Monday, April 18, 2011

I Invented A Business Process And All I Got Was This Awesome Borg Cube

Microsoft has an incentive for its employees to create patentable processes and applications. I recently worked on just such a process as part of something called the Microsoft Dynamics GP Business AnalyzerTM. You can read about its various incarnations here and here, but the short version is that BA is a tool that can run both within our Dynamics GP application and as a standalone desktop application that gives you access to any SQL Reporting Services report. You can also do some cool things on the fly like render the report with different dates, initiate conversations through Microsoft Communicator 2007TM or Microsoft LyncTM, and edit the report.

Anyway, I just received the standard Microsoft patent award, which looks suspiciously like something that used to chase the Enterprise-D around sector 001:

Competition is irrelevant. From this day forward, you will service us.

Pretty nifty. I have no idea what the blemishes on the side are; they won't come off. I can only assume they were left by the entrails of the other patent seekers that our attorneys eviscerated in the lobby of the patent office. It's nice to get recognized like this. Really cool. There's nothing that says "I'm appreciated" like -- what's that? I get cash too? YESSSS!

In related news, I got new business cards.

The process of submitting a patent was equal parts fascinating and maddening. A lot of time was spent to come up with, "Integrating report actions for a series of reports within a single user interface." You have to describe your application or process in a few short words, but those words have to both convey the full scope of what you're trying to patent and differentiate it from every other patent in the world. Did I mention that patent lawyers make a lot of money?

Anyway, it's a pretty cool program. I know it takes a fair amount of criticism; the argument goes something like, "Microsoft should give you a cut of future earnings". But I see two flaws with that. I'm an employee of Microsoft. I already receive a portion of earnings by getting paid. There's nothing out there that forces them to give me anything above and beyond a paycheck to develop the apps I do. It's my job. The other hole I see is that I am one of a large number of people at Microsoft who could have drawn this assignment. I wrote code based on a specification written by someone else. Sure, I designed the application, but it was based on someone else's initiative. I didn't hatch the original idea for this and create it singlehandedly from conception to market. Anyway, maybe I'm not being assertive enough, or maybe the naysayers are greedy. Either way, I got me a borg cube!

1 comment:

  1. Very Cool !!! And so's the Borg cube! Congrats!