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No output without input

The 8th annual conference of the Microsoft Business User Forum at MesseStuttgart provides Microsoft with valuable customer feedback  

The input provided by the Microsoft Business User Forum (mbuf) is an important resource that enables Microsoft to tailor its software solutions and strategies to the needs of high-end small and medium-sized enterprises. This was demonstrated once again at the 8th annual conference of the Microsoft Business User Forum, which was held on 9 and 10 May 2016 at Messe Stuttgart and attracted around 700 participants.

Because this input is so important to Microsoft, it regularly sends representatives from its top-level German management to these meetings. This year, Sabine Bendiek, General Manager and Area Vice President International of Microsoft Deutschland was on site to meet members of the mbuf and gain valuable feedback about software tools already in use.  

By now, mbuf has 13 working groups sponsored by Microsoft, each of which is responsible for a product line and forwards suggestions and proposals to the programming centres in the USA. The working groups focus on all aspects of the software solutions, from the UI design and licensing provisions, to security aspects. “Our input has often led to licensing provisions and even software features being modified repeatedly if user groups felt this was necessary. This sends an important signal to small and medium-size enterprises”, states Karl G. Zimmermann, Managing Director at the mbuf. One of the association’s main successes has been the establishment of a Microsoft Cloud with a German data custodian. Many customers had expressed a desire to have their data stored and processed in a German data centre. “We were one of a number of groups that campaigned to make this happen”, says Zimmermann.  

Due to the continuous growth of the mbuf, a larger event location had become necessary. “Messe Stuttgart is the ideal location for us. The exhibition grounds are situated between Stuttgart Airport and the A8 motorway. You couldn’t wish for a better transportation infrastructure. We were also impressed by the range of hotels of all categories in the immediate vicinity. And this location will continue to be able to accommodate us as we grow, which is why we have already booked it for the next two years”, adds Zimmermann.  

When more user groups from the USA registered, Messe Stuttgart was immediately able to accommodate the increased space requirements. “Thanks to our flexible range of rooms, we can respond easily to situations like these”, explains Stefan Lohnert, Vice President, Guest Events at Messe Stuttgart and ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart.

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