Having helped prepare all the pre-conference materials for both this event, and the initial summit last year, I was keen to see how it all worked. Very well, as it turned out.
A bright spring morning was the perfect metaphor for the event – a new beginning for Micro Focus. With Serena and GWAVA joining the Micro Focus family since the first summit, and a significant merger on the horizon, customers and staff were keen to see the roadmap for the next phase of the Micro Focus journey.
From modest to modern
The man with the satnav was Micro Focus CEO Stephen Murdoch. He has a clear vision of where the organization is going. We are already in the FTSE 100 – unusual for a tech company – and if successful, the HPE merger will make Micro Focus the sixth largest pure-play software company in the world.
Not bad for an operation beginning life 40 years ago in an office lean-to in London’s Notting Hill. Understanding where we have come from puts the future into context, particularly for those who are new to the organization.
More than 200 people registered for #MFSummit2017. Delegates included those joining the company in the last 12 months, and significantly, customers with investments in Micro Focus products. Stephen moved to reassure those worried that a new dawn could mean ‘sundowning’ a key plank of their IT infrastructures. In fact, the reverse is true.
To be clear: Micro Focus intends to continue evolving every product in the portfolio. Any apparent duplication becomes a competitive advantage when one product improves others in a form of digital cross-pollination. For example in the terminal emulation portfolio, the best aspects of Rumba are improving Reflection, and vice versa, while their core qualities remain stable and continue to be developed.
The tone was one of business as usual. That if Micro Focus continues to concentrate on what it does well, then while the future will not necessarily take care of itself, the vision becomes a lot more realistic, and the plan more achievable. Expect quiet evolution, not revolution, from now on.
Just like the portfolios, the sessions at #MFSummit2017 naturally divide into three streams; build, operate, and secure. Between networking sessions and coffee breaks, delegates could focus on the stream most relevant to their business challenges, or explore the opportunities that less obviously relevant sessions might present. After all, what modern organization can claim that security isn’t an issue for them?
Hitting the buffet
The buffet lunch was a great opportunity for customers to mix with subject matter experts and share, respectively, real-life challenges and product knowledge. This revealed a major, mutual benefit of #Summit2017 that didn’t appear in my promotional material. Because it is this informal feedback that helps our product experts to shape the future development of the Micro Focus portfolio to resolve real-life challenges. It ensures that our technology remains relevant throughout our customers’ journey towards digital transformation.
The name’s Seal. Mike Seal
Highlight of the afternoon sessions was the presentation by Mike Seal, Senior Applications Manager for Aston Martin. Any brand that namechecks James Bond as a customer will capture the attention of anyone hitting the post-lunch ‘wall’, and Mike offered a fascinating insight into both the evolution of Aston Martin’s Goldcrest application, and the personalisation options that their innovative technology offers to customers buying an Aston.
It’s probably the closest I’ll get to buying a Vantage, so it was nice to consider my ‘indicator ticking options’ for a while. But after that it was back to the real world of the Tube station, home, and my Casino Royale DVD.
For me, this was an absorbing and worthwhile look at the direction of travel for Micro Focus. For the customers who depend on our products, I hope it was a reassuring day, and a positive glimpse into a future of multiple possibilities on the way to digital transformation.