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Six Sigma Case Study: Success at Microsoft

Six Sigma transforms and revitalizes businesses, remaking them in the Six Sigma image. Using a variety of process improvement methodologies and techniques, Six Sigma Belts help eliminate variation and waste, streamlining processes for the better. You can do the same for your business too. It’s a fact that Six Sigma is the spark of inspiration behind many global corporations’ successes. Corporations such as Microsoft.

But have you ever wondered how it made its success? In this article, we analyze Microsoft to see what Six Sigma methods they use in their operations. Want to know how they stay at the top of their game? Look no further. Curious how they became one of the world’s leading technology companies? This article will provide all the answers.

Microsoft’s Six Sigma History

A leading company in the technology industry, they continuously strive for greater and greater heights. A household name, Microsoft isn’t satisfied with the bare minimum. They also continue to make great advances in home computing and cloud-based technologies. They are in every way a success.

But did you know Microsoft has a history of using Lean Six Sigma management tools in their operations? While their success arguably leveled off in the mid-90s due to competition with Apple, Microsoft made some dramatic changes. They refocused their strategy for the better, turning operations toward developing consumer and enterprise web-based software solutions. We can’t understate the internet’s monumental influence on technology. Microsoft recognized its potential and took advantage of it.

Lean Six Sigma tools like value stream mapping allowed them to analyze customer demand and rush to meet it. This enabled Microsoft to develop their Windows CE OS platform. Compatible with networking noncomputer devices, televisions, and personal digital assistants, it was one of their most successful products. The CE OS platform also paved the way for future successes. Furthermore, Six Sigma’s influence is clearly responsible for many of Microsoft’s market highs.

Microsoft / Six Sigma in the Present Day

Much closer to the present day, Microsoft again utilized Six Sigma to make vast improvements to their organization. Throughout the late 2010s, they started to reorganize their leadership. Doing so enabled them to reap the benefits of emerging opportunities in the technology industry. Equally, their aim here was to cultivate a continuous improvement culture throughout their organization by revitalizing management structures.

With new leadership in place (Six Sigma demands the best of the best), they transformed their company culture for the better. Microsoft has always been a reflexive and responsive organization, adapting to emerging technologies and new market opportunities. Moreover, it’s no coincidence their leadership reshuffle coincided with increasing sales for portable devices like smartphones and tablets. (Moreover, this was thanks in large part to companies like Amazon and Apple.) The resulting changes allowed for a fresher understanding of the market, resulting in increased profits and greater customer satisfaction.

There are multiple Six Sigma techniques at work here. Just as Six Sigma seeks out unnecessary processes to improve efficiency, Microsoft’s leadership changes allowed for a more streamlined corporate hierarchy. Microsoft also exercised a strong understanding of the ebb and flow of consumer demand. Six Sigma stresses the principles of meeting customer need. Here Microsoft recognized a need and responded to it. This is the key to achieving success for any company, whether in process improvement, waste elimination, or customer relations. Microsoft is just one of many examples of how to do it properly.

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