There’s a critical measurement that we use inside Microsoft called “code velocity.” It’s a measurement of the time that passes from the point a software engineer checks in code to the moment that code is then live in the service. Code velocity is a measurement that really is only applicable to SaaS – it doesn’t make any sense in a client-server architecture.
In a SaaS architecture, the overall solution is made up of a number of micro services that can all be updated at will, completely independent of each other. In this model, a software engineer can make a change to a micro service and then flight that change to a small group of users in just a few hours. It is just crazy agile. I compare this to the world that I’ve lived in for the past 20 years of building client-server products and the level of agility made possible by a cloud/SaaS architecture is simply amazing.
What this really means for you is also simple and amazing: A constant stream of new functionality and value – and this value comes to you not on a yearly basis or a biannual basis, but constantly.
One great example of this continuing stream of functionality can be seen in the huge new value we introduced to Intune back in November and then again in December. The next major round of updates are currently live in our pre-production services and we’ll be rolling those out globally soon.
This is the kind of agility you are going to need in this world of Enterprise Mobility, and Microsoft alone has the right architecture to enable this.
Being in a position to deliver so much new value so quickly is thrilling, but it also introduces a significant challenge, namely: How do we alert you to the new capabilities, and how do you learn how to use them? This is an area where we have some more work to do, but I am really happy with a new website we just launched that provides this kind of information for all our corporate SaaS apps and the underlying Azure cloud platform: The Cloud Platform Roadmap site should be one the websites you bookmark and follow closely.
Here’s a really quick overview of what you’ll find on the Roadmap site – notably, you can click on any of the SaaS solutions you are using (or are interested in using) and you’ll see 4 categories for each service:
- Recently available
This is what has just released in the live service that is now available for use in production.
- Public preview
Capabilities that we have in the public preview for you to start testing and getting familiar. Speaking on behalf of Intune, AADP, Azure RMS and Azure RemoteApp: In most cases once a capability is in public preview it will move into availability pretty quickly – generally within a couple of months. Think of this period as similar to what we used to call beta for our on-premises products, but with a very short time in preview.
- In Development
These are things that we are actively working on at the moment but are not in the service yet. From an engineering point of view, this means that the specs are written, the architecture is complete, the capabilities are being built, and the scenario is committed to delivery.
There will be times when we have discovered that what we thought were valuable and necessary features for a specific segment of our customer base ultimately don’t work out. There are, obviously, very few things that should make it into this category. However, we want to be transparent about how things are working, so, if something is listed as in development and we get customer feedback that we should not release it, that info will be communicated here.
This Cloud Platform Roadmap site will be one of the core sites that I visit on a regular basis – and I encourage you to do the same. I just love that we are able to be this transparent about our roadmaps!