Daily Buzz: Microsoft’s Suite Strategy

The hidden reason why Microsoft launches good-enough products that compete with buzzy apps like Slack. Also: why exit surveys are best when they’re simple.

If you heard about Microsoft’s recent decision to launch a free version of Teams, its Slack competitor, you may have wondered about how it integrates with all your other Microsoft tools.

That’s not an accident, says CMSWire contributor David Lavenda, who writes that the launch highlights a common strategy for Microsoft—an effort to create a full-fledged suite via a series of apps that compete with other successful products. Teams may never be as good as Slack, but that’s kind of the point, says Lavenda, who argues that its mere existence as an option helps strengthen the Office 365 service as a whole—a product that has the advantage of having a much larger user base (120 million users) than Slack (currently 8 million users) could ever imagine.

“So while Teams still has a long way to go before it is truly integrated into the Office 365 stack, for many Microsoft users, it is either ‘good enough’ today, or it will eventually be ‘good enough.’ And that’s what dictates their product selection,” he writes.

Ultimately, Teams may not be good enough to vanquish Slack, but given the success of other products that have pulled off the same trick (OneNote’s riff on Evernote, OneDrive’s take on Dropbox), it might be good enough for IT departments that choose the strongest suite over best-of-breed applications.

And that’s what Microsoft is banking on.

One Important Question

It’s a fact of life that some of your members are going to eventually quit. So it only makes sense that you ask them why, right?

In a recent post on her Spark Consulting blog, Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE, breaks down the many considerations that she says should go into exit surveys. She emphasizes that the results you get from such surveys are anecdotal, not scientific, but they can offer clues about larger problems facing your organization.

Weaver suggests not overthinking the survey, encouraging responses with a prize, and offering the option to send the surveys anonymously.

As she puts it: “The best exit surveys are simple, asking one question only: ‘Why did you leave?’ The first option should always be: ‘I didn’t mean to lapse—I’d like to renew.’”

Other Links of Note

Google Docs gets a grammar checker. Quartz notes that the feature is one of a handful of things that the cloud-based word processor didn’t have that Microsoft Word did, though Google’s take is reportedly more AI-driven.

Meeting someone in your office? Association Executive Management’s David M. Patt suggests you treat it like a meeting of equals.

Watch in groups. Facebook launched a feature called “Watch Party” that allows Facebook Groups to view a set of preselected videos together in a live-chat format.

Microsoft Teams, shown, kinda looks like Slack. That's not an accident. (via Microsoft)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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