I Have a Great Idea – but how do I tell Microsoft?

At Microsoft, we value input from the people that use our products every day. We work hard to make sure that our products are user friendly and will accomplish the tasks that make your job as an IT Professional easier and better. However, there are times when people slogging through the IT trenches day in and day out come up with great ideas on how we could improve upon one of our software environments to make it even better. We want to hear those suggestions because if you think it is a good idea, then you are probably not alone.

So, you are sitting there at your desk thinking of a great way for Microsoft to make your life easier by adding or changing a feature or function in one of our products. The reason that we make our products, is to help you get your job done as efficiently and effectively as possible.  You have an idea, but you don’t know how to communicate your idea to the people who could make this change. How do you get your voice heard as a user of Microsoft products?

It’s easy. We make use of a technology called UserVoice. All you need to do is follow this link to get started.

https://windowsserver.uservoice.com

This site is a place where you can give general feedback on Windows Server in its various versions. It contains a lot of different bits of feedback that we receive from our customers. Like I said earlier, if you think something is a good idea, then you are probably not alone. The first thing that you can do (to see if someone else is as smart as you are, and has already posted a similar idea) is to do a search of the forum.

In the right hand navigation page, you will see a search box where you can enter key words related to your great idea.

If you find something that matches or is close to what you were thinking of – you can make your voice heard by Microsoft by voting for the idea. The more votes an idea has, the higher it gets in the ranking, and the more attention it will get from our product groups. In order to vote for an idea, you will first need to either sign up, if you have not done so already, or sign in. In the top right hand corner of the page you will find a spot to sign in.

If you have an existing account, like I do, then you can just sign in with your email address.

The green checkmark indicates that we know who you are, and are watching you through your computer screen – oh wait – no, that is not possible. But it does mean that we recognize your email address.

If you enter an email address that we do not recognize, you will be asked to supply your name as well.

You only need to do this one time. No password is needed.

Once you are signed in, you can vote for the idea you found similar to your idea, in order to move the idea closer to the top of the stack. There is that old saying, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. The same is true here. The ideas with the most votes get the most attention. By the way, if you happen to see someone else’s idea in the forum somewhere and you think that is a pretty smart idea, then you can vote for that idea to. You can only vote for any one idea one time, but you can vote for as many as you would like.

(not sure if this one in particular will turn into something – but hey, who knows? If you think it is a good idea, you can vote for it)

Now I know, you are pretty smart if you know to come to the Ask a PFE blog, and now you are going to tell me that you actually are smarter than everyone else because no one has made the same suggestion that you want to make. That is great. We like smart people, and we want to hear from you. Really, we do.

We make it really easy to give us your great idea. Right in the middle of the screen there is a box that says:

To improve Windows Server I suggest you …

At this point all you need to do is type your brilliant idea.

As you start typing your idea, the system will automatically start searching for other ideas that match key words in what you type. If you notice from this example that it picked up on the word feature and even highlighted it. However, if none of the existing ideas is right, then you have a button available to Post a new idea…

When you choose the option to Post a new idea, you will be given opportunity to pick a category for your idea and to give a more detailed description and post it to the forum but please be concise. If the comment you leave also contains an actionable solution in addition to your idea, then it will get more attention. 

 

After posting your idea, it will have one vote by default. If you want it to have more votes, then you need to share this blog posting with your fellow IT professionals, have them sign up and vote for your idea.

If it truly is a good idea (and I am sure it is because you are a smart person) then other people will see your idea and say “Hey, that’s a smart idea – I want to vote for that idea too.” And voila, that is how you get your voice heard by Microsoft and how we make changes to our products because of feedback from smart people like you.

You probably have already noticed that this particular forum is just for feedback on Windows Server. There are a ton of other products that we produce and many of them have UserVoice feedback forums. On the right hand side of the UserVoice page, you will see a box that looks like the one below here.

It lists a whole pile of specific categories within Windows Server where you can be more focused around a specific technology like Virtualization or Installation and Patching – hey – there is even one for Linux support!  Yes – it is a bold new world.

On top of that there are other product specific feedback forums for your favorite Microsoft System Center components that have their own URL’s and function the same way the Windows Server forum behaves.

https://configurationmanager.uservoice.com  for SCCM

http://systemcenterom.uservoice.com  for SCOM

and one of my favorites…

https://systemcentervmm.uservoice.com  for SCVMM since I do a lot of work in virtualization.

And just to show you that this really does work, here are a couple of examples of the many ideas that received enough votes that the Microsoft product group responsible for development is reviewing the idea as a possible update (or in the case of the second example, partially built into an update release!)

And speaking of virtualization, and Microsoft’s Mobile First Cloud First strategy, there is of course a feedback forum for Microsoft Azure. This one is actually integrated with our Azure.com site which is your one stop shop for all things Azure. This is where you can find all our documentation and information around our public, private and hybrid cloud offerings, and obviously (if I am including it in this blog) a feedback page where you can post your ideas.  

https://feedback.azure.com/

I do a lot of customer work with Azure and direct people to this site when they have suggestions for improvements or new features.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all our feedback sites that exist as we have a lot more products out there that we want to hear from you on. Want to find the UserVoice page for your favorite Microsoft product, go to Bing and type in your product followed by the word UserVoice.

Remember, we value the input from the folks in the trenches, so keep your feedback coming and maybe your idea will show up in the next hotfix, patch or version.

Dave “we want to hear from you” Newman – PFE