In the past three and a half decades, Microsoft have gone from success to success, building upon itself to create an empire. Today, Microsoft dominates the office suite market with the Microsoft Office program, runs the Windows operating system on over a billion computers, jointly founded the cable news station MSNBC, and controls a large share of the video games market through the Xbox franchise.
Alltech’s Information Technology breakout session focused on these facts, then turned to one of the men involved in taking this success into the future: Efrem Stringfellow, Microsoft’s Central Regional Manager for Corporate Accounts.
Stringfellow discussed the implications of technology for business, particularly consumerization of IT and improved quality of life due to technology. He started out with a quote from Lord Byron, “The past is the best prophet of the future”, but left it up to the audience to determine the accuracy of that assertion. Efrem particularly focused on the ‘new millenial’ generation, and how public demand for technology continues to revolutionize the IT industry. For example, right now, 70% of IT costs are maintenance so by the end of the year, Efrem predicts that over 20% of companies will have no longer have information stored onsite thanks to the newest frontier in IT; cloud computing.
During the Q&A session, Efrem fielded questions on everything from circular cycles in technology to what Microsoft is excited about right now. When asked whether he considered consumerization of IT a revolution, he answered passionately. As someone who has worked in the IT business for more or less its entire existence, he related stories of people coming in not knowing how to use a keyboard or plug in their computer. For Microsoft, therefore, it is magnificent to live in an age where almost everyone is comfortable with technology and knows how to use it. “I think [that] now, now they’re excited about what we do,” explained Efrem, “And so, they want more.” He then gave his own advice for IT departments and companies facing this ‘more’ attitude: “Own it, work with them, but set expectations about what it is realistic to expect.” Those are definitely words to live by, in any industry.