As the Director of Customer and Field Experiences at Microsoft, Pradeep U.N. leads the Services Executive Board (SEB), which brings together C-suite and board-level decision-makers from Microsoft’s top digital transformation customers.

The goal of the SEB is to capture attendee insights and develop actionable opportunities for Microsoft to build new digital transformation solutions while deepening relationships with its top customers.

The challenge

Create an inclusive experience for C-suite and board-level decision-makers that empowers and excites everyone to share their voice.

1. Seize a $4.5 trillion digital transformation opportunity

In 2016, Microsoft launched the Services Executive Board (SEB) program to help its customers succeed in the face of rapid digital disruption.

The idea: Invite C-suite and board-level executives from Microsoft’s top digital transformation customers to the SEB, and create engaging event experiences for them so attendees feel invested in each other’s success.

But the SEB wouldn’t be about pitching at its events. Instead, it would focus on empathetic listening.

“How can we listen better, toward enabling our customers to evolve in a digitally disruptive world?” said Pradeep.

2. Capture actionable insights from event attendees

By creating immersive event experiences where SEB members could be candid about their triumphs and challenges, Microsoft sought to capture insights that it could develop into new solutions.

But in its first year, the SEB averaged just 1.7 insights per event attendee. To realize its $4.5 trillion digital transformation opportunity, Microsoft needed to greatly scale both its volume and quality of attendee insights.

3. Show impact and nurture customer relationships

The C-suite and board-level executives who composed the SEB wanted to know that their involvement was making a difference.

Microsoft needed a way to capture the conversations of each SEB event, present the key insights and data points, and track them back to individual SEB members so everyone could see their impact.

One of my charters is actually to get deeper engagement with the C-suite and the board of our customers,” Pradeep said. “We believe events are a good place to get quality customer insights to actually help our customers in their digital transformation journey.

Pradeep U.N. | Director – Customer and Field Experiences at Microsoft

The solution

Microsoft utilized the Webex Events (formerly Socio) white label mobile event app as the communication hub for its SEB meetings.

microsoft seb app
Microsoft SEB App

White label event app

To create the right event for SEB members, Microsoft needed to deliver an immersive brand experience. And since SEB events happen throughout the world, each one had to be tailored for a unique local experience, too.Full customization – Microsoft could pick the exact colors, icons, and agenda features it envisioned for each SEB experience.

Digital agenda
Attendees needed access to a digital agenda to keep their complex schedule flowing smoothly while they moved through exciting stops, like their tour of Alan Turing’s office, famed English computer scientist from the 1940s.

Attendee and speaker profiles
For SEB meetings to work, attendees need to be invested in each other’s success. In-app profiles facilitated connections between attendees and deepened their relationship with Microsoft.

Polls, surveys and push notifications

To capture attendee insights that could develop into new customer solutions, Microsoft wanted to listen to SEB attendees strategically.

Utilizing the event app’s push notification feature, polls were sent through the app at points where SEB members were energized and primed to share candid feedback, such as after local tours or during key moments during sessions.

In-app surveys were also strategically planned, such as at the end of the day when attendees could synthesize all that had happened. By combining polls and surveys, Microsoft could listen for insights at a deeper level than previous SEB meetings.

Documents and advanced linking

With unlimited space for documents, Microsoft could centralize all of the documents from past meetings within the app. For existing SEB members, this made it easy to see the impact of their work over time and was an easily accessible resource that could be referred back to after the event and before the next SEB meeting. When new SEB members joined, this document access helped them ramp up and contribute insights much faster.

The results

A dramatic increase in actionable insights and award-winning engagement with C-level executives at SEB.

pradeep un microsoft socio
Pradeep U.N. at the Marketing Excellence Awards by ITSMA

782% increase in insights per attendee

In the first year of the SEB program, Microsoft captured 1.7 insights per attendee. But after implementing its event app, Microsoft increased that number to nearly 15 insights per attendee, per event.

“The app is the portal for active engagement so as attendees, they don’t have to look at any other technology other than [Webex Events] to collaborate with us before, during, and after the event,” Pradeep said.

But it wasn’t just the polls and surveys that created this jump. Microsoft also integrated its event app with other technologies, enabling it to do things like generate word clouds in real-time so attendees could see the impact of their feedback.

300% increase in actions implemented per event

More insights are nice, but they have to be useful insights. In 2016, Microsoft captured an average of 2 actionable insights per event. By 2019, it was up to 8 per event.

Those added insights meant more than additional opportunities for Microsoft to develop new Digital Transformation solutions. They also brought more opportunities to deepen relationships with Microsoft’s top customers.

SEB members enjoyed full transparency through the event app to track how their individual insights developed into solutions.

ITSMA Marketing Excellence Diamond Award

At the 2019 Marketing Excellence Awards (MEA) presented by IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), Microsoft won the diamond award for “Engaging Executives With Thought Leadership and Innovation.”

To Microsoft, its event app was central to making that award possible.

“[Webex Events] was instrumental in helping us win the award because it is part of the customer engagement that we are doing. It is part of the innovation that we actually bring forth to help the collaboration with our customers,” Pradeep said.

Bring your next meeting to life with a white label event app

Utilizing the Webex Events white label event app for SEB meetings proved highly successful for Microsoft. Not only did it boost executive engagement and insights, but the app also fostered innovative collaboration leading to a distinctly Microsoft experience for SEB members.

If you’re interested in building a beautiful event app that:

  • Allows for full brand customization
  • Seamlessly facilitates networking and attendee engagement
  • Requires no coding or developer support

I’ve never used fun in terms of event management technology before. This was. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, it’s very intuitive.

Pradeep U.N. | Director – Customer and Field Experiences at Microsoft