Profile - Julia White
Julia White has been the Vice President of Cloud at Microsoft since 2016 and has been at the company since 2001. Prior to her current role, she led the Microsoft Office division and was instrumental in transforming it from a standalone suite of tools to a complete platform within the cloud. We discuss her role at Microsoft in greater detail below.
Initiatives at Microsoft
Julia was instrumental in transforming the Microsoft Office business, which at the time was worth $25 billion, into a cloud business. Now as the VP of Cloud, she believes that the world is entering the ‘intelligent cloud’ era, where everything will be powered by AI. This is why Julia and others at Microsoft see Azure, their cloud platform, as the world’s computer, powering every type of intelligent application and system. AI is very important to Julia and to Microsoft on a whole and is the reason why two years ago Microsoft created an AI division, which has spawned cognitive services such as real-time translation, voice, and facial recognition.
Challenges at Microsoft
Julia is an unconventional thinker, and it is with this skill that she fights the challenges of moving both the technology and business of Microsoft’s Cloud to the future. One of the biggest challenges in moving Microsoft’s technology to the cloud is security, and also convincing clients that it is safe to do so. Julia remarks, “It was only a few years ago when most of my customer conversations started with, ‘I can’t go to the cloud because of security. It’s not possible.’” Now, clients are clamoring to enter the cloud because of security and interest in the cloud and AI, and it is up to her to maintain that trust. She also faces the challenge of being a woman in a field dominated by men, and with CEO Satya Nadella, is helping drive gender diversity.
Team Tasks and Challenges
In leading the marketing team at Microsoft Azure, she is tasked with helping the team present its applications, infrastructure, data, and intelligence capabilities to customers and partners in such a way that they obtain new customers and retain old ones. She was very instrumental in developing new teams when the current CEO Satya Nadella took over, ensuring that Microsoft moved from a device-oriented business to a cloud-oriented one.
Julia is now the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud Platform, which includes Azure, Enterprise Security and Mobility, Windows Server, and System Center. It is a position she has held since 2016, and before that she managed the Microsoft Office division from 2012. She is also in charge of how the marketing of their cloud platform is done, along with customer engagement and evangelism. She has a Bachelor's degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University. Julia started at Microsoft as Product Manager in 2001, and in 2005 was tasked to lead US channel marketing and sales incentives.