If you were able to jump into your time machine and take a trip back to Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in 2014, you would be reminded by Kevin Turner that one of the largest trouble spots the company faces is utilization of its services. At the time, Turner was referring to Azure credits going unused by those who had purchased them, and now that focus on utilization is moving further into the sales channels.
At a recent company meeting, Microsoft's executives talked about how utilization is more important than simply selling additional seats for Office 365 and the like. For the year ahead, the company is focusing on monthly and daily active users rather than simply adding new seats to existing clients that never get utilized. Microsoft is restructuring its commission plans as well, to incentivize sales staff to push for utilization as well, instead of simply selling more credits or additional licenses that never get used by the client.
The reason for this is to make sure that clients are getting the most out of their Microsoft software and services; they want customers to feel that their monthly payments to Redmond are adding significant value and not simply overhead to operations.
During the same sales meeting, Microsoft talked about how among investors and internal staff, Office 365 is king. Both employees and outside investors have the most confidence in this platform to continue to drive revenue for the company going forward when ranked against the rest of the company's software and services. At the bottom of that list is Windows Phone, to no surprise.
The shift in sales strategy is not a huge surprise this time of the year. The company's fiscal year-end is June 30th which means that new initiatives start on July 1st for the company. We are also hearing of some other large changes in the pipeline and once we have a better handle on them, we will pass them along - but know that this is the time of the year that the deckchairs often get shuffled at the company.