AX Content: What’s your job/what’s our job

An earlier post by my colleague began by posing the question, “what do you do?” This post takes that thought a step further by turning the question in a slightly different direction: what’s your job?

What are you doing when you’re doing your work? For myself, a content publishing manager in the Microsoft Business Solutions division, my work is helping the writers and editors that I manage complete their work. And their work is delivering content that helps our customers get their work done.

At a high level, we assume that the work of the people we consider to be our audience is getting AX installed and configured, beginning balances and starting data imported, processes defined, users trained, and the necessary reports printing reliably. Sounds about right, but hold that thought.

I’m building a new garage and have engaged a contractor to manage the work of tearing down the existing structure, hauling away the debris, pouring a new concrete slab, replacing the wiring, completing the framing, roofing and finishing work. Yet I realized some years ago, after being disappointed with another home improvement project, that all the work that looks like it’s “the job,” isn’t the real job.

The bigger, more important objective for my garage project is not to get a new garage. It’s closer to feeling better about the place where I live. The real job is to provide the base-level necessities without compromising important relationships.

It’s to end up with a new structure that doesn’t cost more than it should, take more time than it should, fall apart sooner than it should, or leave me feeling like it didn’t go well because I didn’t understand the language a contractor uses or didn’t ask exactly the right questions in exactly the right words at exactly the right time to avoid some utterly avoidable point of frustration.

But with that same metric turned on my own work, how well do I do? How well do we – all of us at Microsoft – how well do we do that? Did we just make great improvements to the way our software runs on your touch device, only to make it more vexing to use on your laptop or PC?

Did we write the exact content you needed to troubleshoot a problem or get something in AX set up and running, but put it someplace where you couldn’t find it without asking someone else? Maybe someone completely outside your organization?

Our job should be to make sure you never, ever experience that. Doing that successfully is hard work.

While a lot of business people might not express concern about how their accounting feels, it’s still the case that a business that implements AX embarks on a significant long-term investment in software that it will run on and grow on, that can boost or reduce employee morale, that can expedite decision making that allows you to seize new opportunities, or that can encumber it.

We sell and implement our software through partners to help spread the work out, which allows people to specialize and build expertise in certain tasks. Our content team is part of that partnership. And when we do our jobs well, you’ll find the information you need, and experience the satisfaction of working with others to create a solution that facilitates lots of other successful business activity.

Well, that’s our goal. Let us know how we’re doing and what you need.