Standardizing Worldwide Data Management Achieves Positive Business Results

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Standardizing

Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Published:
July

2013

The Microsoft IT Data Management
Services

(DM
S
) team has evolved from

having many manual
processes and an administrative focus to being a lean, responsive service enabling key Microsoft
sales and marketing functions. To accomplish this, DM
S

defined an iterative strategy and applied it at
all sales territories, implementing
Microsoft solutions to increase overall business data value.

Situation

The Microsoft DM
S

team provides data governance, data standards, data cleansing
,

and
taxonomy services primarily to sales, marketing, finance
,

and sales excellence teams at
Microsoft. These teams are part of the Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group
and the Ente
rprise and Partner Group segments of the Sales, Marketing
,

and Services Group

(SMSG)
. The
DMS

team also services the Customer and Partner Experience (CPE) initiative
and the SMSG Finance organization. In particular, the
DMS

team is responsible for
managing

the qual
ity of all account
-

and sales
-
related data within the core

customer
relationship management

(
CRM
)

application
.

This data
flowed downstream to marketing
databases, as well as to an SAP
-
based sales transaction tool that synchronized the data to
enab
le revenue attribution
,

and also used
DMS
-
managed license data to reflect customer
entitlement to Microsoft products.

In recent years, the
DMS

team's level of service to
SMSG had become variable across sales
territories worldwide. Each sales territory used

its own locally
-
based data management
analysts to manage data. The
activities of these analysts were

focused on data requirements
provided solely by the local sales and marketing offices, independent of any larger S
MSG
requirements or priorit
ies. Each sal
es territory built its own tools and maintained local
databases, including isolated servers that were out of compliance with
Microsoft I
nformat
i
on
T
echnology (Microsoft IT)

management protocols
,

despite containing critical applications and
personally identifiable information (PII).

This lack of centralization created the following gaps in productivity

and other challenges
:



Local data management priorities were often in conflict with corporate obj
ectives, making
it challenging to realize SMSG efficiencies worldwide.



Data analysts were often performing administrative tasks requiring business
acumen

rather than focusing on data
-
related activities.



Lack of consistent data quality risked revenue attrib
ution inaccuracies, which would in
turn impact revenue recognition, incentive compensation, sales account planning,
marketing programs, customer surveys
,

and software asset management.



The team of 36 full
-
time employees and 164 on
-
site contractors
cost

Mi
crosoft almost
$21 million annually.

Situation

Decentralized CRM data management
functions were causing data quality
issues and costing Microsoft almost

$21 million annually.

Solution

DMS

isolated and standardized essential
data management activities, eliminated
or outsourced administrative processes,
and analyzed critical process knowledge
at individual sales territories.

Benefits



70%
cost savings

over the duration of
the project



Reducti
on of in
-
house
DMS

processes
from more than 1,000 to fewer than 50



Creation of a single service catalog
that served data management needs
for all sales territories worldwide



Significant, measurable increases in
CRM data quality



Improved accuracy of attribu
ted
revenue for incentive compensation
payments



Greater customer and employee
satisfaction


Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Page
2

Meanwhile, due to advances in network,
server,

and application technologies, the rate of data
collection
increased

rapidly. To keep pace with data collection and
to
optimize data quality,
Microsoft IT required a
scalabl
e method of standardizing

its data management practices and
resolving

the productivity issues created by years of decentralized operations.


Figure 1. DMS

standardization

project stakeholders


Solution

Summary

Beginning i
n October 2008
, the
DMS

team conducted a five
-
month analysis of existing
worldwide data management operations. New time tracking processes gathered details about
the activities that employees and
analysts

in each sales territory
conducted
. Using the results
of this analysis, a c
learer picture of the problem space
emerged
: the team now understood
more about the tools and systems in use, the roles that workers played in each sales
territory, and
the
division

between data
-

and business
-
related tasks.

Following the analysis period, t
he team delivered a strategy consisting of four main objectives
in all sales territories:



D
eliver

a consistent set of service
s within a specific
s
ervice catalog
.



Rationalize and automate

core processes, including scaling to off
-
shore resources.



Drive

impro
ved data quality standards and territory
-
based operational governance.



D
ocument individual workers' unique data management process knowledge
.


Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Page
3


Figure 2.
DMS e
nterprise
support strategy


Solution Components

This section describes

in further detail

how the

sales, marketing, finance, and sales
excellence teams implemented the

key
DMS

objectives.

Delivering Services Within a
Service Catalog

The
service catalog

concept describes a portfolio of services exclusively provided by a single
team. In this case, the
DMS

team required a process for determining, managing
,

and
executing against a
service catalog

that
both

provided an
exhaustive
range

of data
management services,
and
was globally consistent, meaning that all local
DMS

personnel
were using the same
service

catalog

regardless of their geographic location.

This
consistency, together with a plan to periodically review and update the catalog as needed to
serve new business needs, provided a more stable basis for the
service
expectations that the
DMS

and busines
s unit teams
could share.

To determine the
service catalog
, the
DMS

team followed three
key

steps:

1.

The
DMS

team collected information on the services that team provided, starting with a
single
DMS

sales territory that had recently achieved organizational i
ndependence from
its local Global Marketing Operations (GMO) counterpart.

2.

T
he
DMS

team generated a scope statement

for the purpose of determining what
existing processes would be retained. (The details of this activity are described in the
next section, "R
ationalizing and Automating Core Processes.")

3.

The
DMS

team

began scheduling meetings to begin preparing local personnel for clearer
worldwide service alignment, including planning
the
changes that were likely to impact
the l
ocal teams
.

The main team member
s directing this effort were thought leaders within the regional
DMS

teams
. Later in the project, a centralized planning function was put in place
.
Corporate

DMS

owned a stake in the solution, but was not

active in starting the project.
Years
-
long

Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Page
4

inefficiencies resulted in reduced visibility of critical issues, impairing support and guidance at
the corporate
DMS

level.


As with all areas of the solution, communication played an important role throughout the
research and implementation

ph
ases

of this
objective. The new time tracking processes gave
the team
an understanding of

the
range

of effort and demand at each location, and allowed
them to relate the likely impacts of the solution to the sales territory personnel

early on
.

The
service
catalog

model took approximately three years to mature
. E
ach year
brought
further aggregation of similar services into a smaller set of scope
-
bound offerings. This
duration was due to the need for some critical local services to
remain

in operation until
t
he
team could devise
more centralized work
-
arounds. As the individual
service catalogs

were
combined into a single catalog, the
DMS

Planning Lead maintained the growing document as
a spreadsheet file
. The
DMS

Planning Lead
also
sent

regular updates to the
corporate
DMS

team, corporate business segment leads, and business managers within the sales territories.

Mitigating the Risk of Business Dissatisfaction

The key risk to implementing this solution

was dissatisfaction

among

business units in each
sales territory

who feared that the proposed changes would lead to a decline in
responsiveness to their data
-
related needs
.
To achieve their sales targets, these businesses
were accustomed to providing requirements directly to their

local
DMS

teams. Centralizing to
a single
DMS

service catalog

caused many stakeholders to fear
a
loss of support for
,

and

a
loss of

control over
,

their unique data management activities. Similarly, the existing
perception that each
DMS

was an extension of the local business
,

rather than

a

part of a
centralized global function
,

created a loyalty of each
DMS

team to the specific demands of its
business customers.

To repair the fragmented
DMS

model while mitigating the risk of dissatisfact
ion or dysfunction
on the sales territory level, the
DMS

team
established three goals
:



Working closely with each business unit to determine sustainable, scalable service level
agreements (SLAs).



Focusing on outcomes

b
y
demonstrating to business personnel t
hat the solution can
follow alternate, unified methods to achieve the same results as preexisting
models.



Communicating a purposeful message about the holistic benefits of the solution to the
larger SMSG organization
.

A

higher level of integration yields g
reater maturity of data
management processes and increased predictability of results across sales territories
.

Best Practices

Along with the overall best practice of tracking data management activities to a single
service
catalog
, the team followed other b
est practices to achieve positive results:



Pursuing a
thoughtful engagement model that accommodated business unit input while
emphasizing the need for standardization. This model allowed

multiple sales territory
DMS

and business leads to provide timely pla
nning input.



Continuing all time tracking processes in order to track
performance
-
related data.

Using
these tracking processes

together
with the newly unified service catalog supports
a
better
informed
service

management
capability
and
clearer
long
-
term pl
anning for the
DMS

team.



Implementing organizational changes to reflect the newly unified service structure,
including the centralization of a core team to manage services in the
service catalog
.


Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

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5



Aggregating similar services into service lines and automati
ng each line's activities.



Implementing a support model for the new solution

based on the same charter and
mandate as the solution itself.

The other solution objectives described in this case study provide further details about how
these best practices were implemented by the
DMS

team.

Rationalizing and Automating Core Processes

From the start, the
DMS

team knew that fixing the inefficiencies

in the existing
data
management model would requ
ire automating as many processes as possible. However,
early analysis led to the discovery of more than 1,000

individual
ongoing
process
es being
performed at
the

DMS

locations, making automation

extremely

di
fficult.
To make
DMS

unification a success,
the team undertook a conscious effort

to rationalize these disparate
processes and make r
igid determinations
about which ones
were
necessary

moving forward
.

One of the first decisions was to

limit the scope of
DM
S

processes to those that directly
benefitted
data management. If a process or activity did not match
this criterion
, it was
classified as out
-
of
-
scope. Several fundamental
processes, such

as those required for
revenue attribution, were determined to be in

scope due to their common
requirement of
DMS

success in all territories. All other activities were evaluated, and most

including
processes that directly served the business units rather than the data itself

were eliminated.

To lead these evaluation effort
s, the
DMS

team formed a
capability team

consisting of
DMS

leads from the various sales territories and other subject matter experts in the data
management area. Together, this
capability
team performed the following

steps to achieve

rationalization and au
tomation:

1.

C
ollected

processes and descriptions from all sales territories.

2.

Conducted in
-
person interviews with
DMS

personnel to understand the importance of
each process.

3.

D
e
-
dup
licated
the processes where redundancies were found in order to reduce the
overall process count.

4.

S
elected
the
most mature automation
platform among the sales territories in terms of
suitability for automation, and used it as a basis for testing process automation.

5.

E
xpanded
the trial automation
platform

to include other sales ter
ritories in its scope.

6.

M
oved manual processes into
the new
automated workflows

until all processes capable
of automation had been included.

Over six months, from October 2008 to March 2009, this rationalization and automation took
the number of
DMS

processes from over 1,000 down to a current number of 47 processes in
eight functional areas. The initial
DMS

service catalog

comprised these 47 processes.

Best Practices

The main risks of this exercise were the potential loss of knowledge and expertise t
hrough
the elimination of processes, and the alienation of business units that were concerned about
the perceived change in their levels of service. The
DMS

team used the following best
practices to mitigate these risks:


Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

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6



Arranging sales territories into su
bgroups based on business model commonalities,
i
dentifying the roughly 70 percent of all processes early on that
contained areas of
overlap due to these commonalities, and focusing elimination and consolidation efforts
on the remaining 30 percent that were

exception
-
driven and territory
-
specific.



Offering longer
-
term contracts to key resources whose talents or expertise were useful to
the simplification process.



I
ncluding
engagement

managers from the business units who could communicate
rationale and readin
ess to business users regarding the changes to their familiar data
management activities

on the capability team
.

In addition to these best practices, the
DMS

team pursued

a "single vendor" goal
in order
to
reduce the number of
DMS

contracts and centralize
knowledge strategically with one trusted
service provider. This provider would conduct all data management tasks in the
service
catalog
; all remaining administrative tasks would be performed outside of
DMS

in Microsoft
Data Operations Center (DOC) faciliti
es located in India, China
,

and Poland.

Edge Case: Integrating the US Subsidiary

Applying the
DMS

solution to the US sales territory presented unique challenges. US
business rules regarding mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, holding companies, and
other legalities were particularly complex, and the data management vendor in place at the
US sales
territory had special knowledge and processes related to these complexities.
Many
of these processes were not scalable and prevented the adoption of corporate tools. In
addition, long dispute resolution cycles and poor data quality created a unique challen
ge
when integrating the US sales territory into the DMS solution. For these reasons,
m
oving the
US sales territory from a dedicated vendor model

to become part of the new worldwide model


required a customized strategy.

To maintain the precision and qualit
y of data management services provided by the vendor,
the
DMS

team chose to retain the incumbent vendor for a period of time during the transition
to the worldwide model. Although this decision created a temporary anomaly within the larger
unification proj
ect, the team decided that managing the US
DMS

transition separately was
the safest choice, given the risk to operational and data quality posed by eliminating the
vendor altogether.

The customized strategy yielded positive outcomes:



Customer and partner d
ata management processes, business rules and tools were
aligned between the US sales territory and worldwide SMSG.



New, intuitive self
-
service user interfaces enabled US workers to take more data
ownership.



Simplification and automation reduced operational

costs.



Service Level Agreements (SLAs) were reduced from 21 days to 3 days, due In part to a
simplified approval process and faster response times.

As
DMS

rationalization and automation
activities proceeded in the US sales territory, the
vendor was includ
ed in the capability team's discussions, and special care was taken to
document the vendor's unique knowledge of US
DMS

operations. When a single
-
vendor
model for all
DMS

operations was established in July 2012, the vendor was invited to
compete for the
DM
S

business, and won the contract for all
DMS

operations worldwide. A
key factor in winning this business was the vendor's
proposal to create a
managed service


Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Page
7

whereby it performed all day
-
to
-
day operations on its own, changing scope and scale as
needed to
meet
changing

SMSG
criteria and
requirements.

Driving Data Standards and Territory
-
Based Governance

In the same way that sales territories were following disparate workflows according to local
requirements, they were also disparate in their methods of coll
ecting and formatting CRM
data. Data quality was highly inconsistent

due to this fact. Also, within and across territories,
t
he same CRM schema elements were being used to collect different kinds of information.

Duplicate customer entries were plentiful in

the CRM system, and

many cases of incorrectly
recorded

revenue
were
discovered.

The
DMS

team felt strongly that the key to restoring
a
consistently high data quality
was
a
governance plan that
had buy
-
in from

all sales territories. The plan had the following tenets:



All
DMS

activities must follow uniform data quality and formatting standards.



Individual territories must be accountable for maintaining adherence to the new
standards.



Dirty
, or problematic

data m
ust be
eliminated
, and clean
,

usabl
e data must be
maintained.

Enforcing this plan entailed shutting down existing processes
in which
sales and marketing
personnel were permitted to enter or change data on their own, instead routing those
processes to
DMS

personnel using the new workflows. This change caused concern within
many of the business units impacted by the
DMS

solution. To respond to this change, and to
communicate the value of the new workflows, the
DMS

team emphasized that both they and
the busi
nesses shared a need for the same favorable outcomes

high data quality and
accurate revenues

and as long as these outcomes were achieved, the new workflows and
governance model would be a success.

Documenting Unique Process Knowledge

The organizational cha
nges brought on by the
DMS

solution meant that some data
management personnel
,
locally selected vendors

in particular,
would no longer perform their
existing roles. Those personnel who kept their roles were likely to be transitioned to new
duties and workf
lows. These changes, along with the process of engineering a new
standardized
DMS

workflow overall, required that the
DMS

team rigorously capture the
unique process knowledge that was vital to understanding data management operations in
each sales territor
y.

This knowledge capture entailed three repeated process
es

at each local
DMS

site:




I
nterviewing

DMS

personnel about the activities they performed
.



D
ocumenting

why and how each activity was performed, and what other activities it fed
into.



V
erifying

the i
mportance of each activity by reviewing its triggers and outcomes in the
larger local
DMS

process.

T
o differentiate important knowledge
from
trivial

details that would have little or no bearing on
the new model
, the
subject matter experts

on the
DMS

capability team
conducting the
analysis

made determinations

as they went along. S
ome
fundamentally
important processes
were identified
up front;
for all others, the team scheduled
daily triage meetings to
assess
details and
rank
their
importance
. When a pr
ogrammatic fix was required in order to align a

Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Page
8

critical process with the new model, the team u
sed agile
methodology

to im
plement changes
where needed.

Best Practices

Three

best practices played
key
role
s

in this objective:



Identifying key talents
among th
e local
DMS

personnel
and engaging
those personnel

in
designing
the
new
solution
.



Creating a readiness plan for the new workflows, with

the

flexibility to reduce or simplify
the organization
,

thus avoiding
the
loss of
vital
local knowledge
.



Maintaining a d
rive toward high
-
quality data and processes, focusing on the full
elimination of data and process defects.

Results

The
DMS

strategy overhaul achieved all characteristics of a successful program
.

The
overhaul
started with a plan
as a

response to budget pressures
. E
xecutors adhered to the
plan throughout
its
duration, remaining clear about its key objectives and communicating
th
ose

objectives consistently
during
the
execution
phase.

F
our years later, the
DMS

organization continues to b
enefit from the improvements that were implemented.

In addition to reducing the number of
DMS

processes from more than 1,000

down to
fewer
than 50, the success of standardizing these processes has reduced
DMS

costs by 70
percent. The move

from having dispa
rate subsidiaries

to having a single

DMS

made it
possible to integrate
DMS

resources and provide service against

a
true
unified
service
catalog
.
Both integrating
DMS

resources and leveraging a unified
service catalog

were not
possible
under
the previous mo
del
. Today, a

single Planning Lead
role
now m
aintains all
DMS

plann
ing and the automation that
is
enabled
by
the
service catalog
.

The
DMS

team
also
consolidated 16 applications running independently at different sales territories into a single,
unified
data platform over a two
-
year period.

Recent a
uditing for fiscal year 2013 has shown that DMS efforts have had

measurable
impact
s
, as shown in Figure 3.


Figure 3. Impacts of DMS efforts

In addition to
doing more with less at lower costs, the
se

efforts ha
ve also resulted in higher
net satisfaction ratings from internal customers.
Microsoft
uses a net satisfaction index to

Standardizing Worldwide Data Management
Achieves

Positive Business Results

Page
9

quantify users' satisfaction with
Microsoft

over time. The formula for
net satisfaction

is derived
from a

response to a

si
ngl
e question
,

as shown in Figure
4
.


Figure
4
. Calculating
net satisfaction

at Microsoft

Before these efforts were conducted,
DMS

net satisfaction

scores ranged from 90 to

101
.
The

latest assessment

shows
continuing
net satisfaction

improvement and a current score of

139.

As
net satisfaction

increases,

two other key impacts are felt. First,

employee satisfaction
also increases, because workers feel more confident about their jobs
. Second,

costs go down
further,
as processes continue to be streamlined and automated
.

Th
e
DMS

team has developed repeatable best practices across the sales territories and
driven maturity and standardization in the worldwide data management model for the
company. These innovations have enabled the creation of new tools, such as the
DMS

Servic
e Request Tracking
Tool,

used for reporting and escalating issues to relevant local
DMS

teams.

At Microsoft, as in many large companies, the corporate sales function is often considered
the

voice of the business.
DMS

efforts to streamline its worldwide pro
cesses have resulted in
going from many voices to one.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products or services, call the Microsoft Sales
Information Center at (800) 426
-
9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Order Centre at
(800)

933
-
4750. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local
Microsoft subsidiary. To access information via the World Wide Web, go to:

http://www.microsoft.com

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itshowcase

© 2013

Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of
Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/o
r other countries. The names of actual
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owners.

This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES,
EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.