View From The Top…”Running the Business”

(This is an ongoing series of blog posts from our Directors of Operations.  The latest is written up by Casey Jacobs, Director of Engineering for the Operations Team.)


Mid-Summer is the kickoff of a new fiscal year for Microsoft on an annual basis and with that comes the opportunity to reflect on the past years wins and challenges, as well realign commitments and accountabilities that our organization will focus efforts on in the upcoming 12 months.  That said when taking the “View from the Top” it translates to analyzing our business and ensuring we’re prepared as best as possible to succeed.  So then the natural question to ask next is what exactly does success look like to an Internet Operations shop like ours?  For us it starts with a Vision, followed by a framework of Commitments.  To shed some light on what that really equates to here’s at a high level what we have developed for our organization in Fiscal Year 2007:



Showcase world class operational and development solutions which facilitate customer/partner success; enabling their businesses to achieve strategic initiatives & execute against customer commitments.



Company: Product & Solution Adoption; early adoption and showcasing Microsoft technologies while executing operational excellence & fiscal maturity

-          Highly Available & Resilient Solutions

-          Technology Analysis & Adoption

-          Business Efficacy: Reduced costs; while improving customer experience


Customer: Supporting the businesses of Developer/ITPro, Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, and Download Distribution Services

-          Customer Satisfaction: VSAT / DSAT benchmarking and Quarterly Business Reviews

-          Operational Rhythm of Business : Consistency in execution of Operating Protocols, Business & Technology Standards, and Policy Development

-          Support Services: 24x7 Production Support operations specializing in infrastructure monitoring & management; and domain knowledge of the networked solutions.


Connection: Commitment towards improving ITPro & Developer knowledge by showcasing experiences learned running the network of solutions

-          Broad Reach Execution Plan: Develop learning experiences as productized material able to be shipped through channels such as TechNet, MSDN, Conferences, Communities and Marketing.

-          Critical Customer Engagements:  Alignment with Microsoft field representative & product management; enabling our operational experiences to be shared in 1-on-1 customized customer engagement formats.


People Development: continued focus on development of world class people & organizational agility; emphasizing individual growth & training opportunities while aligning with organization health & maturity.

-          Employee Development:  Training & Career discussions with personalized plan established

-          Organizational Agility: acknowledging change opportunities as a lever to realign people and team functions/accountabilities to effectively meet the demands of business while simultaneously developing new opportunities for continued employee development.

-          Workgroup Health Index: Poll the organization and openly review Highlights as well identification of Plan of Action towards Areas of Improvement

-          Transparent Strategy Communication:  Quarterly review of Organizational, Division & Corporate Initiatives; including a alignment mapping of how an individual or organizations performance impacts those Initiatives defined at a division and corporate level


The heart and soul of accomplishing the Vision & Commitments is that of our people development, cross group collaboration & partnership, and organizational agility.  We continually stress the importance of transparency from the top down providing leadership and communicating strategic initiatives; as well from the bottom up ensuring everyone is empowered armed with a voice influencing our direction and means to directly leverage their abilities / efforts to drive impactful results.  Thanks to the team that we have here in…now it’s time to buckle up and get after it full throttle for another great 12 month journey!!

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