Microsoft Gets Mixed Reviews On IT Effort

Last year, Energizer Holdings, St. Louis, agreed to bring Microsoft&s internal IT personnel in to help run its IT, migrate mail systems and other core tasks.

Microsoft sources say the effort has been underwhelming so far and no other companies have yet signed on for similar efforts, which the company bills as a way to understand heterogeneous IT environments. The fruits of the labor, in the form of “productized” methodologies, will flow to partners, Microsoft has said.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did not comment on the project other than to say, “Whatever happens, Energizer must end up happy.” He said Microsoft would like one or two more such projects but has not signed any yet.

Lindsay Sparks, the corporate vice president leading the charge, said the work is coming along fine. Energizer CIO Randy Benz did not return a call for comment.

Sponsored post

Some worry that the company wants to grab more business for its internal consultants at the expense of partners. But Sparks said partners, including Hewlett-Packard Services, are involved at Energizer.

One integrator was pragmatic: “This was supposed to be a learning experience for them. Now they know how hard it is to do what we do.”

Microsoft started migrating mail from Exchange 5.5 to a hosted Exchange Server implementation in January and February. “We just migrated [the] Germany and Belgium [offices&] mail in two days,” Sparks said. “Areas where we may have issues [lie in] productizing. You can throw head count at deployments but what we really want is to productize elements to be scaled into products we&re learning that,” he said.

The project covers “old apps and Office, but also the next layer of manufacturing, ERP, HR apps. When we take on … all that app testing, validation and integration, it has to be done in an automated way. Every patch or [image] change for the base platform has to be tested in such a way as not to impede your business.”