The Microsoft Education (EDU) commercial support team can help you find the right educational support, at a time that fits your schedule.
We’re excited to welcome Principal Product Manager Brad Davis to discuss Microsoft Education supportability.
Brian: Welcome Brad and thank you for taking the time to talk to me today! Please tell us a little about you, and your Microsoft experience.
Brad: My name is Brad Davis and I have worked at Microsoft for a little over 14 years. I have done a lot of exciting things for a lot of different teams, mostly customer facing, working with consumers, working with small businesses, education customers of all sizes, enterprise customers, government customers and public sector. It’s been a blast.
Brian: Thank you, and I see you are a leader on our Microsoft 365 Education team. Please share some background around this and how you got into your role.
Brad: Three years ago, or so, I joined customer success engineering where I lead a team that looks at consumer, small business, and education audiences, like EDU IT admins, teachers and educators, students, and parents of students across the Microsoft 365 usage and support funnel. We are currently doing most of our work focusing on Education IT admins.
Brian: Heard you mention a support funnel. I understand there’s a program out there called Microsoft 365 EDU Generalist. Can you share more information?
Brad: This program started a couple years ago, and it was derived in the same way that most of the best things are – from customer feedback! The voice of our customers and what we learned looking at in-product feedback and support feedback was that education IT admins specifically could really use support experiences from a team that not just understands Microsoft 365 – our support teams do understand Microsoft 365 very well – but really understood Microsoft 365 education nuances and the uniqueness of the education IT admin workflow. Nuances such as, seasonality with back to school, school year, and pre-summer. There was enough uniqueness in that use case and the types of users that education admins support that are different from broad commercial traditional enterprise admins.
“Customers want their experience to be as unique as their needs.”
-Brad Davis speaking about Microsoft customer feedback
Brad: Admins were telling us in so many words that they like a unique experience, something different than what we’d offer a broad commercial customer. So, my team and I went to work to see what was possible. What we developed was this hypothesis, this idea, that a Microsoft 365 Education Generalist team, that is to say a team that understands the whole product suite, not just a couple of parts of it well, but the whole suite, and specialized on Education IT admin workflows within that product suite specifically, could deliver a world class support experience. So, we went out and we built that experience. We’ve been testing it now for a couple of years. We just had our 2022 back to school, Northern Hemisphere moment in September and October and customer feedback and results are outstanding. So directionally, our customers are telling us, yes, this differentiated experience is the right thing to do, keep going. So, we are.
Brian: Love the focus on customer experience and feedback. Can you please give me a bit more about the generalist background? How are they selected to support our Microsoft EDU customers?
Brad: The support agents all come with a solid base of understanding of Microsoft 365 products and services. Any one of these guys and gals could support Microsoft 365 for broad commercial enterprise customers. So, they all have that base knowledge and on top of that, they have very deep understanding of the education nuances, such as, how Teams Commercial is different from Teams Education. How an IT admin in a university might leverage Exchange or SharePoint differently than maybe an oil and gas company or a bank or some other industry that’s not education. The uniqueness there is that they have a deep understanding of how schools are decentralized by nature. Lots of buildings across geographies.
Brian: Thank you for the great differentiation explanation. Shifting gears, what can our current and future customers expect to see from you and your team as we move into 2023 and beyond?
Brad: That’s a great question! What we’ve done so far has been mostly focused on what we call the reactive support experience. This is when customers reach out to us for help. This is just one picture of what we call the connected support funnel. What I’m really excited about is our opportunity to look at both in-product experiences and proactive experiences together. For example, this is just an idea and we’re still thinking about this…
Brian: Wait are you about to give us a product scoop here?
Brad: Yeah. If you think about what education IT admins are doing heading into their school year-it’s summertime and there is a long list of jobs to be completed. Common items, best practices around hybrid infrastructure settings for Microsoft Teams or Exchange, just as an example. Imagine a seasonally relevant experience where education IT admins receive a differentiated in-product and Microsoft 365 admin center experience to help guide them through all the best practices to ensure a successful school year.
Brian: Yes, any automation we can add to our lives makes each day a little easier! Before we wrap up is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Brad: Absolutely! I would love to talk with any education IT admin that has feedback or anything specific they’d like for us to think about. Please fill out the form below and I will be happy to connect directly.
Submit your Education IT admin feedback and requests below!
Brian: Perfect! I know our customers will be excited to chat directly with you and help empower them to do more. Thank you for your time today and thank you to our readers as well!
Brad: Thank you!
Brad Davis is a Principal Program Manager within the Customer Success Engineering Amplify team.
Brian Randisi is a Supportability Program Manager in the CSS Modern Work Supportability team.
The CSS Modern Work Supportability team delivers innovative self-help solutions and diagnostics, in-service enhancements, and support programs to help customers get maximum value from their Microsoft 365 commercial subscriptions and create an easy-to-use, connected support experience.
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