Data Gurus


Barry Jennings – The Evolution of Market Research at Microsoft | Ep. 038

Barry Jennings The Evolution of Market Research at Microsoft | Ep. 038

Barry Jennings handles the central market research team at Microsoft. On today’s episode, he speaks with Sima Vasa about how research is involved in and has evolved at his workplace.

“Realistically, the job of delivering impactful insights, that part doesn’t change. But we have significant challenges, like the speed of business…  data proliferation.” – Barry Jennings

Barry Jennings – Market Research Director at Microsoft

At Microsoft, Barry and his team focus on endeavors related to the cloud, servers, as well as technical audiences like IT pros, developers and data scientists. His work keeps him busy on the daily, but it’s the kind that doesn’t allow a single dull moment. In fact, his workday is highly variable.

Barry’s fundamental job is to bring insights to the business. They take things to the next level and extend what research brings to the picture in terms of changing the minds of people in the organization, product development and even messaging.

“We try to understand what questions the business is facing and we try to bring fact-driven customer insights to the table that help drive our essential business decisions.” – Barry Jennings

Involvement of Market Research

Market research came to be to bring in the most innovative customer insights function in the world. The team has this very high-end aspiration that drew Barry to the job.

The central market research team also has a seat at the table as a partner, as a thought leader, and as that part of the business that helps advance Microsoft’s vision

Changes and Challenges

Barry and his core team are under significant transition with the current changes in market research. They work in a function that looks at what people feel, what they want, what they do, and market research is great for that. A pretty robust qualitative and quantitative practice in the field has also existed for the longest time.

However, there is definitely an inflection point thanks to the growth in other disciplines like data science. There are a lot more analytics and data to be taken into account. As market researchers, they need to make sure they understand how what they do integrates with the broader set of insights that are out there.

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