Microsoft is a very successful technology company that makes a variety of products. Microsoft has been around a very long time and is very aggressive in terms of releasing new technologies, marketing them to a wide variety of consumers, and gaining significant market share. (Harris, 2013) While Microsoft makes and sells many products, this paper will largely focus on the Microsoft Office Suite, a collection of word processing, database, and presentation programs that are used all over the world. The most well known programs included in the Office suite are Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, which most people are familiar with by grade school. (Harris, 2013)Quality
For this product, quality means a great deal of things. Quality means it will function in the ways expressed with absolutely no errors or malfunctions. Quality means it will also perform this way consistently and across platforms, to ensure the widespread usability of this suite. Quality also means that it will help organize, present, and store information in an extremely sensible and aesthetically pleasing way. Finally, quality for the Office suite is shown by its ability to help users create a final end program easily and intuitively. (Mauch, 2009)
The strengths of Microsoft (and particularly the Office suite) come in its large market share. (Harris, 2013) Microsoft is a well known company that releases high quality products. Thus, people expect, when buying a Microsoft product, to receive a high quality offering. Furthermore, Microsoft’s long-time success has allowed it to accrue a great deal of capital, with which it can pursue many new business opportunities. (Harris, 2013)
The weaknesses of Microsoft lie in the fact that the company is often unwilling to step outside of the box creatively. As such, Microsoft is often following trends, instead of being at the forefront of emerging markets. (Harris, 2013)
Microsoft has many opportunities for the future. It would be wise for the company to stick with the technological arena, as that’s where it has the most experience in development and marketing. However, there are many technological areas that Microsoft has yet to expand into, such as televisions, appliances, and cell phone and tablet devices.
The threats to Microsoft come in many forms, simply because of the multifaceted nature of Microsoft’s offerings. Microsoft’s main competitors include the likes of Apple and Sony. (Harris, 2013) Other tech companies that have similar product offerings pose threats to Microsoft. Emerging markets and changing consumer preferences could also be threatening to Microsoft’s success.
Focusing on Quality
In order for a company to focus on quality, it is essential that it emphasizes quality in every aspect of the company. When each individual department and sector is improving in quality and decreasing in mistakes and inefficiencies, the company itself will increase its quality as a whole. (Gitlow, 2001) As such, Microsoft too should exercise Continuous Quality Improvement, whereby focuses on quality are stressed in every single aspect of the business, from product development to customer service. (Mauch, 2009)
Elements of Quality Culture Needed
One well-known method for fostering a quality culture is to exemplify open communication, few barriers, and a focus on the big picture. (Mauch, 2009) Things like micromanaging and restricting access to information can lead to a decline in quality. Microsoft does have great communication of information, but could improve in employee valuation by allowing for creativity and problem solving to occur at all levels of the organization. Right now, employees are being underutilized by only being expected and allowed to contribute in ways that align with their job title. (Harris, 2013)
There are many customers to this organization. Microsoft’s Office suite is used by businesses, individuals, and students alike all over the world. The customers of the organization come in many forms and the target market for the Office suite encompasses many ethnicities, income levels, age groups, and other demographics. (Harris, 2013) The organization also has many internal customers which must be kept satisfied to ensure the success of the organization. These internal customers take the form of various employees, developers, retailers, and shareholders.
Method for Implementing Changes
In order to remain competitive and be a best practice organization, Microsoft must be constantly changing. In order to correctly implementing these constant changes, it is important that change and flexibility be a part of the culture. (Mauch, 2009) Knowledge should be easily accessible and employees should be expected to be constantly learning and adapting their behavior to the new knowledge. (Mauch, 2009) Constant education is key.
In order to improve quality, a good strategic alliance would be for Microsoft to hire a quality management consultant. The consultant could critically analyze the systems, management style, and incentive programs in place within the company to suggest ways to improve the culture and thus the quality in the business. (Mauch, 2009)
Microsoft is a very successful company and the Office suite is a very successful product within this company. However, it should be noted that even the best organizations still have room for improvement. Constantly seeking to improve quality is the right attitude for a business to have in this situation. Only time will tell if Microsoft is able successfully improve their quality.