Inside Microsoft: Article Critique

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One issue, or strength, that I identified in my analysis of “Inside Microsoft: Balancing Creativity and Discipline” was Microsoft’s ability to recognize that it needed outside help. The company recognized that it needed outside help with operational discipline to control their freewheeling business environment. The company knew that the person to be hired needed a strong background in standardized business practices, so Microsoft hired Robert J. Herbold from Procter & Gamble to take the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer. Microsoft, the world’s leader in computer software, was also able to recognize the need to go to outside vendors for packaged software for the new financial reporting system and the new purchasing order systems (MSMarket and MSInvoice) that the company implemented (thanks to Herbold). Microsoft found another company that had the best software for their current need and customized where needed. No need to reinvent the wheel, right?

Another issue, or strength, that I identified in my analysis involves the new systems put in place. These systems gave managers instant access to a variety of data. Within seconds, management could see up-to-date information for any geographical or business unit. They were able to look at the strengths and weaknesses in financials, operations, personnel, purchasing, etc. Having instant access to data helped keep Microsoft a world profit leader, allowing it to continue its world leading research and development programs, which in turn fueled growth. “Turn on a dime” flexibility, which is mentioned as one of Microsoft’s hallmarks, is only as good as the company’s vision for direction.

I would recommend that Microsoft continue on the course they are down. Herbold brought innovation in management to the company, like the company brought innovation to the market through software. Microsoft has continued to bring new products to the market and it will be challenged to do the same internally,...
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