Saturday, September 29, 2012

Microsoft's Plan To Boost Skilled Workforce Shows Promise

On April 2, 2012, I wrote a blog article called IT's Lost Generation that discussed the talent drain that was going to be recognized over the next 10 to 12 years as 10,000 Baby Boomers retire each day. The recent news from Microsoft shows that the STEM crisis is hitting much earlier and it will deepen soon.

In my article I discussed what I thought attributed to the cause, "Generally speaking, this growing issue is becoming very apparent to most large companies. What has caused this problem? Here are some key contributors that have happened over the past 10 years - depleted staffing levels due to anemic budgets, outsourcing, off-shoring, and stagnate growth opportunities. The recent economic downturn has exasperated the issue. With an 8.3% unemployment rate there is a deep pool of 35 to 50 year old men and women seeking jobs. They are people that are willing to take significantly less money because they have been unemployed for a substantial amount of time. Moreover, it has caused immobility for the current IT staff. People are staying in their current jobs longer, not seeking other opportunities, and they are not being promoted up the ranks because of the extensive amount of layoffs over the past 3 years. In many large companies, the same people have staffed entry-level IT positions for 10 years; there isn't a healthy infusion of young talent entering IT."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Microsoft's Bold New Approach

It has been a few weeks since I have posted, sometimes life just gets in the way of my desire to participate in social media. But, today, I wanted to give my thoughts on Microsoft's new business approach with the upcoming release of several products and the strong push into cloud computing with Microsoft Azure.

Let me just say, I think this is the most exciting update to the Microsoft family of products since Windows 95. Do you remember the hype around Windows 95? Microsoft licensed the Rolling Stones "Start Me Up" song for their advertisements. On August 24, 1995, news reports showed lines around the corner of consumers eagerly waiting to get a copy of the new operating system. I wasn't among the die-hard people waiting at midnight to pick up a copy at CompUSA, but I did get a copy the very next morning. It had several new features included in the 32-bit operating system; however, I was a gamer and the most important feature for me was plug and play. Being a gamer required the use of 3rd party video and sound cards, with Windows 3.x there was the painful process of working with the BIOS settings, motherboard pin positions, and IRQ settings to get all your device to work on your desktop, it was never a pleasant experience. In Windows 95, the new plug and play feature orchestrated all this. Huzzah!

Although cosmetically future versions of Windows became more polished, the GUI presentation remained relatively the same. Windows 8 is a bold new approach. The metro-style interface was contrived from the German modernist movement of the 1920s and 1930s, the Bauhaus school. It looks at the essential nature of the object, simplicity and functionality. Sam Moreau stated it was, "Reducing down to the most beautiful form and function - that's what the Bauhaus was all about."

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