Yes yes .... I know ... there has been a little bit of a drought on my blog of late. I have been busy over the last few months or so with preparation for the second half of the Microsoft financial year, a ski holiday, taking my motorbike test and a few other bits and bobs, but I will am now back 'typing fit' for the new year.
Given we are now in the first week of the 2008, I thought I would take a little time to reflect on the last 12 months. Going through my own blog posts, I am actually in awe of how far we have come along with the Microsoft Unified Communications vision. If anyone ever says to me that the pace of change is too slow and we are not delivering, I will be sure to point them towards this post.
Sit down, buckle up and prepare yourself for a whistle-stop tour of 2007 !
- December 2006 - A little over 1 year ago, I made a post on my blog about the Release to Manufacturing of Exchange 2007 (December 8th 2007). This was the start of a year of UC announcements from Microsoft. Who would have thought that 12 months later we would be so much further along the UC journey?
- Jan 1st - 2007 started off with me placing a piece of paper over my phone to see if I could live without using it. I thought this could be a bit of a challenge but actually it was the first of many changes to my desktop.
- March – During March we made a number of announcements at Voicecon. The public beta of Office Communications Server 2007 became available and we predicted that in the next 3 years 100 million people will be using Microsoft VOIP technology from the desktop via Office. At the time these predications seemed impossible, the product wasn’t even complete, at the end of 2007, I now think that this is more than possible.
- May – The dev team are still working on OCS but we also announce that a number of vendors have also been working hard on producing devices. Later that month, a number of those devices arrive on my desk and being able to call from my desktop becomes even more of a reality, only a matter of time before the phone on my desk goes surely. Also in May, Outlook Web Access has its 10th birthday party with over 135 million users, I think its aged quite well and becoming a great companion to Outlook itself.
- June – 22nd of June my telephone number is moved over to OCS. The product has not finished yet but I figure its not right to be talking to people about it unless I am using it fully myself. My desk phone is unplugged, never to see the light of day again.
- July – 7 months after Exchange, OCS and associated technologies e.g. Livemeeting, Microsoft Roundtable, Communicator are all released to manufacturing. Not even a year has gone by and we have gone from mail, calendar and contacts in Exchange 2003 to Outlook Voice Access and Unified Messaging in Exchange 2007 and now data, video and voice from the desktop using Communicator. Unified Communications isn’t the future, it’s the present!.
- August – The march of Microsoft UC continues with the licensing of our RT Audio Codecs to a number of vendors. At the same time, Skype has a major blackout, a good reminder that although VOIP is available for free, there are advantages to running this technology within your enterprise rather than relying on a consumer product.
- October – After months of preparation, October sees launch of OCS around the world including the UK. The culmination of a lot of late nights and early mornings for a lot of people within Microsoft sees 1000s of people in the UK experiencing Microsoft UC first hand.
- November – Hot of the heels of the OCS launch, Exchange Unplugged Tour 2007 saw the UK team travelling up and down the country talking to partners and their customers about the Microsoft UC platform, we were so ‘on fire’ we even managed to fry a power supply.
- December - As 2007 comes to a close, Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1 is released to web. For those that have been ‘waiting for SP1’, now is the time to start deploying Exchange 2007 and OCS 2007. If the last 12 months is anything to go by, if you don’t do it now you are going to find yourself way behind the curve!
As you can see, 2007 has been quite a year from Microsoft Unified Communications and this post reminds me a) why I work in UC and b) why I work a Microsoft. Real progress can only occur when someone makes 'big bets' and increases the pace of change. I like to think that's exactly what we have done in 2007!