Over the last year I've met with people all across the product groups looking at the Microsoft customer experience. I see the incredible challenges and efforts we face each day as a company, using our own products as employees and as customers. I’ve been happy to watch MSN Search become more relevant (particularly in my own searches, where I’ve found what I’m looking for more often, and with links to the info from Encarta), to find examples of how we’re working to make content easier to, well, find and make improvements in the overall product experience for our customers.
In a company the size of Microsoft, there are also incredible opportunities to test our products in real-world environments, ones where very demanding customers (the employees) and partners (the product and business groups, subsidiaries, operations, IT…) are dogfooding our products, and sharing that experience not just with the product teams but with our customers. Case in point: I use our intranet portal (MSWeb) several times a day, which is built on SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Well, there’s a white paper that takes a look at the design, implementation and deployment of MSWeb, targeted at helping those companies interested in implementing or upgrading their current intranet portals.
Great for organizations, large and small, but more than I need in doing my job as an “information worker” at the office, and a “consumer” at home. That’s where I have developed a relationship (one-sided) with the Microsoft Office “Crabby Office Lady.” Do you want plain, easy to understand and yet entertaining answers to common (and not-so-common) Office questions that you didn't find by going to Help -> Contents and Index? Then go to the Microsoft Office Assistance site and chances are you’ll find some interesting answers from her. (And although I haven’t seen a new video in recent memory, my personal favorite is her response to “Microsoft Doesn't Care?”) This week, she posted an article on providing useful feedback and referenced where you can go to provide feedback directly to the Office team.
There is so much that the Office team is doing to ensure a positive experience for our customers and so little time until I need to get back to Office in my office.