The Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program and Exchange

Published Oct 19 2006 03:41 PM 1,074 Views

The Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program, also known as SQM or Software Quality Metrics, is a way for Microsoft to get usage information back from customers for the purposes of product planning.  This information is anonymous, and we only look at the aggregated data to see trends and get general statistics.

For Exchange Server 2007, we have leveraged the Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) and the Troubleshooting Assistant (ExTRA) for generating this data.  When you start either of these tools for the first time on a given machine, you will be presented with an opt-in screen.  Nothing is selected by default; you need to choose whether to opt-in or not before it will allow you to proceed.  If you choose to opt-in, whenever you run a scan or go through a troubleshooting task some of the data this is gathered for the purposes of analysis will be transmitted back to Microsoft, where it will be stored in a SQL database for reporting purposes.  The type of data we gather contains information like how big your organization is (number of mailboxes, number of servers, etc), what server roles have been installed and how many of each, Unified Messaging usage statistics, Active Directory information, etc.  We also gather usage statistics on the ExBPA and ExTRA tools themselves.  In addition to capturing the fact that the tool was used at all as well as particular selects made, if you opt-in you will see a question on the final report screen about whether the tools was helpful or not.  All of the data is anonymous, and the only type of data we gather are integers.

This data is designed to help us in our product planning.  For instance, if we find areas that are not being used, we know we need to do more research as to why.  It might require more investment to improve the area, or perhaps indicates some functionality that isn't important to customers. 

Since this data is so useful to us, we strongly encourage customers to opt-in and participate in the program.  You can get more details on it here: http://www.microsoft.com/products/ceip/en-us/default.mspx.

- Jon Avner

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