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NCC at the Microsoft Interoperability Executive Customer Council

NCC’s Head of Programmes and Projects, Dr Andy Hopkirk, recently participated in the 8th half-yearly meeting of Microsoft’s Interoperability Executive Customer Council meeting in Redmond, Washington USA (25th-26th May 25th, 2010).

A total of nineteen council members from sixteen end user organisations participated in the meeting, representing multinational businesses, e-government and the education sector, for example. This was the NCC’s first opportunity to represent its diverse, pan-sectoral community.

The meeting was hosted throughout by Microsoft’s President, Server and Tools Business, Bob Muglia, supported by a number of senior Microsoft programme directors, programme managers, group managers and other strategic leads for specific items of business. All demonstrated a keen interest in what council members had to say.

The council is in its fourth year of work and is supported by a number of background work streams identifying issues with current Microsoft products and reviewing proposed solutions. Most recently, the scope has expanded to include identifying challenging business scenarios and public interoperability policy discussions around the world.

Significantly, the council is also taking a lead in facilitating the engagement of 3rd party software vendors in 3-way (IEC Council, Microsoft and the 3rd party vendor) conversations focused on specific interoperability scenarios put forward by the council. The common intention is to use the opportunity of the council activities to make a real impact on the software industry as a whole.

This meeting focused mostly on interoperability-related discussions around cloud computing management, public and private cloud offerings, policy implications and identifying interoperability scenarios of interest to the council for engaging with specific 3rd party vendors.

Andy reports that areas of particular interest to NCC members might include, in no particular order:

  • Unified Communications scenarios
  • Cloud computing scenarios, including systems management thereof
  • Content management scenarios
  • Social media and networking scenarios

Andy found the event to be genuinely engaging and impressive in the both the level and depth of commitment Microsoft put into it. The discussions were consistently of high quality and very direct – no prisoners were taken on either side.

Andy notes that item 4 above had already emerged as a theme from the NCC Think Tank session on The future of the IT Department - essential skills and practices held in February and the management aspects of item 2 will be part of the next NCC Think Tank session in October (working title Preparing for Cloud) independently suggested by the chair of the NCC’s Member Advisory Board, Paul Oliver of the Care Quality Commission. There is a synergy between NCC members’ interests and those of this council.

There are a number of other specific opportunities where NCC members can get their input noticed. These will be the subject of other communications shortly.

The next meeting of the council technical work streams participants will be 14-15 September and the next council meeting will be 3-4 November 2010.

For those wishing to delve more deeply, there is a white paper and much more Microsoft information describing the council and related interoperability activities at these web links:

There are further interoperability-related articles, papers and archived events on the NCC website at:



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