Microsoft overhauls service goals

Microsoft wants to get closer to its customers. Key to this is an overhauled services strategy that will see the vendor work more directly with key accounts.

  • E-Mail
By  Peter Branton Published  May 1, 2005

Microsoft wants to get closer to its customers. Key to this is an overhauled services strategy that will see the vendor work more directly with key accounts. However, the software giant insists it will not be competing with its partners. Microsoft wants its services arm to play a more active role in providing support for its new technologies, Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO for Microsoft EMEA, told IT Weekly. The vendor also wants to work more closely with large enterprise accounts, something which they have been demanding, he said. “Fundamentally, Microsoft is not a services company, services to us represent commitment and adding value to the enterprise customers and partners that we work with,” he said. Key to Microsoft’s services strategy is providing support for its own cutting-edge technologies, Courtois claimed. “In other words, our key goal is to partner with those companies who take the risk in deploying new tech,” he said. “You take a technology like real-time collaboration and there’s not many companies out there aggressive enough to deploy it, so what we want to do is bring in our best consultants in such a technology, who can transfer their know-how to the customers and be involved in some of the projects.” “Number two, it’s about engaging with some of our biggest enterprise customers, again not to become a premium service provider, but in a goal to put more skin in the game and show these customers that Microsoft is super-committed to their success,” he claimed. Continued from page 1 “It doesn’t mean that our partners will not be involved, we are still dependent on partners, but it means that when the requirements of the customers are so critical they want Microsoft to be engaged on support then we’ll back up the products and we’ll be there,” Courtois said. While Microsoft doesn’t want to cause any friction with its partners, its customer satisfaction levels are higher when it is more involved, a problem that other vendors also face. As an example, Courtois cited Microsoft’s Business Solutions arm. “You need to have strong partners there because that’s how you grow the business, but you need to support it,” he said. Indeed, a recent Microsoft Business Solutions customer win in the region, Thuraya, said that getting support direct from the vendor had been a factor in its decision to go with Microsoft rather than Oracle, which did not offer such support (see IT Weekly, 19- 25 February 2005). Douglas Hayward, senior analyst at research firm Ovum, said Microsoft still needs to keep partners in mind when it makes any changes to its services strategy. “Microsoft is doing the right thing by taking a more direct role in providing customer support, at least for now,” he said. “But it must get partners firmly in the frame, if only because it can’t handle the levels of demand it will generate if its actions raise satisfaction levels among enterprises,” he warned. Microsoft has already begun making changes to its services operations across the EMEA region, although the level of change will vary country-by-country, Courtois said. Improving the sharing of skills across the region was also a focus for Microsoft, he added.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code