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Microsoft's new market research model

News, 22 June 2016

MARINA DEL REY, CA: Microsoft, the tech giant, has generated major benefits from applying its holistic corporate philosophy, known as "One Microsoft", to its market research operations.

Kevin Witenko, a Research Business Strategist at Microsoft, discussed this subject at the 2016 New Face of Consumer Insights conference held by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

More specifically, he detailed how the "One Microsoft" paradigm favoured by Satya Nadella – the firm's CEO since 2014 – has transformed market research by promoting an overarching, rather than division-by-division, approach.

"Satya recognised that in order for us to innovate, we had to be aligned," Witenko said. "He blew open the doors for all the changes that were waiting to come down the line at Microsoft." (For more insights into the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: "One Microsoft": transforming market research at a tech giant.)

One example of this idea in action involves Microsoft's syndicated-research funds, which previously were spread across the company, but are now managed in a centralised way.

Alongside causing uncertainty regarding which projects would receive long-term support, the old model was inefficient. "We recognized that, in some instances, we were buying the same data two, maybe three times," said Witenko.

Today, by contrast, "This has all been done right through our central operations team," he added. "Last year alone, we were able to save over $1m with this model."

Similar benefits have resulted from consolidating its brand tracking studies. In the immediate past, this research was typically commissioned by different brands and business units.

"We didn't really have integrated data sets," Witenko told the IIR assembly. "We didn't really know where to go to find the data."

Microsoft now, however, has a more streamlined approach. "We took all of our brand-tracking studies and rolled them up under one campaign," Witenko said. "We took three commercial campaigns and rolled them up under one initiative."

"We have better left-to-right insights for senior leaders about how the brands are doing," he continued. "We can get insights much faster by having this all integrated."

Data sourced from Warc