Recently, I spoke with Jevon Fark, PR manager for the business online services group, about the beta launch of their SaaS ("service as a software") for larger businesses. The intent is to offer customers the option to move the day-to-day management of minor tech problems to the Web, freeing the IT pro for more significant issues. From a communications standpoint, they want upgrade the IT pro's status.
"Microsoft believes that the IT worker in a business shouldn't spend his day doing routine patches and upgrades and fixes," said Fark. "We want to take the IT pro from being a janitor to a professor and being a software advocate in his own business."
Going forward, Fark described the PR function as "momentum" (building it, maintaining it, etc) and making sure Microsoft's partners know there's still a way for them to do business by customizing the SaaS offering. But Fark reiterated the emphasis on IT.
"It's a big sea change, what's happening with the way software is accessed and managed," he said. "Yes, this is very much focused towards IT pros."