SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft Corp needs a "data culture" to thrive in the new computing environment, according to Chief Executive Satya Nadella, in his third public appearance in three weeks putting his imprint on the software company.
Nadella, who took the helm in February, is seeking to push Microsoft further toward mobile and 'cloud,' or Internet-connected, computing. That marks a shift from his predecessor, Steve Ballmer, whose world view was more tied to personal computers and the Windows operating system.
"Every aspect of Microsoft's business is being fundamentally transformed because of data," said Nadella at a presentation in San Francisco on Tuesday. "You have to build deeply into the fabric of the company a culture that thrives on data."
From managing its own heating costs to analysing customers' website usage, Nadella set out Microsoft's plan to play a central role in gathering, storing, processing and presenting data, taking advantage of its database products, data centers and its Office suite of applications, including the ubiquitous Excel spreadsheet programme.
"Think of Office as the canvas, or the surface area, or the scaffolding from which you can access the data," said Nadella.
His comments about a data-driven computing environment were not ground-breaking, but they form a part of a striking new approach at Microsoft, which Nadella calls "mobile first, cloud first."
Broadly, that means focusing on making Microsoft's internet-friendly software widely available as services rather than traditional products, and playing a role in all realms of computing rather than just attempting to dominate markets with Windows and Office.
Nadella made his latest appearance to boost Tuesday's launch of SQL Server 2014, the latest version of Microsoft's market-leading database software, worth more than $5 billion in sales per year.