Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

32 EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW The picture Kathleen Mitford shares insights into Microsoft’s industry strategy including its AI priorities, partnerships and sustainability efforts and how they will benefit customers in various industries BY ANDY CLAYTON-SMITH From healthcare to finance, retail to manufacturing, education to media – Microsoft’s technology aims to empower a multitude of industries. Kathleen Mitford, corporate vice president of global industry marketing at Microsoft, explains how Microsoft-powered tools, combined with a deep understanding of industry business needs, a strong partner ecosystem, and a new phase of technology maturity, are setting organisations up for success. Please tell us about your professional background and what drew you to Microsoft. My career journey in tech started almost 25 years ago when I transitioned from being a fashion designer to working for a software company that supplied technology to the fashion industry. I was asked to implement a technology solution for product data management, and I enjoyed the process so much so that the software company asked me to come to work for them. As a product manager, I loved working with customers to understand their business needs and technology requirements, as well as collaborating with my colleagues to gain a deeper understanding of the software development process and engineering. After that, I joined PTC, where over 15 years I held a series of roles on the executive team. For example, I led a 2,000-person engineering and product management team and later, I managed other teams, including the partner team and the corporate marketing team. As chief strategy officer at PTC, I spearheaded the digital transformation of the company’s portfolio investing in new technologies such as internet of things (IoT) and augmented reality. I also transformed the business model from on-prem licenses to software as a service, and fostered a culture of innovation and inclusivity. In this role, I served as the executive sponsor for PTC’s relationship with Microsoft, which was chosen as their cloud provider. Guiding a Microsoft partner company through its own digital transformation really prepared me to work with Microsoft customers and partners on similar journeys. Now, as the global industry marketing lead at Microsoft, I collaborate closely with sales, big