Who is the user in the enterprise world?

Journaling my experience of the first few months in enterprise research at Microsoft Design

Man talking to another man on video call
Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Understanding The Enterprise System

In my first month of joining the Microsoft Bookings and Outlook Team, my first priority was understanding the products. Outlook being an enterprise and consumer product, it was easier to understand. However, I couldn’t fathom how even to start understanding Microsoft Bookings. By the face of it, it looks easy in theory. But if you include it in an enterprise context, it gets pretty complex.

Designers

The design team were the first folks I was introduced to at Microsoft, and talking to them felt the most natural thing. They were kind enough to walk me through the product and explain the platform. This gave me a fantastic foundation to build my knowledge on.

Mindmap of Organisation with sections of industries, size if organisation and team using the product
Mindmap of Organisation with sections of industries, size if organisation and team using the product
Chart of types of users in organisation: Buyers and End Users
Chart of types of users in organisation: Buyers and End Users

Product Managers

Then I met the product managers to understand the know-how of how the product and business were doing. The product manager helped me fill parts of the story that I have been missing and helped me gain a complete understanding. I also understood the product metrics that we are tracking and the ones that we can’t. I understood the product pipeline, the things in motion and what to expect next.

Feedback Channels

Understanding the product didn’t end there. I also skimmed through the tech community channels and feedback channels to get a sense of how the product was doing. There was a wealth of information about the current problems users were facing and feature requests. This helped me a lot to gain domain knowledge expertise.

Baby Steps into Research

I was quite intimidated initially to start my first research. But research is research, isn’t it? I assumed that I could run studies like consumer research; however, it wasn’t that easy. I was still learning about the domain and needed to gain the trust of my stakeholders. I decided to conduct the first research narrow in scope.

Starting small

I planned my research in such a way that I was focussing on one specific problem/area of the product. This helped me to keep my conversation centred around the scope of research and to build on my existing knowledge.

Man holding a torch looking at night sea
Man holding a torch looking at night sea
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

Bigger Bets

A lot of things helped me to reach the stage of taking bigger bets in research.

Sr. User Researcher at Microsoft, Ex-Flipkart | Glasgow School of Art Alumna | Speaker | Mentor

This collection of articles showcases the ongoing work of user experience research at Microsoft. Our community represents user experience researchers, designers, program managers, and engineers who are developing products with users at the center.