I am proud to be part of the Windows Server Partner & Customer Ecosystem team here at Microsoft and having had a chance to play a small roll in our Voice of Customer Feedback activities for Windows Server 8. As a community lead for Microsoft for over 8 years I have seen and been a part of numerous voice of customer programs. Typically we called these programs, Technical Adoption Programs (TAP), Private and Public Betas, but these activities are usually reserved for a time frame after a full build is made available either early under an NDA and / or later in a Public Beta with less emphasis on engaging a broad set of customers as extensive as we have for Windows Server 8 prior to the beta. Wiki's definition of Voice of Customer is much more extensive than just running a beta and actually involves much more work prior to a beta. Voice of customer is more about making sure that a representative set of customers are engaged early and often and given the ability to articulate their needs and scenarios that they need to have supported in a future release. It is also important to point out that you have to do this very early in order to allow for enough time to iterate through the feedback and to circle back with your customers a number of times.
My Group Program Manager, Natalia Mackevicius just posted a really interesting article today about our voice of customer activies for Windows Server 8. If you are interested in how Microsoft has evolved in it's Voice of Customer efforts, please take a look at Natalia's post: Windows Server 8: Driven by the Voice of the Customer and Partner
I hope you all have a chance to give this article a read. There were a lot of people who put a lot of their time and energies into spending time with our customers for this upcoming release and we sincerely hope that we got it right.
Thanks for listening,
Kevin BearesSenior Community LeadServer and Cloud Division