Editor’s Note, May 5, 2008 –
The reference to the number of Microsoft Worldwide Services employees was updated after publication.
REDMOND, Wash. – Apr. 30, 2008 – In July of last year, Microsoft Services began restructuring its offerings to provide a higher level of service to both partners and customers. PressPass spoke with Maria Martinez, corporate vice president of Microsoft Services, to get an update on the division’s efforts and discuss what customers and partners can expect in the future:
PressPass: What is Microsoft Services and how does it interact with other groups within Microsoft and the company’s partner community?
Martinez: Microsoft Services is made up of more than 15,000 people who assist customers with their adoption of Microsoft technologies and ensure that they get the most productive use from their software investments.
Maria Martinez, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Services
Microsoft Services is divided into three major areas of focus. The first two fall within the enterprise space, and are called IT Architecture and Planning, and Technology Consulting. Architecture and Planning helps CIOs align IT to organizational strategies and initiatives while reducing risk and maximizing value. Our focus around Technology Consulting helps enable the implementation and management of Microsoft business application solutions, like Microsoft Dynamics for example. These teams are comprised of field engineers, systems architects, consultants and technical account managers who help customers optimize their technology environments. In most cases, they’re dedicated to customers within a particular region or industry so they can provide deep expertise and insight into the customer’s particular environment.
Some of our most established accounts in the US federal government are great examples of this. Among our biggest accounts, they’ve been staffed by some of the same people for several years – people who, over the course of time, have earned the trust and security clearances to work side-by-side with their customers. We strive for that same level of trust with all of our enterprise customers. Customers expect their Microsoft technical contact to have in-depth knowledge of their business and IT investments, resulting in a high level of service and support.
The other area we focus on within Microsoft Services is Support and Health. This group offers various levels of customized and pre-packaged support to customers who have investments in Microsoft technology; this support includes proactive services to improve IT Health as well as reactive support services.
Included within Support and Health is Microsoft Premier Support and the Customer Service and Support (CSS) team. The CSS team works to improve the overall customer and partner experience by ensuring that customers have access to comprehensive technical service and support for every Microsoft product available — for consumer products like Xbox and Zune, developer tools like .NET and Silverlight, and enterprise products such as Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.
PressPass: Last year, you announced the company’s decision to reorganize the business into Service Lines. Why did Microsoft make this change, and what is its current status?
Martinez: The internal restructuring into Service Lines positioned us to be more effective in meeting the needs of our customers, and enabled us to more closely align with Microsoft’s various business groups. Across the Microsoft Services division, our goals are to develop that deeper relationship with customers and a greater knowledge of their business.
Service Lines are internal distinctions and a means for us to organize our business, but customers and partners continue to have a single point of contact regardless of the nature of service support they’re looking for. This structure enables us to deliver more meaningful and predictable value, while also building strong relationships with customers and partners through tighter alignment with product groups.
Our IT Architecture and Planning (ITAP) and Support Service Lines, support our goal of developing deeper relationships directly with customers. As such, they are the cornerstones of our business. Using our ITAP capabilities, architects conduct long-term planning and business alignment of IT investments for our major accounts. The support Service Lines – seven through nine – are comprised of support technicians, field engineers, account managers and others who support enterprise and consumer customers. Service Line seven, Support and Heath, is customized for the needs of our enterprise customers with Premier and Professional Support. Service Line eight, Consumer Support, and Service Line nine, Customer Service Programs, are headed up by our Customer Service and Support division and address the needs of our consumer and small business customers with self-help, automated and assisted support capabilities.
Service Lines two through six are aligned with the Microsoft business groups and their respective go-to-market strategies. For example, Service Line two is the Core Infrastructure Optimization – or Core IO initiative – that aligns Vista, Office and Windows Server to help with deploying and optimizing these products across the enterprise. And Service Line six is focused on industry-specific solutions, such as healthcare, financial services or the public sector.
The Microsoft Services Lines are structured to provide greater value to customers. Service Lines one and seven are designed to strengthen relationships with enterprise customers. Service Lines two through six are aligned with the Microsoft business groups and Service Lines eight and nine address the needs of consumer and small business customers.
PressPass: At the Worldwide Partner Conference last year you discussed transitioning Intellectual Property (IP) developed by Microsoft Services to help enable partners. What’s the status of those efforts?
Martinez: Right now we’re in the midst of piloting our IP transfer program with a group of 20 partners in four countries. Ultimately we want to enable partners to take the lead in market segments devoted to such things as optimization of Vista or deploying SharePoint so that we can focus our energy on developing solutions for new products and unusual scenarios. To this end, the IP transfer program includes training our partners on these technologies, working together to deliver these technologies to customers, and then equipping them to initiate future customer engagements.
Currently, we are focused on partners in Microsoft’s Enterprise Partner Group Alliance that have the expertise and capabilities to work with us in delivering these offerings to Microsoft’s enterprise customers. However, we’ll be announcing details on a broader program at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July.
PressPass: How does this business shift align with your personal interests?
Martinez: Throughout my career – whether at Microsoft, Bell Labs, Motorola or elsewhere – managing the development of cutting-edge technology and bringing it into the mainstream has been a primary motivating factor for me. I suppose that is the engineer in me.
It’s invigorating to start with an esoteric idea or technology and develop it in a way that makes it understandable and accessible to the masses. I’ve been fortunate in that all of my professional roles have enabled me to do that. While at Motorola, I managed the launch of the first commercial network using code division multiple access (CDMA). Then I came to Microsoft and helped with the Connected Services Framework efforts. Now I am applying that same passion on a much larger scale – I work with a team of 15,000 people devoted to helping customers deploy technology that’s easy to use and allows their employees to be productive.
On a more personal level, I’m committed to expanding the role of women in technology. With my success comes the responsibility to pave the way for those who aspire to a career in technology, and to articulate the numerous opportunities available to women with the skills and drive to succeed.