Friday, July 21, 2017

Cloud earns big profit for Microsoft; Change management as a precise science; Oil declines as supplies surge

1 Cloud earns big profit for Microsoft (khaleej Times) Microsoft reported that its quarterly earnings was lifted on the back of its shift to focusing on computing services hosted in the Internet cloud. The US technology giant said it made a profit of $6.5 billion in the recently-ended quarter as revenue rose to $23.3 billion.

About $7.4 billion of the revenue in the quarter came from "intelligent cloud" offerings that are part of Microsoft shedding its legacy of packaged software and embracing a future in which computing power is hosted online as a service. "Innovation across our cloud platforms drove strong results this quarter," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Microsoft uses the term "intelligent cloud" to refer to services that let businesses take advantage of computing power online in its data centres, coupled with insights or analysis by artificial intelligence software.

The pioneering software firm had more than 121,000 employees worldwide at the end of March, according to its website. It is seeking to be a first port-of-call for businesses relying on cloud computing, as the industry moves away from packaged software. Microsoft's cloud computing platform will be used outside China for collaboration by members of a self-driving car alliance formed by Chinese Internet search giant Baidu, the companies announced this week.

2 Change management as a precise science (Aisha Sarwari in Dawn) Change management in an ever changing world is perhaps the most important thing a corporation can invest in today. Fast-paced changes in organisational structure and mission, objectives and goals need rapid response from senior management and this is where the doctrine of change management graduates from an art into a precise science.

You can never over-communicate when you ask your organisation to change. Employees are fearful and apprehensive of change. Few executives realise that change communication is less about driving change within an organisation than it is about the models of communication used to convey messages to the target stakeholders. The bottom line is that the old methods no longer work.

What should this communication aim to achieve? First it must counter resistance from the employees and align them to the overall strategic direction of the organisation. This can be achieved by providing counselling to overcome change-related fears or apprehensions.

Secondly, it should inform the stakeholders about the reasons why the change is being effected, the benefits of successful implementation of such change as well as the details of the change (the modalities and logistics of change). The communication must also devise an implementable plan for re-training and re-educating key members of the organisation.

3 Oil declines as supplies surge (Gulf News) Oil declined after tanker-tracker Petro-Logistics SA said Opec’s supply in July will be the highest this year. Futures fell as much as 0.5 per cent in New York, erasing a weekly gain. Supply from Opec members is set to exceed 33 million barrels a day this month, more than 600,000 barrels a day higher than the first-half average, according to Petro-Logistics.

The data could reinforce scepticism about the effectiveness of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production cuts as officials from the group gather for meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Oil remains in a bear market on concern that growing output in the US, Libya and Nigeria is offsetting other producers’ curbs, meaning stockpiles aren’t shrinking fast enough. The report from Petro-Logistics found that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Nigeria are behind the extra barrels. The latter is exempt from making cuts as it tries to recover from disruption due to theft, sabotage and attacks by rebels.

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