Microsoft IT manages applications, infrastructure, and security—the same keep-the-trains-running and lights-on work that all IT shops do. But increasingly, the organization’s role as the first and best user of the company’s rapidly evolving products and services has it playing a pivotal role in helping the company transform itself, says Jim DuBois, chief information officer at Microsoft.
DuBois says his organization’s ability to test how Microsoft offerings work—and sometimes don’t work —together give it a unique footing in the company, especially since its product update cycles have gone from years to weeks.
“We’re working much differently now than in the past, and it’s creating some opportunities to be really disruptive,” he says. “It’s the combination of breadth and depth that gives Microsoft IT a unique position from which to help power the company’s digital transformation.”
But before IT can fully grow into this role of transformation influencer, it first has to undergo its own digital transformation, something that is underway now, DuBois says, pointing to the help that IT is providing to the Gears of War team as an example.
“The old IT would have forced a solution on them,” he says. “We would build something we thought they needed, and they would have had to find a way to make it work or work around it.”
That way of thinking is disappearing.
“This is a really important culture change for us,” DuBois says. “By culture, I mean relationships, vision, teamwork, communication—things of that nature. I've seen a dramatic change within the company and within our group, and we have to continue to get everyone on board.”
DuBois and his leadership team are living and breathing the change. At a recent meeting, his team picked songs they felt best represented the organization’s digital transformation. Some were humorously apt ("Video Killed the Radio Star”) but others were reflective.
“Multiple teams picked Michael Jackson's ‘Man in the Mirror’ to represent that the change starts with ourselves,” DuBois says. “And it really does. This transformation is something that every one of us has the opportunity to impact and embrace for ourselves.”