Microsoft seeks new MBS group leader

Doug Burgum assumes a new role

Microsoft Corp. is in search of a new leader for its Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) group as Doug Burgum, senior vice president of the group, is assuming a new evangelism role in the company, Microsoft said Thursday.

Burgum is now chairman of Microsoft Business Solutions, a newly created position. Burgum will continue to report to Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division.

Microsoft is formally seeking an executive to take Burgum's former position, a role that also will report to Raikes. Burgum will continue to lead the MBS business through the transition and Orlando Ayala will remain chief operating officer of MBS and senior vice president of the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners group.

In his new role, Burgum will work directly with business leaders, customers, partners and ISVs (independent software vendors) to spread the word about Microsoft's Dynamics line of business and the value of Microsoft's business software and services, according to the company. He also will evangelize the value of role-based software design, which is a key tenet of the next generation of Microsoft's business applications, and how to combine business process and personal productivity applications to make business workers more efficient, according to Microsoft.

It's not uncommon for companies to promote executives to evangelism positions, especially once they have seen a product line through a major transformation. Burgum has led MBS through the acquisition of applications vendor Navision whose software now makes up Microsoft's Dynamics NV line. Burgum himself came to Microsoft as part of an acquisition, taking his position as MBS leader after Microsoft bought Great Plains Software, which sold ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications that have now become Microsoft's Dynamics GP line.

Burgum also led MBS through the launch of the Dynamics strategy, formerly code-named Project Green, to unify Microsoft's various CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP product suites through a common code base, and a common user interface that borrows from other Microsoft products such as Office and SharePoint Portal Server.

In a question-and-answer interview on Microsoft's Web site, Burgum said he is "deeply passionate" about working with business decision-makers to help them use Microsoft's business software to its fullest advantage, and said the company has much to share with customers about next-generation plans for its Dynamics family of products.

"We have much work to do to evangelize the Microsoft vision for the value of role-based software design, software-based services for businesses, a world going 'vertical' and the incredible power that is possible when solutions are developed that marry the two currently disparate software worlds of business processes (structured data) and personal productivity (unstructured data)," he said.

Microsoft underwent a major restructuring of the company in September and has continued to tweak the company's organization since then. The company pared down from seven divisions to three: the Microsoft Platform Products & Services Division, led by Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin as co-presidents; the Microsoft Business Division, with Raikes as president; and the Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division, with Robbie Bach as president.

In September Microsoft also moved Chief Technology Officer Ray Ozzie into a position responsible for driving Microsoft's software-based services strategy and execution across the three new divisions. Eric Rudder, senior vice president of Servers and Tools at Microsoft, also took on a new role working directly for Bill Gates, Microsoft's founder, chairman and chief software architect.

A month later, Microsoft named Bob Muglia to succeed Rudder as senior vice president of its Server and Tools Business, leaving the role of senior vice president of Microsoft's Windows Server division behind.

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