Microsoft CEO Nadella Unveils Data-Analysis ToolsOlga Kharif and Peter Burrows
Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella touted new products at an event in San Francisco for the third time in as many weeks, part of an effort to re-establish the software maker as an innovator.
Nadella, who took the top job in February, unveiled new tools and software for sifting through large amounts of data to identify trends and patterns at a meeting with developers today at the Bentley Reserve Building.
The company has been rolling out products for corporate clients that are seeking to manage Web-linked devices and crunch the information they generate. Nadella, who took the top job in February after leading the cloud and enterprise group, is working to remake Microsoft for an era where mobile gadgets have become central, corporations run software from remote servers and household electronics get more connected.
“The most imporant thing is to create a data culture,” Nadella said at the event.
Analytics tools are in demand as a greater number of hardware devices, from personal-fitness monitors to thermostats to industrial equipment, connect to the Web, generating a sea of data. By 2020, the amount of information created may reach 5,247 gigabytes per person, according to Microsoft. That’s twice as many bytes of data than liters of water in the world’s oceans, the Redmond, Washington-based company said last month.
“It’s yet another boost to the volume of data,” said Dan Vesset, an analyst at researcher IDC, referring to the surge in smart devices. “That’s another reason why they should be, and are, investing more in this space.”
Microsoft’s Analytics Platform System is the latest of Microsoft’s efforts to beef up its products for storing and sorting through all the information produced by connected devices, known as Big Data. On April 1, Microsoft released its SQL Server 2014 database software.
“I think Microsoft has an advantage in here,” Andrew Snodgrass, an analyst at researcher Directions on Microsoft, said in an interview. “If you take a look at the databases out there, they are already Microsoft anyway. What they are saying is, they want companies to do more with their data, while they still are using its databases.”
A number of technology companies -- Microsoft, Oracle Corp., and International Business Machines Corp. among them -- are competing in the Big Data market, which reached $13 billion last year and will grow at a compounded annual rate of 27 percent through 2017, according to IDC. That includes software, hardware and services.
“Now we are into real investment,” Vesset said. “There’s more and more evidence that having this technology can make a difference from the competitive perspective, or increase productivity. There’s demand out there.”