How Microsoft Crowdsourced the Making of Office 2010

Microsoft conducted several programs including feedbacks from its users before and after their introduction of their Microsoft Office 2010. Their main aim was to make Microsoft Office the best to satisfy the customers.

It was Denise Carlevato, a 10 years experienced Microsoft usability engineer and her colleagues who conducted the program. They received the feedbacks from the selected 2 million users out of the 9 million users who downloaded the beta version of Microsoft Office 2010. Based on their feedbacks along with 600 participants who participated in Microsoft’s Virtual Research Lab, Carlevato came to a conclusion what the customers need and how their product was useful.

Microsoft which was predicted by many software engineers to lose its hold in the software field after the introduction of Smartphone and Apple iphone, proved them wrong by still being number 1 in the software field.

While it is said that Google Docs are the competitors for Microsoft Office, the truth is being not so. Reports show that around 67% of the American population is using Microsoft Office while only 4% of them use Google Docs even though it comes for free. Some of the researchers like the Fosters say that Google Docs is not to be considered as a competitor for Microsoft Office at all as Google Docs lags behind MS Office in terms of penetration and customer support.

Microsoft also set a separate database to review each of the Send A Smile feedback

In the beta version of Microsoft Office a “send a smile” comment box was added so that the users can add their comments regarding suggestions to improve it. It is said that nearly 81,000 people added their e-mail ids so they could follow up with the improvement done by the engineers. The Microsoft also set a separate database to review each of the Send A Smile feedback manually to consider what are the points to add to make Office better.

Regarding the Virtual lab testing, people were encouraged to participate and engage themselves in certain tasks provided by Microsoft. While they performed the tasks, Carlevato and her colleagues watched how they performed their task and obtained reviews from them. Carlevato states that the virtual lab experience helped them how long it took to perform a task and how easy it was.

Apart from the user’s feedbacks and virtual lab tests, Microsoft also worked with students directly. About 26 students of the University of Washington participated in the program while they tested on the Office Web Apps early version. They held meeting with engineers once in a fortnight to discuss about the features that impressed them and they further wanted.

According to P. J. Hough, corporate vice president of Office Program Management, it is not possible to make all the changes needed immediately in a big program like Office 2010. However he promises that Microsoft will be able to do all that is needed.

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