Microsoft's Unification Is Already a Smashing Success

Months after Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) major reorganization, evidence is emerging that the new strategy is starting to pay off. The move is making Microsoft function a bit more like it did years ago, and slightly more like its major competitor Apple.

Increasing productivity and decreasing internal competition
As a recent CITEworld article points out, many Microsoft employees are seeing an increase in collaboration across multiple segments of the company, instead of just hunkering down to work on one product or service. Dave Campbell, Microsoft CTO for the cloud and enterprise team, said part of the reorganization is to make employees 15%-20% more efficient, while meshing the idea of what consumers and businesses need into one cohesive goal. Campbell told CITEworld that some of the departments are now spending a "tremendous amount of time together," when they hadn't before.

In a way, Microsoft's new efforts mirror how Apple floats employees between projects and divisions in order to meet deadlines, with software and hardware engineers moving to different tasks as needed. The idea being that the company can innovate and create products and services faster and more efficiently if employees are collaborating on projects rather than working in separate departments.

This type of teamwork is imperative to long-term company growth, but it's often hard to achieve in large organizations -- a lesson BlackBerry has learned all too well. Last month a Globe and Mail article pointed out that as BlackBerry grew, its structure made it difficult for the company to make decisions and hold people accountable for those decisions. Massive growth combined with autonomous departments slowed innovation, resulting in delayed deadlines, all of which is linked to the company's current perilous predicament.

Microsoft isn't even close to being on the same troubling path as BlackBerry. Despite the Redmond-based company's shortcomings with products like its Surface tablet, Microsoft's Windows Phone OS is making gains and is quickly becoming the third option behind iOS and Android.

But Microsoft is bigger than just its mobile products, which is exactly why shifting employees between projects is a great long-term strategy. The company can pull resources on areas that work well and use them in divisions that previously were underperforming or slow to innovate. The challenge going forward will be for Microsoft to balance adaptability with company-wide goals.

At least for now, it seems Microsoft is beginning to strike that balance -- and it's coming at the right time. As the company pursues its next CEO, Microsoft will need a cohesive approach in order to take on its competition. Though a new CEO will likely implement his or her own ideas, a successful "One Microsoft" could help steer those new ideas in the right direction.

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