Microsoft IT India: A Journey in Business Model Transformation

Publication Type


Year Completed



This case is set in July 2013, at the Microsoft IT - India headquarters in Hyderabad. This is the largest centre of Microsoft IT (“MSIT”) outside of Redmond, Washington, US, and the offshore arm of the Microsoft IT Engineering Divisions. In 2010, when Raj Biyani, a 12-year veteran from Microsoft Redmond had taken over MSIT’s operations in Hyderabad, the results of the newly released employee survey were very disturbing. Morale was low, the attrition rate was on the rise and employee polls showed that they were frustrated as they had very little control over the work they did, but instead had to wait for tasks to be assigned from teams in Redmond on a project basis. The organisational structure at Microsoft IT India also created its own set of challenges, as it was divided along the same lines as Redmond, with several Business Process Units (BPUs) working in silos. All employees at Microsoft IT India reported to MSIT Redmond, with only a dotted line reporting to the manager at the helm of Microsoft IT India. This also meant that the teams were very fragmented due to a dual reporting structure. Moreover, a peculiar rotational leadership being practiced at Microsoft IT India had resulted in department heads leading the Indian organisation in turns - thereby resulting in a serious leadership vacuum.

Biyani was clear that the only solution to this malaise was to ensure that Microsoft IT India became a strategic offshore operation of Microsoft. To achieve this goal, Biyani spearheaded a blueprint to transform MSIT India, and provide its employees with better growth and career opportunities. The proposal had two clear objectives. The first was to bring together the disconnected Microsoft IT India teams by aligning the organisation to process & services; the second was to develop Microsoft IT India into a Regional Talent Hub (“RTH”) that would bring engineering resources into a shared pool that could be continually aligned to MSIT’s business priorities. Hence, instead of the teams being divided in five silo-like BPUs, all employees would now be combined under the leadership of three discipline leads. Moreover, all discipline leads would report directly to Biyani. To make this proposal more palatable to the Redmond stakeholders, the new positions of Regional General Managers and Regional Portfolio Managers were to be created, reporting directly to the Redmond BPU. By January 2013, the value proposition for Microsoft IT India was defined, and approvals received for the new positions. After several rounds of refinement, the model was implemented and successfully validated through several early wins.

Biyani was convinced that the new model would transform Microsoft IT India and re-energise the teams. However, while the initial response received was very positive, he recognised that much had yet to be done. For the model to be truly sustainable, he would have to create a strong message around the value proposition, and come up with the most appropriate metrics to track and report the progress of his vision. What else would Biyani need to do to convince all Microsoft IT India stakeholders of the strong value proposition that had driven him to embark on this disruptive organisational transformation at the India offshore centre?


Microsoft, IT, information technology, organisational structure, disruptive organisational transformation, leadership, employee morale, employee empowerment, human resources, business process reporting


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business and Corporate Communications | Human Resources Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory

Data Source

Field Research


Information technology

Geographic Coverage

India and United States

Temporal Coverage


Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate


Singapore Management University

Case ID



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