Shifting IT spending drives sales-force changes – Notebook

Looking at how company’s arrange their sales (and marketing) organizations is an interesting view into the effect of “cloud” on how IT is used and consumed. This week Microsoft is re-arranging it’s sales force to make it more cloud-friendly, people say.

From what I can tell with my dilettante analyst, Microsoft’s theory appears to be that:

  • sales people need to be more technically savvy on cloud,
  • have more vertical knowledge (how does cloud apply to my industry?), and,
  • target larger accounts (where the top and bottom line revenue is worth having a big sales venture, and to bring in volume and cash to public cloud).

Also, with 75% being outside of the US, it’s a dramatic change internationally.

Here’s some excerpts from coverage:

Summarized by Nicole Henderson:

The company said it is implementing the changes not to cut costs, but to improve how it handles sales; specifically, it said it will use employees who are more knowledgeable about specific verticals so they can sell bigger packages, CNBC reports.

As Microsoft vies for more enterprise cloud clients, having better trained salespeople, who are knowledgeable about a specific vertical, will mean they are better equipped to meet client needs. To that end, Microsoft said in an internal memo that it would split commercial sales into two segments – one targeting the biggest customers and one on small and medium clients. In addition, Microsoft employees will be aligned around six industry verticals – manufacturing, financial services, retail, health, education and government.

See also coverage from CNBC, and The Register’s coverage, e.g.:

With recent changes to its enterprise agreement to exclude smaller companies, Microsoft is focusing on bigger deals that require fewer staff, while everyone else gets shifted onto a per-person consumption payment model for Microsoft’s cloudy services.

We also discussed this briefly in this week’s Pivotal Conversations.

Shifting spending

Meanwhile, while this doesn’t capture all of the market-shift (you’d also want to see the shift from COTS to SaaS, infrastructure software, and then *aaS spend), some recent charting from IDC shows one of the motivations for changing up your sales approach, i.e., IT infrastructure (hardware) money is shifting around to public and private cloud stacks:

In the above, you see the blue bar slowly decreasing in the out-years meaning less “traditional” spend and more “cloud” spend. The pricing dynamics and units shipping in public cloud are all whack compared to private cloud (Google, Amazon, and Azure’s hardware needs are much different than private cloud needs), but looking at the red bar gives you an interesting perspective on new build out at enterprises. And, thus, you can get a sense for shifting buyer behaviors in IT…and why you’d want to re-arrange how you sell to them. See more recent details from IDC.

Link

More numbers on 2016 tech M&A, foreign cash hoards

A bit of a jumbled article for general audiences
, but some more numbers of tech companies’ cash on hand and numbers around 2016 acquisitions:

The value of software deals in 2016 topped $115 billion for acquisitions closed or pending, according to data gathered by Bloomberg. That’s up about 19 percent from 2015.

But:

Overall in 2016, the value of merger-and-acquisition business software deals totaled $117.6 billion.

And:

That doesn’t include the blockbuster tech deal of the year: Microsoft paying $26 billion for LinkedIn. LinkedIn does not fit neatly into the category of business software because of its professional networking tools that are used by workers outside of business hours.

Tech companies have lots of cash abroad. If the Trump folks reduce the tax down to 10%, the theory is many companies would bring that cash “back home” and could use it to buy things, and likely pay our dividends and do share buy backs:

Oracle and Microsoft have more than 80 percent of their cash, near-term cash and short-term investments in foreign subsidiaries, according to recent filings.

Who knows? It’s all a bit of a lamp-post analysis, but, sure: ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Source: Companies Anticipate Big Software Deals, With Help From Trump

ABB & Microsoft – more software eating 3D objects, i.e., IoT

Microsoft helping out ABB with some cloud ‘n’ IoT fun:

The most significant of these is a new alliance with Microsoft, whose Azure public cloud has been chosen to underpin ABB’s cloud, IoT and digital services across the ABB group. The companies will also work together on projects and services, although the extent of this will emerge over time. ABB also announced an internal reorganization and the appointment of a chief digital officer. All of these moves are part of ABB’s Next Level strategy, now in its third iteration, which sets out targets and priorities aimed at maintaining or increasing growth, profitability and value.

The agreement with Microsoft will help ABB offer cloud-based digital services across all its divisions. Functions such as monitoring, analytics, control, billing, forecasting, machine learning and many others will be delivered via applications and services hosted in Azure by Microsoft.

On ABB:

It has annual revenue of $35.4bn (2015) from operations in 100 countries, supplying switchgear, breakers, substations, generators, uninterruptible power supplies and power electronics, as well as management software.

Source: “ABB says the Next Level is digital, and Microsoft will help it get there”.

The new software sales model?

From Gavin Clarke’s piece on Microsoft’s head of sales leaving:

But the sales model had changed; it was becoming less about shipping more boxes at fat margins and more about persuading people they should download your service, buy on a subscription, pay for what you use.

The world of Nadella and the current reality of Microsoft couldn’t be more removed from the world of Turner. Today it’s a more complicated sell: on-premises remains the core of Microsoft’s income – desktop and server – but Microsoft is desperately trying to grow its cloud and data businesses. Neither involves destroying the competition; rather, it’s a more nuanced sale, a sale you don’t win by simply trashing the rivals.

The notion that enterprise tech sales have gone beyond zero-sum is tantalizing, but hard to imagine. Let’s hope so.

Also, the quotes from sales meeting keynotes are so, so sales-y that it’s almost “ugh” feeling.

How’s Microsoft doing with Yammer?

If we look at it from Yammer’s perspective, it’s been a good year. Being part of the Microsoft family has helped it grow its total user base by 60% in the last 12 months to almost 8 million users, and its number of paid networks has grown by 200%. Plus, Yammer’s 2012 full year sales almost tripled year over year, helped by a stellar Q4 performance.

Microsoft & Yammer: still a long way to go