Delivering impact for industry and community

The US Microsoft Technology Centers have aligned their efforts to create a national organisation to help industries and communities navigate their digital transformation journeys through a changing world

April Walker
By April Walker on 08 February 2021
Delivering impact for industry and community
Microsoft

Located in 15 cities across the US, Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) reside at the heart of Microsoft’s ecosystem for customer engagement. With deep roots in the provision of technical expertise, the MTC organisation is steadfast in its goal to be solution-oriented in helping customers resolve their most complex business and technological challenges. 

A key aspect of MTCs’ methodology for customer engagement is the value-driven approach to innovation. Companies that engage with the MTC team will be led through a rigorous process to discern their most critical problems, solidify core business objectives, and establish measurable success criteria for delivering digital transformation. 

As enterprises embark upon the digital transformation journey to accelerate impact, alter how business is done, deliver value to customers, and remain competitive in the face of disruption, the business challenges are considerable, but the subsequent opportunities are vast. Through an ecosystem of its people and proven methods for strategic and technical customer engagement, the MTCs enable companies to devise plans, develop ideas and deliver results. 

Achieving change of any kind, particularly enterprise-wide digital transformation, requires a willingness to alter existing behaviours. Budget constraints, technical skills gaps and lack of comprehensive change management processes that could lead to prolonged service outages resulting in disruption to business operations and productivity, are all viable reasons for leaders to be averse to taking risk. However, efforts to digitally transform should not be abandoned altogether: to not transform poses far greater risks and financial consequence. The Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing increase in demand for better customer experiences have driven the need for organisations to discard many of the legacy processes that no longer meet the demands of the day. 

Industry leaders have had to make necessary attitude adjustments that embrace and reward the practice of failing fast. The notion of cutting your losses and moving on is a critical part of the transformation process, and companies must implement processes that encompass intentional and consistent review. 

No, it will not be easy, but the alternative – sustaining status quo – could lead to loss of market share and competitive advantage. The US MTC team has the right mix of industry experience, technical know-how and solutions that our customers can leverage to reimagine the opportunity for transformation and mitigate many of these risks, even in the most challenging of times.

Undoubtedly there is no person or industry that has been left unscathed by Covid-19. The pandemic has forced many companies to rethink existing business models and rapidly innovate. Recognising this heightened sense of urgency, the MTC team demonstrated their agility to meet increased demand by pivoting to an all-virtual engagement model. Further, the MTCs doubled down on industry alignment and developed solutions to address the specific needs of our customers. 

Although most industries saw rapid need for change, the retail and healthcare sectors experienced remarkable demand for transformation. The pandemic affected consumer shopping habits and behaviours in a big way, causing a significant increase in e-commerce and a reduction in physical retail experiences. This caused retailers to seek supply chain enhancements and rigorous solutions for cybersecurity practices and governance. And this is where the MTCs exhibited their differentiated value. MTC offerings such as intelligent supply chain briefings and immersive experiences demonstrating smart shelving are all brought to life with an MTC-led customer session. The use of intelligent processes to optimise your retail operations is necessary to getting the right products to customers and exceeding their expectations.  

As an industry, healthcare continues to face the most overwhelming challenges and present the most remarkable opportunities for transformation. Through our engagement models: envisioning sessions, hackathons, architecture design sessions and virtual health experiences, the MTCs demonstrated the benefits of intelligent healthcare and reimagining telehealth workflows to those tasked with saving lives and serving communities at risk. 

The MTCs provide value beyond commercial and federal engagement. Not solely a digital transformation and solution engine for commercial and government entities, our commitment to serve the communities in which our centres reside is of equal importance. Many of the 15 cities in which our centres are located continue to experience challenges, some of which became more prevalent due to the Covid-19 pandemic: healthcare and educational disparities, and economical inequities, all of which fell against the backdrop of racial and social unrest exposing the dire need for a more diverse and inclusive culture.

Through Microsoft’s diversity, inclusion, Digital Skills Initiatives, annual DigiGirlz event and our newly developed MTC offerings for sustainability and accessibility, the centres and our team play a key role in helping communities achieve this goal both locally and globally. 

April Walker is the senior director of US Microsoft Technology Centers

This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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