extend the Microsoft Dynamics platform, will continue to be part of our focus, and will become more apparent in the coming months with the availability of Office 2007 and tools such as the Office Business Application Services.
PressPass: From a competitive perspective, and as the new leader of this business, what worries you the most?
Jeff Raikes, President, Microsoft Business Division. Click image for high-res version.
Nadella: We want to make it easier for businesspeople to use software to run their businesses. Certainly the industry is filled with challenges, but I believe wholeheartedly in our vision and strategy because it is based on exactly what our customers and partners have told us they want, and it maps incredibly well to our core capabilities as a business and as a company. This conviction is strengthened by the rapid growth that Microsoft Dynamics CRM enjoyed last quarter, with a growth of 50,000 customers. Yes, we will still compete hard, and we are relentless in delivering relevant business solutions to our customers, regardless of their role, their location or the size of their business.
PressPass: How do you think your customers and partners will react to this announcement?
Nadella: I fully intend to continue the tradition established by Doug’s deep passion and commitment to customer and partner success. We have a leadership team that is proven and consistent, so customers and partners should experience no disruption in the business or in their communication channels with the company. We will continue to work closely with them to provide the tools and information they need to do their jobs. PressPass: MBS has a number of high-profile products slated for release this year, including the much anticipated Dynamics CRM Live — is there a risk that a change at the leadership level will impact shipment of major products?
Nadella: No, not at all. There is a rock-solid commitment to remaining focused on delivering against the strong and innovative product pipeline we currently have in place. Specifically, we have delivered Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4.0, Dynamics GP 9.0, Microsoft Dynamics SL 6.5 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0. We are now on track to deliver Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live, Microsoft Dynamics GP 10, Microsoft Dynamics SL 7.0, Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5.0 and other products in the pipeline over the coming year – as we have promised. The investment and energy in driving hard against our wave one and two strategies will not change and customers will continue to see these investments come to fruition in the form of some of the most innovative solutions in the market.