Editor’s note: Marianne Moran Peterson is senior research manager, and Tanya Pinto is director, market research, at Microsoft. They are based in Redmond, Washington.  

COVID-19 has thrust us all into a new world of uncertainty and adaptation almost overnight. Businesses have had to suddenly work in unexpected ways and at an unprecedented scale.  

Microsoft has been committed to assisting customers as they go through these transformations by helping them to enable collaboration remotely, increase productivity across devices and help workers be more creative and efficient, all while ensuring security is protected and risk managed. 

As we all try to navigate these unchartered waters, the long-standing business goal remains for Microsoft; how to deliver new value to customers and how to sell those offerings – via packaging, pricing and business models. It is vital these items are priced accurately, especially in a COVID-19 world.  

The challenge remains in knowing, as definitively as possible, that a new offering matches the value customers place on them. 

In this new reality of uncertainty, certainty in data is more important than ever.

Microsoft has moved from a world in which customers ran software on-premise to a world in which they can run it on-premises, in the cloud and those on the cusp of digitally transforming its businesses. Cloud-based services are the primary drivers behind Microsoft’s growth and due to that, companies can now empower their first-line workers with apps, features and services that improve productivity, communication and overall experience. To better serve customer needs, it has become imperative to have high confidence in the customer research data that is collected as it informs decisions made by business planning teams and drives prioritization for engineers working on future product roadmaps. 

In recent years, Microsoft struggled at times to find t...