making opportunity real
Microsoft recognized that there was an abundance of entrepreneurial talent in Africa but observed that startups with huge potential were struggling because of lack of access tothe right workers and infrastructure. In Africa, Microsoft saw a burgeoning business market ready to ignite if given adequate strategic support.
In 2013, Microsoft decided to mobilize its own workforce and created the MySkills4Afrika (MS4A) program, through which 130,000 highly skilled Microsoft employees from all over the world have volunteered to donate their time, talent, and expertise to help build a successful and dynamic future for Africa.
From the beginning, Microsoft was committed to changing millions of lives and to using its intellectual capital to help grow an entire business market—their attitude was truly “boom or bust.” But roaring ahead with such an ambitious initiative required Microsoft to have real-time data collection and feedback management processes in place to correct course whenever needed and to track progress over time. Microsoft chose Qualtrics for its flexibility, power, and ease of use.
Qualtrics surveys made it easy for Microsoft to develop profiles of volunteers’ skills and interests. This gave Microsoft the ability to pair volunteers with the right projects—projects involving companies like Totohealth, a health care startup that uses SMS and voice technology to reduce mortality rates in mothers and children by sending timely messages, alerts, and helpful information to participants. With Totohealth, parents are better able to recognize and act on abnormalities or danger signs.
Using Qualtrics, the MS4A program can collect experience data for the benefit of both program volunteers and beneficiaries. For example, Microsoft found that 86% of beneficiaries involved in the MS4A program said that the program delivered a sustainable difference to their organization. Proving that the program has been a mutual success, 98% of assignments positively impacted one or more of Microsoft’s business objectives. 97% of participating Microsoft employees reported that MS4A has led to positive developments in their leadership skills.
These data points all point toward continued successes for Microsoft in Africa, and they were all collected in real time using Qualtrics. Microsoft continues to stay informed with timely insights as they develop the world’s best blueprint for how corporations can serve emerging markets with confidence and improve countless lives at the same time.