Microsoft embarked on a rigorous request for proposal (RFP) process in early 2014 to review testing and targeting vendors. After months of research and evaluation, Microsoft determined that Webtrends Optimize was the best fit to meet the broad business requirements of its complex culture and organisational structure.
“We considered a wide range of factors including security, privacy, interoperability, features, functionality and support,” explained Sheppard. “Webtrends Optimize checked all those boxes and we knew they could help us pull together an enterprise-wide strategy while providing individualised support to the various business units across the company.” Sheppard, who drove the RFP process from start to finish, explained that security and interoperability were remarkable differentiators of the Webtrends platform.
“The Webtrends platform can integrate with our other systems and that’s critical for us as we have multiple technologies working together to meet business needs,” said Sheppard. “And their history of data security and privacy in the market was a key differentiator.”
Also of value to Microsoft is the holistic and rigorous approach Webtrends Optimize applies to testing. Their consultants visit the Microsoft campus regularly for meetings and presentations and Sheppard says it’s grown from a vendor-client relationship into a natural extension of his team.
Today, Sheppard is focused on growing and maturing the testing program throughout the company. His team directly manages testing for the Microsoft.com homepage and leads the use of Optimize in more than 20 other business units. Some of those groups utilise Webtrends Optimize to manage all areas of optimisation, including strategy, design, copywriting and execution. Others use the Webtrends Optimize team for support and training while creating their own strategy and running tests using the visual editor – an intuitive interface within Optimize for building content and experience tests. Sheppard is working to grow self-sufficiency among the business units so that digital marketers can run their own experiments with easy-to-use tools.
“Even though we promote the concept of ‘One Site’ at Microsoft, each of our websites and business units has unique goals that need to be supported,” said Sheppard.
“With differing levels of maturity and varying features and functionality on our different properties, Webtrends Optimize is able to meet distinct needs with custom integrations while maintaining oversight that everyone’s efforts are coordinated to meet company-wide goals.”
Joe Worthey, one of the optimisation consultants at Webtrends Optimize who works exclusively on the Microsoft account, says Microsoft understands exactly how to get the most out of testing and optimisation on a large scale.
“Enterprise-scale optimisation is more than just testing to find the right button colour,” said Worthey. “It takes a well-planned and programmatic approach that tests hypotheses and iterates as a part of a larger optimisation strategy. Some tests are simple and some are very complex. But everything is thoughtful and requires rigour, process and documentation. Microsoft is successful because they understand the importance of developing a comprehensive program that is designed with their specific goals in mind.”