What inspires you? For Catherine Butler, an Ireland-based Senior Operations Program Manager for Regional Windows Launch, it’s this: “The power of Ideas. Small ideas, simple ideas, crazy ideas can often lead to the next big thing. I have a profound and time-consuming weakness for a good start-up story.”
Catherine also has a profound dedication to the customer. Having come from a semiconductor-device background, she chose a role at Microsoft with an international scope that allows her to serve each and every person who uses Windows.
In her own words, Catherine shares why the customer experience is, and will always be, the next big thing.
How would you describe your career path?
I studied electronic engineering in university because I really wanted to be involved in technology at the development stage. After a semester-long university placement working on automation projects for Bausch & Lomb, I became addicted to the rush of delivering a big, new project.
After college I joined Xilinx, a company that made Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Xilinx was so focused on the new it was considered a “bleeding-edge” technology company. During my 10 years there, I worked as a New Product Introduction Engineer, which involved a mix of hardware and software development and debugging, coupled with project management based in Dublin but with frequent trips to headquarters across the Atlantic.
What’s your job like, and what’s rewarding about it?
As a Regional Launch PM, I see the deliverables that need to be completed for Microsoft to launch a device or service. In this role, I get to be the steward or voice for the customer and partner experience.
My job involves orchestrating across many work streams to ensure we are ready to launch in our global markets: Can customers order, receive and pay for the latest version of Windows? Also, I am co-leading a cross-company program called the Market Readiness Program, which is tasked with consolidating all market-specific requirements that we need to consider for any launch.
I get a buzz from making something as efficient and agile as possible. Microsoft is launching more frequently, so we need to ensure we have a way to capture everything to be compliant in a market, and integrate these factors into our planning.
Why did you choose a job at Microsoft?
When I joined Microsoft, I faced the decision between this role and a different role with Google. I chose Microsoft because I feel it’s on the crest of a new wave laden with opportunities and big challenges. Inside the company, there is palpable momentum behind the transformation to a “devices and services” company. Outside the company, I think consumers are eager for as much competition in the technology market as possible.
What is your approach to serving a global base of customers?
As a consumer in Ireland, which is a small, developed market that consumes media from a larger market—the U.K.—I know first-hand about the global “lag” where key markets see a release first and everywhere else is phased. Coupled with years of traveling on business to the U.S. and seeing how companies prioritize the full experience for the larger markets, it’s frustrating when I come home to a lesser experience.
A company is truly global when it provides an experience as rich and relevant around the world as it does for customers in the company’s native market. The products need to respect the laws and language of each country. But the customer experience should be so seamless and intuitive, it feels as if the company is native to each market.
From my own experience, I feel I can represent, with conviction, the customer perspective for our Windows launches.
Is there something that surprised you about Microsoft?
People here speak openly about their next role and their career development. It’s actively encouraged for you to start a connection or relationship with an area you might like next. Here, managers and employees are refreshingly open to engaging, answering questions and even mentoring individuals to help with the next career step.
Microsoft has a global footprint with value-add roles all over the world that are open to you. The world is your oyster, without the horrible texture and just as easy to open.
Inside the JobsBlog:
Meet other Microsoft women who are creating value for customers. These six women are changing the game at Xbox, and these five women are promoting economic development in Africa. Outside of work, here’s what Microsoft women are doing to enjoy the summer.