"The technologies are going to be helpful but good, old-fashioned, great management practices will actually need to be more flexible in accommodating the needs of all of our employees."
You’ve said every company is a digital company. What does this mean and what must organizations do to accelerate this transformation out of the pandemic?
Mr. Nadella said that every industry is being transformed by digital technology, which he called the most malleable of resources, for business continuity and resilience. “But most interesting and importantly, it’s that transformative effect of how we serve our customers, how we improve our outcomes, our efficiency inside an operation, inside of a company. That’s what I think is of paramount importance.” He expects most companies will use a combination of their own proprietary software with available world-class technology so they’re not reinventing the wheel.
What are you excited about when it comes to new frontiers in technology? How will we see this impact the energy sector?
He was perhaps most excited about the infinite elastic computing capacity and real-time analytics power that emerging architecture will provide. He was also keen on how distributed computing fabric is being embedded in the real world thanks to advances in augmented reality and mixed reality. When talking of cloud and edge technologies coming together, Mr. Nadella mentioned BHC3’s solutions for safety, reliability, and sustainability goals, as well as BP’s work in cities and energy parks, and Shell’s ability to use real-time insights to improve operating performance and worker safety.
Microsoft has made bold commitments to sustainability in 2020. What are you focused on and why? What is the role of corporations to help address climate change?
Mr. Nadella referenced economist Colin Mayer’s view of a company’s social purpose to create profitable solutions to challenges of people and planet, saying that Microsoft’s goals are all about making a contribution, whether it’s carbon negative or water positive, zero waste, or developing a planetary computing platform. The company has a new 10-year plan, and he’s proud of the progress made in the first year. While the goals are critical, he said “it’s also the learning and sharing with all of us as partners and customers of each other that I think is going to be important.”
What are you seeing in the future of work? Will we ever go back to the way things were? Is there a new, normal?
Mr. Nadella said he thinks we’ll come out of the pandemic with a better understanding of hybrid work, and provide more flexibility to accommodate the new nature of work. He said collaboration has been fundamentally transformed, giving examples of how tools like HoloLens gives engineers the ability to share holographic inputs with in-field service crews. He also said well-being is an important aspect, that we must use data and analytics to manage our most precious resource people—ensuring time for breaks and transitions, so we don’t burn out.