1 year, 3 months ago

Architect Your Predictive Analytics Capability To Unleash The Power Of Digital Business

Predictive analytics has become the key to helping businesses — especially those in the highly dynamic Chinese market — create differentiated, individualized customer experiences and make better decisions. Enterprise architecture professionals must t…

1 year, 3 months ago

Architect Your Predictive Analytics Capability To Unleash The Power Of Digital Business

Predictive analytics has become the key to helping businesses — especially those in the highly dynamic Chinese market — create differentiated, individualized customer experiences and make better decisions. Enterprise architecture professionals must t…

3 years, 1 month ago

Free Online Games: Microsoft, Google and Apple to meet EU Officials

EUROPEAN UNION officials have called a multi-party meeting to discuss selling practices used in online games. Internet giants Microsoft, Google and Apple will meet consumer groups and officials from various member states. The meeting is in response to growing criticism about the ease with which young children can amass online debts. European flag outside the […]

The post Free Online Games: Microsoft, Google and Apple to meet EU Officials appeared first on Business, Technology and Innovation.

3 years, 11 months ago

What Are You Doing To Get Off XP?

In case you haven’t heard Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP and Office 2003 in April of 2014. What this means is that Microsoft will no longer patch security vulnerabilities discovered in XP or Office 2003, and therefore there will be security holes discovered that can be exploited by hackers which will never be […]

4 years, 1 month ago

The Open Group works with Microsoft to create Open Management Infrastructure

OMI is a highly portable, easy to implement, high performance CIM/WS-Management Object Manager in OMI, designed specifically to implement the DMTF standards. OMI is written to be easy to implement in Linux and UNIX® systems. It will empower datacenter device vendors to compile and implement a standards-based management service into any device or platform in a clear and consistent way. The Open Group has made the source code for OMI available under an Apache 2 license. Continue reading

4 years, 4 months ago

Functional Organization at Microsoft

@iamjaygreene and @jimkerstetter of @CNETNews are not surprised by the departure of unpopular Windows boss Steven Sinofsky from Microsoft.

Some pundits (e.g. ZDnet’s Larry Dignan) had predicted that Sinofsfy would survive if Windows 8 was a
commercial success. By letting him go immediately after Windows 8 went live rather than waiting,
Ballmer has clearly signalled that it is not about Windows 8 success but
about something else.

In pieces written in the weeks before Sinofsky’s departure, Greene and Kerstetter mention the following issues.

  • Sinofsky successfully battled with Ray Ozzie for control of Windows Live Mesh. Ray Ozzie left Microsoft immediately after Ballmer folded Windows Live Mesh into Sinofsky’s organization.
  • According to unnamed critics within Microsoft, Sinofsky created a rigid product development process that puts more control in
    his hands and diminishes Microsoft’s ability to innovate.
  • In a similar fashion to Scott Forstall at Apple (who also lost his job recently), Sinofsky zealously promoted his group’s work at the expense of the rest of the company.
  • Manu Cornet’s cartoon of Microsoft’s organization chart is thought to be a reference to Sinofsky.

The comic is a set of 6 organizational charts, edges with arrows show who reports to whom. Amazon's is very traditional, each manager has exactly 2 people below her. Google's is colorful (nodes are colored red, green, yellow, blue) and is extremely messy. Edges are overlapping all over the place, it's unclear who reports to whom. Facebook looks like a social network with bidirectional arrows and a distributed structure. Microsoft's is divided in three sub-structures that are pointing guns at each other. Apple's is a circle with a large red dot in the center, and everyone around it reports to that red dot -- the arrow heads are particularly large and even the people two levels away from the center red dot also have arrows point at them coming directly from the red dot. Oracle's is divided into two sections, the first section is labelled 'Legal' and is huge, the second section is labelled 'Engineering' and is tiny.
Original cartoon by Manu Cornet

But this story isn’t just about personality clashes and organizational politics. Sinofsky has championed an approach to organization structure, which he calls Functional Organization, and this is described in a book called “One Strategy: Organization, Planning, and Decision Making,” (2009) co-written with Harvard Business School professor Marco Iansiti.

The Functional Organization builds management reporting lines around job functions — such as
product management, development, software testing. This may be contrasted with a Product Organization where multi-disciplinary teams work on specific
feature sets together.

Sinofsky and Iansiti argue that functional
organizations create clearer road maps for workers to march toward a
final goal. However, critics within Microsoft disagree. Apparently referring to Sinofsky’s Functional Organization, Charlie Kindel, another ex-Microsoft executive is quoted as saying that “it represents a siloed perspective, it represents an us versus them perspective”.  Another former senior executive (unnamed) has referred to the approach as “Soviet central-planning”, where tight control from the top squeezes out innovative thinking from below.

Announcing Sinofsky’s departure, and the appointment of Julie Larson-Green as his successor, Steve Ballmer wrote “The products and services we have
delivered to the market in
the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft. To
continue this success it is imperative that we continue
to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated
and rapid development cycles for our offerings. …  Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to
effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us
well as she takes on this new leadership role”.

(BBC News 13 November 2012)

So is this the end of the Functional Organization in Microsoft? Martin Fowler talks about the oscillation between FunctionalStaffOrganization and
TechnicalStaffOrganization, essentially the same dynamics (he reckons) as drive the
boom-bust cycle of EnterpriseArchitecture. (PreferFunctionalStaffOrganization). So perhaps now the cross-company silo-busting agenda will have the ascendency for a little while.

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