Remarks by Sanjay Parthasarathy, Corporate Vice President, Developer & Platform Evangelism Group, Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007
July 11, 2007
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sanjay Parthasarathy.
SANJAY PARTHASARATHY: Good morning. It’s great to be here. You know, every year for the past five years, or is it six, I’ve been up here telling you what a great opportunity, a business opportunity, .NET is for all our partners. And we’ve come a long way together since we first announced .NET in 2000. I want to say thank you for that. This year, we surveyed tens of thousands of developers every year, and this year we found that over 70 percent of developers worldwide are using .NET in one way or the other. And, more importantly, in every geography that we do this survey in, which is about 60 countries, .NET leads J2, and it really is because of all your help and support that we can declare .NET, I think, a success.
One reason, one very good reason that .NET has been successful is that it’s good for business. It’s good for your business, it’s good for our business. And we did an analysis of about 308 ISVs with revenue greater than US$10 million, and we found that ISVs with a .NET solution just grew faster over the past three years. And so .NET’s great technology, and it’s great for both our businesses. And we’re going to continue to invest in .NET, invest really heavily, not just on the server side with ASP.net, but with visual experience and presentation with WPF, with XMA for gaming, with Compact Framework for mobile applications, and our latest investment, which is Silverlight.
Now, I know you’ve been hit over the head with Silverlight the last couple of days, but I do want to kind of emphasize that Silverlight is very, very cool. It does HD video in a browser. You can use any one of the 37 languages in .NET to write a program in the browser. It’s downloading in less than 20 seconds. It’s cross-browser, it’s cross-platform, it’s great stuff. And our investment in Silverlight, as well as in Expression, and in VisualStudio.net really speaks to our commitment to making sure that .NET continues to be a great platform, a technology platform, and a business platform for you.
So, what next? We certainly live in interesting times, don’t we? If you go by the jargon, the three-letter acronyms, the four-letter acronyms, it’s never been better or the industry to parse through all of these terms. One of the more interesting debates in the industry right now is the one around software versus services. It’s kind of a strange debate, because services really is software after all. But it’s interesting because services do have a lot of advantages, don’t they. What you can do, pay as you go pricing, that’s one advantage of services. You can outsource your operations. Who likes to do operations anyway if you can get somebody else to do it. It’s great to have instrumentation around the services, so as people use features, you can invest in just those features. Trial is easy, just have the customers sign up for those services.
But what happens when you have to have a rich interactive experience? What happens when you want to have offline capability? What happens when you want to have control, flexibility? What happens when you want to do extensibility and integration? That’s where on premise software really does have its advantages.
So for me it’s not so much about software versus services, it really is about software plus services. Why not take advantage of the advantage of services, and the advantages of software. Now software plus services has become kind of a mystical term these days, what is it? You know, am I doing software plus services? How should I do this? And I find it really useful to kind of look at a few attributes of software plus services. Every software plus service application has an experience that transcends devices, so on a PC, or on TV, or on a mobile device. It also uses different monetization models, you can be a subscription model, an ad funded model, or just our good old license-based software model. It can be delivered on premise or hosted. That’s another attribute of software plus service. Composition is an important attribute, this is about aggregating the services so you can deliver a single experience. And federation is about how services talk to each other.
So when I think about software plus services, I really look to these five attributes. And what’s interesting is, when the industry refers to Web 2.0, they really are talking about a Web experience with advertising-based monetization. When the industry talks about software as a service, they’re really talking about software delivery, which is hosted software. And when they talk about SOA, or they really talk about composition, service composition, and federation.
Our view of software plus services really encompasses what the industry has been talking about. The fun thing is, our customers and partners have been doing software plus services now for quite some time. There is a real business opportunity out there, and there is a business opportunity because customers really value software, the advantages of software, and the advantages of services. So I want to give you a little bit of a sense of what customers and partners are doing today in software plus services, and I want to invite Robert Hess, Robert if you want to join me please, let’s give people a view of a mission critical application. Take it away, Robert.
ROBERT HESS: Thanks, Sanjay.
Now we all know that airports are rather complex infrastructures. Essentially a city amongst themselves. The Zurich Airport is no different. The Zurich Airport, however, had a problem, there were 28 airports in the European area that they’re taking and modeling, and trying to find out who is better than whom, and Zurich was number 27. They knew they needed to solve some of the problems they had at the airport dealing with congestion, dealing with traffic flow, and dealing with moving customers around through the airport, and getting them into the skies effectively.
So through (Uniques ?), their partner that they’re dealing with all of the air traffic control issues at the Zurich Airport, they also took and partnered up with two other companies (Neropi ?) and (Zulich ?). And these two companies bet on .NET. Originally they took and totally rearchitected the entire communication infrastructure within the Zurich Airport to rely on .NET Web Services to provide a services architecture that allowed all of the communications to be routed to anywhere they needed to go to. The new problem they had is getting all that rich, rich data in front of eyeballs in such a way that they could be comprehended. What they ended up doing was taking and relying on WPF. As soon as they saw what WPF could do for them, they realized it could solve their problems. It could provide a rich, graphical infrastructure to display data in a very rich, and obvious fashion. So here we have here, we can see the Zurich Airport. They’ve got a view they can scroll around with, they can look at anything that’s going on. If you look very closely, you can see a little teeny airplane right there. Well, just by taking and zooming in on the airplane a bit, we can take and enlarge it.
Now, without me really telling you anything about what you’re seeing, you should be able to actually understand what’s happening here. You can see the airplanes getting ready to fly off. You can see this one airplane that’s getting ready to go right now is mostly red, meaning it’s mostly full of passengers, which is a good sign. You can see these other two airplanes over here that are mostly green, meaning that they’re right now in the stage of boarding.
Let’s go ahead and speed up the process here a bit. We can actually see these airplanes take off. We can see the airline number associated with the airplane flying with it, as we hover over an airplane, we can see over here on this side what will drop down and show us more information about that airplane. We can take and look at it from passenger load to delay time. We can look at it based on airline. We can also take and want to look at just airplanes from a particular area, we can look at just their airlines. So we can really graphically understand all of the complex data that’s happening through this airport. This shows the importance of not only having a services architecture, but allowing this information to truly pass between all the different end points that need that information, but it also shows the importance of having a rich visual mechanism by which you can display that information to users. This is not something you display on a standard green screen. We need things far more complicated, and capable of displaying information in a rich fashion there.
So this is how Zurich solved their problem, and now Zurich Airport, rather than being number 26 of 27, after implementing their solution they’re number eight of 27.
SANJAY PARTHASARATHY: Thank you, Robert. (Applause.)
So that’s a software plus services application that exists today. You could go on the Web and you can find that today.
Now let’s take a look at the attributes that I talked about. They used WPF here for the experience. The service is available to consumers on the Web, you can go in and take a look at how the Zurich Airport is doing. The data is cached, so that you see it only 15 minutes later, it’s not real-time. But the air traffic controllers get real-time data. And they use, you know, the traditional license-based software model to get access to those servers. Now, of course, a partner helped Zurich Airport with services and consulting. This application was on premise for the air traffic controllers, and it was hosted for the consumer. There was no advertising in this particular case. The composition was done using .NET, using .NET Web Services, and Active Directory for federation so that they would know exactly which air traffic controller was logged in.
So this is a software plus service application that has been built and is being used by customers and partners today. Now, software plus services can be applied to multiple scenarios. It can be applied in the enterprise, to a line of business application scenario, to an Internet scenario, it can be applied on the Web, it can be applied to devices, mobile applications. It can be applied to entertainment and gaming applications. So really this is about finding the right problem to solve with software plus services.
So let me take you through one of my favorite scenarios of software plus services. I call this Office Business Applications, OBA, and it’s a wonderful application. It uses Office as a front end, a user interface; it uses SharePoint to aggregate and integrate a whole host of backend enterprise software. And the reason it’s so interesting, so exciting, is because customers think, customers believe, customers know that more of their employees can use the software easily, faster, because they’re used to the Office user interface. They also love it because it unlocks the business value that has so long remained dormant, latent in their backend application.
So I want to have Robert give you a sense of what an Office Business Application is by taking you through another example with Scripps. Robert.
ROBERT HESS: Thanks, Sanjay.
So Scripps is a large company, they’re one of the world’s largest research institutes with partners scattered all across the globe. Not only their research scientists, but also the partners that are assisting them through various stages of their day. They need to allow all these partners to communicate amongst themselves extremely efficiently. They have a collaboration problem. So what they wanted to do is, they can create a tool that, again, provided both rich data visualization based upon the complex molecular structures that you find yourselves always working with, but they also want to take and solve their collaboration problem to allow all their different researchers all around the world to, in real-time, interact with one another.
They did this in two steps. One part of the solution was building a smart client application that used WPF to have a 3D visualization features added to it. However, the backend services they needed to rely upon was something that was solid, standard, and all the scientists already knew how to use. That was a combination of SharePoint as well as various Office tools as well.
So what we see right now is the smart client application. Let me go ahead and connect back up to their backend root site. Now in this particular example, I’m actually going to be hitting their live SharePoint site, and this illustrates the capability that anybody, no matter where they are in the world who has the proper credentials can interact with the Scripps researchers to allow them to take and share data back and forth. And by using SharePoint as their backend services infrastructure, it allows them to take and roll out a very comprehensive set of tools, that provides collaboration, it provides document retention, it provides document management. In this particular case, let’s just kind of dive into their entities page, and we can see here a list of documents that they’re storing on their servers.
If we dive into one of those documents we can see here that this is some particular research project that’s being worked on. We can see rich visualization, we can see the molecular structure, we can see information about that, and fro any doctors in the audience, maybe you can actually understand what they’re taking about. Myself, not being a doctor, I can’t. So I won’t even pretend to. But, this is illustrating how SharePoint can allow these doctors to collaborate clear across the world.
Let’s go back to their smart client applications. Now, here we see that we have a list of entities. Now, previously we were looking at the entity page on their SharePoint site. This application is communicating to the SharePoint servers and showing those exact same entity lists associated there. So we now have a smart client application, using a services infrastructure, calling back to the SharePoint Web services to allow this collaboration now to take the next step, and have a custom-designed solution to utilize that same information that’s stored on SharePoint.
Let’s dive into one of these molecules. So what I’m doing now is reaching in and grabbing the textual description of one of the molecules that these researchers are working on. They’re trying to solve some of the various medical problems that are facing the world today. And here we have a 3D representation, using WPF. Because it’s 3D I can zoom in, I can zoom out, I can even take and rotate it. I can find some particular thing that I’m interested in, zoom in, rotate it into view perhaps, select a section of it, and get more data.
So this is all really important. And, again, if I was a doctor I could actually tell you what I’m looking at here, but I’m not a doctor. But, they do have doctors that are focusing on these problems. And that’s where annotations come in handy. So here now, here is a list of annotations associated with this molecule. Let me select one of them, and when I select it, it automatically redisplays the information based upon what that particular scientist was wanting to focus on.
If I double click on the annotation, this now reaches into SharePoint, grabs the annotation information that that particular doctor or researcher wanted to associate here, and lets me see access to it. But, we can do more than that. Let’s pick another one. Here’s another view of a molecule, and if I double click on it we, again, go into SharePoint. We now are calling back into the SharePoint server, and extracting some of the rich document information that a doctor wanted to take and set up for this.
By using this, this allows us to take and really attach as rich information as we possibly can think of associated here. In this particular case, the doctor chose to use PowerPoint. Perhaps he’s getting prepared to do some seminar someplace, and he wants to take and view this molecule, and share with his other researchers around the world what he’s doing. But, the fact that we can attach SharePoints, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or anything associated with the document, that allows all the researchers to use the Office tools they’re familiar with, their SharePoint infrastructure they’re familiar with, and use it in a customized fashion, getting access to the rich data, and rich visualization they need.
So that’s the basics of their applications, but it doesn’t end there. When you think about doctors in any sort of complex world, you always have this concept of moving from point A to point B, what we call a workflow. Workflow is very important here. And they need to take and have a workflow that helps them model and maintain, and organize how they’re taking and allowing their processes to move forward.
In this particular example, we’re looking at a workflow for patient processing. The patient comes in, a sample is taken, that sample is broken up into four slides, those slides are processed, and the work begins. That’s just one small piece of the workflow necessary to actually do the full patient processing. I’m now looking at the master workflow diagram, and we can see that patient processing piece right here. If I hide that down, I can now see it implemented here as just one small step amongst a whole list of several other steps, each one of these steps, likewise, could have a very complex and organized structure associated.
If we come clear down to the bottom here, we see that we have this results within tolerance decision. It either is, or is not within tolerance. If it is within tolerance, we take and approve the results, and go off and do another report. If it’s not within tolerance, maybe you might want to add something here. Let’s say if we have a result not within tolerance, we want to generate some e-mail to alert somebody to this fact. So we have this little decision point here. I can just grab this little e-mail structure, drag, drop it over here, and over in the properties we can see I can take and set any one of the e-mail aspects associated here.
I can click on subject, double click, and here I can attach a data-bound element from my existing data store to this particular subject line, or I can take and mathematically calculate something else. I can add some programming to it, anything I want to do to actually generate this e-mail appropriately. So we can see now here the rich capabilities we have within workflow to be able to generate and organization this structure without really needing to do any programming at all. And that’s the way Scripps is solving their problem of allowing their researchers around the world to collaborate, using SharePoint as a collaboration engine, using Office Tools to allowing them to take and work with data in the tools that they know how to work with, and Web services to take and expose that data to a smart client application with WPF providing a rich data visualization.
SANJAY PARTHASARATHY: Thank you, Robert. So that, too, is a software plus service application, which uses Office, both the Office client, and SharePoint as a front end for the experience. It also uses WPF for the rich 3D visualization that you saw there. In terms of the business model here, it was a traditional licensing business model that Scripps used, but in this case (Inanology ?), which is a partner, also added their consulting and integration services on top of that. The delivery was both on-premise for Scripps researchers that were on-premise, but Robert was using it in a hosted fashion, because he was accessing it off-premise. The composition here was done with SharePoint Services and the workflow stuff that Robert showed you, and obviously active directory was involved in terms of the user authentication.
So I think OBAs are an incredible business opportunity for partners, both ISVs, and services and consulting partners. And the reason I believe that is because it delivers immediate value to customers, immediate value. Users, or employees, at customers who find it hard, or difficult, or impossible to access SAP, or Oracle, or any other enterprise application at the back end can really very simply start to access that information, using Office and SharePoint as the user interface.
Then the company benefits, because all of that valuable information that’s stored in the back end can now be put to good use, and not just information in transaction-oriented systems, but also information in e-mail, unstructured information on Web sites, and it really is a wonderful opportunity, I think, to bridge both structured and unstructured data to extract the most amount of knowledge that resides within a customer, within the enterprise. So I think OBAs are a great opportunity for partners, and this is an area we’re spending a lot of time, and energy, and investment, in making sure we have the right platform for you.
Now, another scenario that is really important and interesting for partners is the Web scenario. The Web increasingly is bringing together entertainment, video, social networks, all of these new technologies and we want to be able to support that within our software plus services platform. But, before I go into it in any more detail let me have Robert take you through another application, another example of what a customer and partner is doing, in this case Netflix.
ROBERT HESS: Thanks, Sanjay.
So Netflix came onto the market with a breakthrough way of getting people the information they need, in the form of DVDs. Having them delivered straight to them at their doorstep. One of the ways that allowed them to do this was by leveraging the Web, allowing users to see the movies, select the movies, put them in their queue, and have them automatically be processed.
So Netflix understands the power of the Web to assist them in getting their jobs done, but they can’t sit still. They need to make sure they’re constantly innovating, constantly moving forward, and constantly trying to improve their offerings to give their users the best possible experience. So they’ve teamed up with Avenue A | Razorfish to help them identify how they can take and increase the user model through the Web, with movies.
One of the ways they’re doing this is by actually allowing users to stream movies straight from the Web, in HD quality, on their desktops, or to their large screen TVs, like a lot of people have connected up in their homes today.
Let’s take a look at how this might work. I can take and click on a movie, the Netflix logo, letting users know who is providing them with that wonderful experience, comes up. The movie starts streaming down, and immediately starts playing. Now we see here that I take and have some of these rich controllers I can interact with it with. I can take and come here, and take a look at the chapters, skip over the title if I want to, skip to the favorite part I had, or return to the movie to a place I had to stop before, because something else got in the way. But, I can watch this movie in an extremely rich fashion wherever I want it, whenever I want it.
Now, let’s take the notion of we’ve got a second person who wants to take and watch a movie. This time I want to watch Hunt for Red October. Now, imagine, if you will, that these two screens represent two different people, one person on one machine, another person on another machine. I unfortunately am one person with one machine, so I’m doing them both on this one screen like this.
In this particular case this user is wanting to watch Hunt for Red October. He’s watching it, he’s enjoying it an awful lot. And he wants to take and share that experience with his friend. Well, since they’re using Silverlight, and since Silverlight takes and supports the rich .NET programming infrastructure inside of it, Avenue A | Razorfish was able to taken and do a lot of great features built into this application, using real code. So I can come down here, come to the extras section, go to shared viewing, and I can now see my friends currently online. All this happens programmatically within the Silverlight experience.
I can click on Neil, invite him to watch, and Neil, wherever he’s currently watching on his screen sees that I’ve been asked to join Hunt for Red October. And I can agree to watching that, and we’ll see here he’s synchronizing. And what’s happening now is taking and they’re making sure that where I’m watching automatically synchronizes to where he’s watching. The movie streams down to that session, and now we have the exact same experience going on in two households, separated all across the world. (Applause.)
So this illustrates how Netflix and Avenue A | Razorfish are focusing on moving forward with the experiences, leveraging the latest technologies, and capabilities to give their users the best possible experience, and maintain their position in business. Thank you very much.
SANJAY PARTHASARATHY: Thanks, Robert.
That, too, is a software plus services application on the Web, entertainment, lots of video, in this case Silverlight was the user experience. You could watch it on TV, you could watch it on a PC, because it’s HD video. The monetization model in this case was subscription, both offline, and as is traditional for Netflix, but in this case it is an online subscription. The delivery is purely hosted, in this case, right. The composition here was all using .NET, because of the functionality in Silverlight, because of the functionality in Netflix’s backend. And the federation here was their own proprietary authentication.
So you can bring in arbitrary proprietary Web services and federate them with other services in order to provide the best possible experience.
This is another area, just like OBA, I think is an incredible opportunity for partners, bringing together the entertainment capability, Web capability, social networking capability, the video capability. I believe almost every Web site, whether it’s a boring old corporate enterprise Web site, or a jazzy, flashy consumer Web site is going to use video, visualization, social networking capabilities. And it’s a great opportunity for partners. And what we’re doing here is enabling you, giving you the platform that’s simple, easy, end-to-end, uses .NET from end-to-end, gives you the best way to build those compelling applications and experiences quickly, cheaply, and use all the experience that you’ve gained by betting with us on .NET over the last 5 to 7 years.
Now, you’ve probably noticed that all the demos that we did really were visual. They had 3D, it was a good experience. And I think visual experiences is another great opportunity for partners in the next three to five years. Why do I think that? Well, there’s been research that shows that people make better decisions when given visual information, than if that same information is given to them in text, or in Excel spreadsheets. So enterprises really are starting to use visual information, so that their employees can make better decisions.
An obvious example, air traffic controllers, would you rather have a visual view of the airport, or a text-based view of that same information? People make better decisions, but consumers also like visual, because it gives them an emotional connection. An emotional connection to the Web site, to the application, and that, too, is very useful. That is very important, because it keeps the loyalty of those consumers, those users who are not part of your enterprise.
So that’s why I think visual experiences are an incredible opportunity for partners, because over the next 5 to 10 years, actually, over the next one, two, three, five years, people are going to put more visual capability into all applications. There’s a ton of information in every app that can benefit by visualization. And that’s why we’ve invested so deeply in visualization technology, first with Windows Presentation Foundation in Vista, and now with Silverlight. So you have the .NET capability extending from the rich client, from PCs, all the way into the browser as a plug-in with Silverlight. And this is an area I think is I’ll say it again, it’s a great opportunity for partners.
Now, partners and customers are already doing, taking advantage of these visual capabilities in Windows Presentation Foundation. Here’s an example, Dassault Systems with Catia. Now this is an environment that lends itself to visualization. What about (Otto ?) in Germany, which is the largest e-store in Europe, or (Iconics ?) for process management, or Arriba for managing an electricity power grid. All of these applications benefit from visual information. Even Yahoo, in order to establish greater loyalty with its best customers, does a very visual front end for its instant messaging service.
So this is another area I just want to make sure that you all all the partners out here do take the time and the energy, because I do think customers are willing to pay for it, and it pays them back for their business. So I want to close with five calls to action, or five of the things that I think you should all go out and do at the end of this presentation.
First, I’m a big believer in OBA, Office Business Applications. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy to build the material, build the technology, build the products to help you build OBAs. For those of you who are familiar with the SAP Duet product, Duet is an OBA. And customers want Duet, customers want OBA. Go to OBA Central, we spent a lot of time with our architects building quick starts, jump start kits, rapid architecture packs to get you going, whether it’s loan processing, or retail store management, we built OBAs to get you going quickly. So this is a great thing for you to go spend some time in. And then we will also market and publicize the OBAs that you build at OBA Central. So this is a great opportunity that you should not turn down.
The second thing I would love to have you do is learn to host your applications. We’re going to have license-based business models monetization for a long time, but a lot of these applications are going to the Web. It’s better to get going now. You can find this page, if you go to any of the search engines and type in SAAS right after the Wikipedia entry, you will find the architectural guidance for SAAS from Microsoft from MSDN. So that’s probably an easier way for you to access it. We spent a lot of energy putting together guidelines and practices for moving your existing applications to a hosted environment, or if you want to re-architecting your applications for a hosted environment.
The third thing I would like you to do, if you’re an ISV, is join the ISV community. We’ve got a lot of offerings, programs, and benefits for ISVs. This is a special class of partners. And we thought we’d make it a little simpler for you by putting everything we have in one place. So this is a good place to go visit. Anything you ever wanted to know, if you’re an ISV, or even if you’re not an ISV, if you’re a partner, go here, you’ll find it.
The fourth thing, we’re launching the next wave in a few months, as Andy mentioned, and people want to get, partners want to get going. What happens if you want to get going, and build an application, get skills on Windows Server 2008? Go to InnovateOn.com. We’ve put together all of the quick start guidance, sample code that partners love and use for Windows Server 2008. You’ll also find all of that same capability for Office Live, for Dynamics, for SQL, for Visual Studio, for Vista, for Office, all on InnovateOn. So this is a great way to get going with sample code and guidance to build your next application, your next solution.
And, finally, my favorite topic, user experience. Really do spend the time to learn WPF, and Silverlight, because I do think in five years the applications in the software industry are going to look dramatically different, and they’re going to be very much more of a visual 3D video-based experience, and with Silverlight you really can get a jumpstart on the rest of the industry.
So, with that, I want to say thank you. Thank you for all the help and support and energy you’ve put behind .NET. .NET is successful because of you. We’re investing more in .NET because of you. Take advantage of .NET because I do think it makes really good business. Thank you very much. (Applause.)